SUP Women | Roxy Davis
Taking up standup paddling primarily to fulfill her thirst for water time when surf wasn’t up to par, South Africa’s national surf champion, Roxy Davis, fell in love with SUP not long after stepping aboard. Davis’ romance with the sport allowed her to take on new titles in another realm of wave-riding. She’s now an accredited SUP instructor who heads a SUP program and race series through her surf school, Surf Emporium, and a fierce competitor on the Standup World Tour. To round out her SUP resume, Davis claims a position on the committee of South African SUP’s governing body, Stand-Up Paddling South Africa. —Shari Coble
SUP: As a seven-time national champ in surfing, why did you get involved in standup paddling?
RD: I have an absolute love for the ocean, riding waves, and sharing my surf passion with others. I started surfing on a shortboard and, only about twelve years later, realized how only sticking to a shortboard limited me to the type of waves I could ride, and this obviously influenced the amount of surfing I could do. I included longboarding into my repertoire and never looked back! I have built my quiver, allowing me to paddle out in anything starting from a ripple.
I started standup paddling for two main reasons: it's the perfect solution to being on the water, even when the ocean is flat, and, it's a great addition to my fitness and training regime. SUP utilizes muscle groups that surfing doesn't—it is an incredible full-body workout. So, now, depending on the surf conditions, I am in a fortunate position to be able choose between my shortboard, longboard or SUP!
You're an SUP coach under your company, Surf Emporium; what are a few of the top tips you share with beginners?
Yes, as the owner and Head Coach of Surf Emporium, I am an International Surfing Association (ISA) accredited Surf and SUP Coach. I am also an ISA invigilator, running the the training courses in South Africa. At Surf Emporium we focus all our coaching around three main elements, “Fun, Safety and Learning."
Tell us about Surf Emporium's SUP series, which is currently running.
We run a monthly SUP Series on the first Thursday of every month which is available to everyone at all skill levels. For beginners, we hold your hand through what may seem like an intimidating process at first. Each month we take on a new SUP activity such as “Introduction to wave riding," “Yoga on a SUP," “Paddle through the Cape Town Canals," and lots more.
Joining the SUP Series is easy and registration is free. If you have your own equipment, bring it along; otherwise, you can book a rental board from any of our partners for a nominal fee.
What I love about the series is that it is the perfect opportunity to try out a new sport with other likeminded people, you don’t feel out of your depth, and you make great new friends. We end the evening with a table booking at one of the local restaurants, where new and old friends can share their experience over some good food and a couple of drinks.
We have twelve exciting events lined up and the positive response has been overwhelming!
In addition to being a pro athlete and business owner, you're also a qualified chef; what's your favorite meal to prepare and eat?
My hands-down favorite is sushi. With a background in cordon bleu I was, however, never very skilled in making my own sushi.
One of my favorite meals is a simple one of fresh salmon baked with herbs from our vegetable garden at home. And, always accompanied by an exciting salad.
What are some of your goals in SUP?
I would still consider myself new to the sport, but after winning the 2015 Women's wave riding series in South Africa and placing 11th on the 2015 Standup World Tour, I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
I'm currently on the SUPSA (Standup Paddling South Africa) Committee as the “Social and Sport Development Manager," and am passionate about growing the sport and sharing the SUP Stoke. We are working on some exciting new SUP developments in Cape Town that will bring SUP to people of all ages and abilities.