A few weeks ago I spent some time in San Diego. While I was there I got to meet and train with professional paddler Chase Kosterlitz. The experience was great and afterwards he was kind enough to answer some questions for the site.
In addition to being a professional SUP racer Chase is also the president and founder of the Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association (SUPAA).
TN: How did you get started with SUP?
CK: I got into SUP through the first water sport I was addicted to, kiteboarding. In 2007 a few of my kiter friends got some of the first SUP’s in Tampa Bay. We used the boards to surf and mess around on when there was no wind. At the time I never thought I would one day be racing stand up around the world.
TN: How long have you been competing?
CK: I started competing in 2011 so 5 years.
TN: When you started was it your intent to compete at the professional level or did it just progress naturally?
CK: I started racing because I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could beat the top paddlers around. It was really a natural progression that started with my desire to not lose to Florida’s top female paddler at the time, Helga Goebel. From there I set my sites on Florida’s top male, Packet Casey and just continued down a path of continuous goal setting and improvement.
TN: What is the Stand Up Paddle Athletes Association and what inspired you to found it?
CK: SUPAA is designed to be the voice of the stand up paddle athlete and to help create change in SUP racing. I started SUPAA because I had been very frustrated with the state of SUP racing. It seemed like at every race I attended there was some controversy or problem with safety or rules. I felt like there was a real need for change and rather than just talk about it I wanted to take action. This is how the association was formed.
TN: What is your training like these days and any advice for people wanting to take their training to the next level?
CK: Well, I have put my raceboard up for the winter so not much training now. I like to take a couple of months off of my race board each winter to surf and recover from the previous 8 months of training and racing. During the season I am training six days per week with 3-4 days on the water doing interval-type workouts and 2-3 days of cross training with yoga, cycling and surfing.
If you are looking to take your training to the next level then consider working with an experienced paddler or coach to establish your fundamental paddling technique and skills. You can’t run before you walk. Establish good fundamentals in the beginning and it will pay off in the long run. If you want free race and training tips you can subscribe to the SUPAA newsletter that I send out about once per week.
TN: What is your favorite part about racing?
CK: Pushing myself past the limits of what I thought was possible. No matter how hard you try you can never replicate the intensity of racing in your training. The tactics and level of competition make SUP racing fun and exciting.
TN: How do you stay motivated to train and compete?
CK: Good question! With a three month old daughter and my sixth season coming up I am trying to find ways to stay motivated. I am experimenting with some different breathing techniques and approaches to my training that help to keep things interesting. I also try to do different types of races that are off of the
main ‘pro circuit’. White water racing and the Race the Lake of the Sky on Lake Tahoe are a couple examples of these.
TN: What is your goal for the future of your SUP career?CK: My goal is to continue to improve my racing and surfing while keeping it fun. If it’s not fun anymore then I will stop competing. I am also looking forward to doing more adventure trips and gathering documentary style content for my sponsors. I have an interesting piece coming out about the drought in the western United States coming out soon. Be on the lookout for that!
Huge thanks to Chase for taking the time to answer these questions. If anyone is interested in learning more about Chase, check out his website and Facebook page. For more info on SUPAA or to purchase training programs developed by Chase himself to better prepare for races click here.