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An interview with… Candice Appleby – 6 x BOP champ and all-round waterwoman…

candice appleby
candice appleby

Photo by Jim Walsh

Firstly, just tell us a little about yourself…
Before moving to the San Clemente, I lived in Glendora, a good hour from the beach. I started surfing at age nine and competing at age ten, which made living inland somewhat torturous. When I was 12, my sister and my dreams came true when our family moved to one of the best surf towns in the US. I competed in Longboarding and Shortboarding all through my adolescence. While in high school I was the captain of the National Champion San Clemente High surf team. Upon graduation from high school I was asked to participate in the world games in South Africa as a member of the US amateur team, however I declined the offer as I already had prior plans of moving to Hawaii to further my education and athletic career. I graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2008, with a Bachelors of Science degree in Tropical Plants and Soil Science. During the eight years I lived in Hawaii, I met some amazing people and was mentored my some great athletes. I currently reside in and San Clemente, California.

What boards are you using?
I just recently joined the Infinity SUP team for SUP surfing and I race custom Joe Bark paddleboards.

When did you discover SUP and what prompted you to get involved?
I first saw stand up paddle surfing when I was surfing on the west side of Oahu At Makaha Beach, practicing for professional longboard competitions. At Makaha, every type of wave riding is celebrated and encouraged. For about a year, I watched some of the best true watermen in the world, as they utilized their paddle to accentuate manoeuvres on waves and I committed to memory what I had seen. I was given a paddle by friend Russ Keaulana, brother of Brian Keaulana and son of Buffalo, and would then hustle the beach boys of Waikiki to borrow the big rental surfboards. At the time the only real SUP boards available were the custom ones being ridden by the Hawaiian surfers of Makaha. I self-taught myself based on everything I had watched at Makaha and quickly excelled, eventually landing a SUP sponsor by the end of that first summer. That was in 2007.

What and where was your first competition?
I began competing in surfing at the age of 10, at San Onofre Surfing Beach, in San Clemente, California as part of the San Onofre Surfing Club Classic. I still compete in this event every second week of September, when I’m not travelling the world chasing SUP events. My SUP career began on Oahu, surfing in HASA (Hawaiian Amateur Surfing Association) events.

How does SUP give you satisfaction?
I love everything in the ocean; shortboard, longboard, bodysurf, canoes surf, etc., But SUP really allows me to utilize all of my upper body strength along with surfing ability. It’s also fairly new, so that makes it fresh and exciting. Ultimately, if I’m on the water on any craft that is when I’m most satisfied.

Only early doors but what is the biggest accomplishment to date?
The answer should have two parts; the measurable and the immeasurable. My most measurable accomplishment(s) would probably have to be my six BOP titles. But even more important that than that, or more fulfilling I should say is the amount of incredible people I have been able to connect with because of this sport. The relationships are definitely my biggest accomplishment.

candice appleby

Group photo at SUP Fiesta 2014. Photo: Harry Wiewel

In SUP competition – who would you say is your closest competitor?
Over the years there has been much new talent introduced to the women’s side of SUP. In surfing, girls like Izzi Gomez, Iballa Moreno, Nicole Pacelli and Aline Adisaka are all fierce competitors. In racing there is an especially deep field of top female competitors such as Lina Augitus, Annabel Anderson, Jenny Kalmbach, Angie Jackson, Morgan Hoestery and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I can only control my own performance, so in that, my biggest competition is within myself. I don’t mean any disrespect to my competitors, but I have no control over what they do, so honing my own skills to rise above this incredibly competitive field is really the greatest challenge.

Are you naturally competitive?
Yes, definitely. I’m the youngest of three girls and there are no princesses in my family. I have professional sports in my blood, so being competitive is unavoidable.

SUP training routine?
Most recently Anthony Vela and I launched an adult SUP training club with our business named Performance Paddling. I’m getting a lot of water time with the club, as we meet five times a week for a low monthly price of $165. I also train on Wednesdays with the Infinity Speed Freaks coached by Brody Welte of Paddle Fit. I also like to mix up my training with other sports including prone paddling, beach volleyball, running, surfing, etc.

candice appleby

Payette River Games. Photo: Mike Leeds

What would a typical food day be for you from breakfast to supper?
Breakfast: organic blueberries, organic vanilla greek yogurt and granola.

Post am: workout meal: two free range organic eggs cooked over medium over a bed of organic arugula or greens with a fresh juice.

Lunch: turkey/avocado sandwich on organic seeded bread w/ hummus or a salad made from our garden.

Dinner: wild caught salmon baked with herbs and sea salt, organic pesto raviolis and a side salad or vegetables.

Favourite snacks: Mamma Chia Squeeze Packs, Justin’s Nut Butters, Bobo’s Oatbars, and fruits

Guilty pleasures: organic popcorn, Talenti Gelatos.

Tell us a bit about your anti-bullying campaign: ‘Stand Up for the Children’
This is a project that I’ve had in the works for a while, and plan to fully bring to fruition this year. Stand Up for the Children is an outreach for children who are a target of bullying and any sort of abuse either at school or home. My plan is to connect with those youths and share my story with them to let them know that they are not alone and that someone cares for them, as I too was tremendously bullied in school. By taking these kids paddling and giving them an uplifting fun experience on the water, I hope to give them a new confidence and assurance that they are not alone, someone cares, and that it will get better. My plan is to reach out to the schools that I attended throughout my youth and then expand from there.

How else do you use SUP to help others in life?
When Anthony Vela and I launched or coaching and training business Performance Paddling back in 2012, we wanted to do something to give back to the community and also work with kids. We started the Performance Paddling competition team, which has grown from 10 to 30 kids across the US and Brazil, who have been selected by Anthony and myself not only for their athletic abilities, but the way they carry themselves in a sportsman like manner. We do monthly workouts in various locations, and send out training plans for the kids. We also give the kids fun uniforms so that they have that feeling of team camaraderie.

This is a voluntary program from Anthony and I, as there are no cost to the families. It has also given many kids something to work towards, in the hope of getting picked for the team. We also put on what has become the premier SUP event for kids, the Performance Paddling Junior Pro and Youth Sup Fiesta. We are going into our third annual this year and It’s going to be great. The event has a junior pro SUP surfing invitational with equal gender prize purse for the top young guns of SUP surfing, as well as seven age groups for SUP surfing and SUP racing. If you’re a paddler under the age of seven or younger, you don’t want to miss this event. We have kids come out from eight different states, including four of the Hawaiian Islands and even some international athletes from Brazil. This year we expect to have even more international competitors.

candice appleby

Stand Up World Series Huntington Beach. Photo: Greg Panas

Have you ever been scared and if not – what would it take?
Yes, I’ve been scared. Fear is healthy is certain situations. It makes you more aware and humbles you. I have issues with driving on the freeway, especially the 405 in California. I got in a real bad accident in high school where we flipped and rolled across five lanes, ending up in the fast lane upside down facing traffic! I moved to Hawaii after high school and felt very comfortable on the HWY there, being that the maximum speed is 55mph. However, I’ve been back in California for almost four years now and haven’t fully been able to shake the freeway anxiety.

Other than that, I do have a healthy amount of fear in the ocean when the conditions are large. It’s important to have that respect for the ocean because it is much bigger than us. I also get pretty freaked out when SUPing down rivers. It’s kind of funny actually because I’ve done really well in whitewater events and won the last three that I’ve competed in over the past few years against some expert whitewater paddlers, but I’m probably the most scared out of the bunch. It’s not my comfort zone and I really don’t want to get hurt. I have a lot of respect for the whitewater experts and know that I have a lot to learn from them.

What has been your best ever day on the water?
Everyday on the water is the best day, but I think most recently it has been sharing my love of surfing with my niece and three nephews. They are picking it up so fast and I just love to see the joy on their faces when they ride waves.

You’ve been doing a lot of travelling in the past year – what’s been your favourite experience?
Yes, tons of travelling and more to come. Last year I went to Brazil twice, Dubai and hit many of the states. This year I will be hitting Brazil again, along with, Japan, Germany, France, Morocco, Mexico, and probably a dozen of the US states.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hopefully raising teenagers in a nice San Clemente beach home, while still being a part of the ocean community and furthering my professional career.

I’m into SUP and going on vacation, where would you recommend?
I’ve heard really great things about Costa Rica and it’s relatively affordable. Infinity SUP does a really fun SUP surf camp there a few times a year. Hawaii is also great. Visiting Waikiki, the birthplace of surfing is very special and a timeless experience.

candice appleby

Training at home. Photo: Greg Panas

OK Candice let’s finish with something short and snappy…

If you could paddle with anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be?
My Grandpa George. Whenever get the chance to wear the number 32 in a race, it’s like he’s there with me.

Pick two celebrities to be your parents:
Jackie Robinson and Goldy Hawn.

Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
Jennifer Lawrence.

Favourite film?
The War, or anything with Denzel.

What would you do with $20 million?
Buy a house within walking distance to the beach. Take care of my sister and her four kids. Go on a sweet vacation to surf my brains out and create some sort of get away to help victims of domestic violence.

Cats or dogs:

Facebook or Twitter:

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
A bunch of Organic stuff; Yogurt, Berries, Fruits, Vegetables, Chicken, Eggs, Bacon, Fresh Pastas, Goat Cheese, Kombucha, Kona Brew Beers, Pesto, and of course Ice Cream (in the freezer).

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Salmon with Pesto Pasta and one of my favourite salads.

What one luxury item would you take with you on a desert island?
Hairbrush. That is of course if I already had a knife and fishhook.

Candice Appleby

Mom cheering for me at BOP. Photo: Onit Pro

An ideal night out for you is?
Sushi and Karaoke with my man or a movie at the fancy theatre with the chairs that recline.

Bucket list top three SUP locations:
Tahiti, Indo and South Africa.

If you could be a wild animal – what would it be?
Octopus. I’ve been infatuated with this animal since I was nine.

Fill in the blanks:
I am ______? Human.

Final shout outs?
So excited to be a part of the Infinity SUP team. I’m extremely grateful to have two master shapers (and their second generation shaper sons), building me the best equipment on the planet. Between the Bark and Boehne families, I have the best of both worlds when it comes to equipment. Also want to give a shout out to my man and Performance Paddling partner Anthony Vela, for always being in my corner and pushing me to be the best me I can be. Thank you to all of my sponsors: Quickblade Paddles, Maui Jim, Kona Brewing Company, FCS, Sweet Waterwear, Pualani Hawaii Bikinis, and of course my family and friends for their continued support.

About thepaddlerezine (655 Articles)
Editor of The Paddler magazine and Publisher of Stand Up Paddle Mag UK.

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