It started out with a girl, a dream of owning a paddleboard and a whim: “I’m going paddle 10 states in my first year of paddling.” Well, I bought a paddleboard (a 12′ 6″ Jimmy Lewis Albatross), got to 10 and realized I didn’t want to stop. So, now I’m working my way through all 50. It is an amazing way to see the country, explore the waterways and spread my love of SUP (not to mention collect great stickers for my board). See the map below for snapshots of where and why I’ve been. (Next up: SC, UT and NV.)
(For more info, listen to my interview on the SUP Radio Show.)
|USA Map |
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, <em>United</em> <em>States</em> of America
|No. 18 Ohio |
Paula Andruss and I have been friends for a long time (we met working at Crain's Chicago Business), long before the SUP obsession. One of the things that has been fun is to introduce people to paddling (either personally, or just the idea of it). We planned my trip to Ohio to paddle once her kids were back in school for the year. Let me tell you, they were not happy when I drove up with boards on the car and they realized that they were not going to get to paddle them. Next time, Andruss children, I promise. Grand Valley is a pretty, hidden gem.
Photo credit: Paula Andruss
Grand-Camp, Normandie, France
|No. 2 Tennessee |
It was while paddling on Old Hickory Lake with Tim Inskeep, who first became my coach and later my friend where I had the idea of padding in 10 states, which then became 50. Tim and I spent hours and hours (and hours) on the water here. This one was at sunrise.
Photo credit: Tim Inskeep
Old Hickory Lake Road, Kentucky, United States of America
|No. 20 Maryland |
Stop two on the 2,410-mile solo road trip. The weather was bad in the morning and I wasn't optimistic, but it ended up being a beautiful flatwater lake with a few kids on YOLO Yaks paddling round the bend. I taught a family who was unloading their kayaks to SUP at the launch point at the end of my paddle.
I had to do a U-turn when I was looking for the launch spot, because I saw this sign for Pennsylvania, and I needed to be on the Maryland side.
I put a sticker on my board from each state and this is one of my favorites.
Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, United States of America
|No. 3 Alabama |
My first solo paddle! This was one of the spots where I used to like to kayak, thanks to my friend Captain Chris Nelson, so I knew where I was going. Dolphins swam under my board, which blew my mind. I have paddled here many, many, many times since. I love how it starts out as one ecoclimate and ends up as another in Wolf Bay, or even in the Gulf of Mexico. This is one of my favorite places on Earth.
Wolf Creek, Utah, United States of America
|No. 1 Florida |
I first paddled with YOLO Board Jeff Archer as part of an article for Entrepreneur magazine. We met at Coastal Paddle Co. and I paddled two boards. The experience rocked my world. Neither Jeff nor I knew what kind of obsession was about to be unleashed.
Later in the year I paddled in a race here.
Gulf Breeze, <em>Florida</em>, United States of America
|No. 5 Idaho |
I grew up in Boise and spent time at Lucky Peak as a teen. This solo paddle was fantastic, because it was powerful to see the place from a different perspective, both the physical perspective of being on a board, but also the perspective of being a grownup at one of your childhood hangouts.
Idaho City, <em>Idaho</em>, United States of America
|No. 6 Illinois |
My friends Judy Sutton Taylor and Stephanie Krol joined me on Lake Michigan (thanks, Groupon, for their rentals!). We launched from behind the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where I spent almost every waking moment of 1993. It was great to be there as a different person on this different adventure. Also, seeing the skyline from that vantage point was fantastic.
Evanston Street, <em>Michigan</em>, United States of America
|No. 7 Georgia |
I am a good paddler, but a terrible singer. This did not stop me from singing, "Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee" for this entire paddle. It is kind of surprising my sister still speaks to me, much less paddles with me.
Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
|No. 8 Arkansas |
People fresh water SCUBA dive here at Mountain Harbor Resort. Yes, in Arkansas. I had no idea. I loved the quartz lined cliffs and the clear, deep water. I think this was the first wet suit paddle, which was not necessary. I loved this part of Arkansas.
Pine Lake Park, New Jersey, United States of America
Bonus foreign country paddles: Israel