Teenage Stand Up Paddler Annie Reickert Explains How to Start Stand up Paddling

There is no doubt that stand up paddling (SUP) gets more and more popular. It seems like people all over the world are starting to enjoy this cool sport!

One of the most exciting stand up paddlers around is teenager Annie Reickert from Hawaii.

In this interview, Annie shares all about her love for SUP. Learn how she started when she was just 12 years old, how she balances SUP with school, what her favorite boards are, and how you can get out there and enjoy the sport of stand up paddling too!

SUP Annie Reickert

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Annie Reickert, I’m 16 years old, and was born and raised in Maui, Hawaii. My favorite things to do pretty much involve in the ocean: Stand up paddle racing, surfing, long boarding, short boarding, and windsurfing. I love to spend as much time as possible outdoors, and I also love nature photography.

How and why did you get into stand up paddling?

I started stand up paddling when I was about 12. I was at the beach and a family friend let me try out there huge SUP board. I was hooked the first time I caught a wave! Robby Naish decided to make a smaller line of performance SUP boards for kids. I got one and my SUP surfing really changed. It was like riding a short board but with a paddle in hand. Then I started doing downwind runs on a race board that Kai Lenny (7X SUP World Champion) gave me. We have one of the best downwind runs on Maui. When there are waves, I surf and when the wind blows, I do downwinders 🙂

SUP Annie Reickert

How do you train and become better?

Out of the water, I train with other water athletes at a gym called, Deep Relief. I work to balance muscle groups and strengthen the parts of my body that might be prone to injury. Since I am still growing, my trainer makes sure that I am not overtraining and she guides me to be safe and smart with my workouts.

I don’t have a dedicated coach but I have worked with Dave Kalama. He really helped me understand what I need to do to progress. My mom and dad support my training. We try to make a schedule on Sunday night for the coming week – to fit in flat water training, surfing, running, and the gym. I’m usually in the water twice a day.

SUP Annie Reickert

What do you consider the hardest parts of stand up paddling?

The truth is, I haven’t encountered any major difficulties yet. I always want to get in the water! I don’t care what the conditions are – glassy, rough, windy, big, small – I want to be out there. I love training, setting goals, and working to achieve them.

How do you eat and sleep?

I am a vegetarian (always have been). We’re lucky on Maui because we can get fresh, local produce all year long. Other than that, I don’t have a specific diet. When I’m training hard, I drink a special protein drink. Traveling doesn’t bother me – I can sleep anywhere!

How do you handle injuries and recovery?

I am so lucky that I haven’t had any serious injuries.

SUP Annie Reickert

How do you prepare for events/races?

I’m working that out. I realize that now as I am competing with the elite women, the competition is tough. These women are amazing athletes who dedicate a lot of time and energy to training. I’m figuring out how to train with more focus yet still have fun. I don’t ever want this to feel like a chore.

My other sport to keep me in shape is running. I love to run. My mom has been a distance runner most of her life and it’s really fun to run with her. I also do functional strength training at Deep Relief, which is a ton of fun because of the other athletes that go – like Paige Alms and Ian Walsh.

SUP Annie Reickert

What is your best advice people new to stand up paddling?

Stand up paddling is an awesome sport because of the options it provides. The people that gravitate to this sport are awesome – really fun-loving and down-to-earth. There are races all over the world – on lakes, rivers, and in the ocean – most are geared to novice paddlers. Give it a try!! It might change your life like it has mine! Other than that, get outdoors and be active as much as possible!

Best advice for people who have been paddling for years?

The sport of stand up paddling is growing like crazy. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s really exciting to see so many people getting into it – young and old. Everyone can do it at whatever level they choose. If a seasoned paddler tires of racing, they can try surfing and vice versa. I’ve recently traveled to South East Asia with my family and took an inflatable SUP. That was amazing. So that’s a fun option for someone who wants to SUP in exotic places!

SUP Annie Reickert

How do you balance school and family time with your sport?

I homeschool, which provides great flexibility. I usually get in about five hours of school a day but I can work it in around my time on the water. Homeschool has also allowed me to travel and compete all over the world. It really is a great option to traditional school.

I have the most dedicated parents in the world! My mom was a teacher but has taken some time off to support me doing what I love, which entails a lot of chauffeuring. Dad drives as well and loves taking pictures while I surf or downwind. I think that the sport of SUP has strengthened our relationships. We get to spend a lot of quality time together. I am so grateful for their support. I couldn’t do this without them!

SUP Annie Reickert

What kind of board and gear do you use?

I’m a Naish team rider so all of my equipment comes from them. Currently, my favorite board is my 7’3″ Naish Hokua Carbon Pro. It’s a really versatile wave board that handles a wide variety of conditions. Although, that’s my go to board I love my 7’8″ step up that is great for bigger waves. For racing and downwinding, I ride the Naish Maliko – either a 12’6″ or 14’0″.

What has been your best sport purchase below $100?

My favorite purchase recently is my Apple Watch. It allows me to track my workouts, which is terrific! I’ve also been loving listening to music when I do my race training. I got a pair of waterproof Plantronics Bluetooth Headphones and they work really well.

SUP Annie Reickert

What will the future bring?

I just want to keep doing this. I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places and meet wonderful people. I want to continue getting stronger and faster. I’ll be heading to the 2017 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship representing Hawaii in Denmark in September to compete with stand up paddlers from all over the world. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but that’s the exciting part!


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