Recently, I had the opportunity to exchange some e-mails with Allie who is the content director for the popular SUP magazine/community, SupConnect. Supconnect has built an awesome community and source of information for paddlers of all levels. Below is the interview which gives us the opportunity to learn a bit more about Allie and her experience with paddling and working in the stand up world.
Please tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
I am an ocean lover first and foremost. I grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii and was playing in the ocean ever since I can remember, and I love everything about it. I am the Content Director at Supconnect, so I handle all the incoming and outgoing content for the publication.
When did you start as Content Director with SUP Connect, and how did that come about?
I moved to California when I was 17 and went to San Diego State University and got my BA in Journalism and Media Studies. I first started with Supconnect in March of this year as the Social Media Manager and an awesome opportunity became available in August where I then took the Content Director position.
What do you feel makes your community special?
Our community is awesome. We are here to share the stoke of standup paddling with the world and share why our sport is so great. Our community is so interactive and so fun!
What do you hope people gain or take away from SUP connect?
I hope people take away the true essence of our sport, which is fun. At Supconnect, we aim to connect paddlers from all over the world with their common passion and love of standup paddling so, whether somebody meets a new contact that they can go paddling with or learn something new about the sport that they didn’t know before, we’d be stoked that we helped them gain that new asset.
If you could ask your community members one thing and get an answer from all of them, what would that question be?
What do you want from us as a publication? What are you interested in reading about?
What are some of the hot topics that seem to always be discussed within the SUP community?
People love controversy. I think one big topic that people love to talk about is in the water etiquette. Also, another huge topic is whether or not PFD’s or leashes should be a mandatory item when SUPing.
For someone new to this community, how do they get the most out of it?
Just exploring around the site can be a great way to learn a lot. We have tons of ‘How To’s,’ Travel Ideas/Destinations, Gear Guides and more. Also, I really recommend interacting with other community members via our social media pages. The community on our social media is so awesome and everyone helps each other out. They are very welcoming.
Has anything surprised you working within a community all about stand up padding?
When you work in the same field all day every day, you expect to grow tired of the topic, but in my case, I find myself enjoying it more and more. Standup paddling is such a fast-growing sport that there are so many new and exciting things are always happening, keeping the interest alive.
I see you are originally from Kona. What do you miss most now that you’re on the mainland?
Yeah, I grew up in Kona, it’s such an amazing little town. The thing I absolutely miss the most is the ocean. The ocean here in San Diego is beautiful and great, but in my opinion, it’s nothing compared to the ocean in Kona. I miss the warm waters and not having to throw on a wetsuit. I also miss the food.
Favorite place to travel or surf?
I haven’t been able to travel as much as I’d like but I’ve been to Mexico and had some awesome surf trips down there. It’s hard for me to travel though because whenever I get a free second, all I want to do is jump on a plane back to Kona and go surf there. Many of my friends I grew up surfing with are still there, so to be able to go home and surf with them is just amazing.
What was your first experience with stand up paddling? If you can’t recall your first, what was your best experience?
My first experience with standup paddling was probably with one of my brothers a few years ago at Cardiff Reef in California. My brother had a few SUPs and the waves were pretty small so we went out and messed around on them. It was a good time.
What’s your preference: SUP surfing, touring, downwind, etc?
My default is SUP surfing. With my background in surfing, it’s hard for me to be on a board and not be surfing, so that’s my go-to. I do love touring though. It’s so awesome to go explore and cruise around.
As someone who is a surfer and also stand up paddles, do you feel there is still some tension between surfers and SUP or is it not much of an issue?
I definitely feel that there is tension between traditional surfing and standup paddling. I think some of the tension is because standup paddlers have a huge advantage when it comes to catching waves and they can get into the wave much quicker than a shortboard or longboard surfer. With this advantage, standup paddlers sometimes push aside surfing etiquette and become wave hogs, thus creating a bit of tension. Also, standup paddleboards are large pieces of equipment that can seriously hurt you and/or others around you, so if an unexperienced paddler goes out into a line up not knowing what they are doing or how to handle their equipment, they put everyone around them at risk, also causing tension.
Any other interesting hobbies?
I just love being outdoors and taking my pup places. I just love being active.
A huge thank you goes out to Allie for taking the time to share with us. And if you haven’t already, make sure you check out Supconnect and join the growing community.