ProStaffer of the Month: Karla Briones
Our ProStaffer of the Month for July, 2018 is Karla Briones. Her boat of choice is her stand-up paddleboard along with her Malta Carbon paddle…
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Karla is on her paddleboard as often as a busy mom and business owner can be…And as often as their short paddle season in Canada allows (usually mid-June into fall, as long as a dry suit is part of her gear).
She took time to chat with us about why she SUPs and how she fits it into her life:
Karla’s Background in Water Sports
Karla has always been a water lover. Her first serious water sport was competitive rowing, which she finally gave up when 8 months pregnant with her first child. She wanted to stay active, “but find something that didn’t require waking up at 4:00 in the morning!”
One day about four years ago she took a local SUP class and fell in love with it. She hasn’t looked back since. She loves how it keeps her in shape, and how she’s able to fit it into her fast-paced lifestyle.
Karla’s Main Focus with SUP
Karla’s main focus with SUP has been to showcase it to other moms and business owners as a great way to fit physical activity into their busy lives. She’s an example to her peers that “staying active, no matter what, is possible.”
She does this by keeping her inflatable stand-up board, PFD and paddle in her car all the time. If she has a couple hours between meetings or events, she’ll head to the Ottawa River and get on the water.
She always has her phone with her and, if it’s safe to do so, will post pictures and updates on her social platforms. That’s inspired others to ask her what they can do to get into the SUP world, too.
Kids and Dogs on the Board
Karla wants her girls to grow up to be comfortable in the water and on a SUP board as well. She’s taught them safety practices like how to keep an eye on water conditions. And that it’s normal to fall in the water, and isn’t anything to be afraid of.
She invented games for them to play while out paddling with her—like try to get mom to take a swim! She wants them to believe being on a board is a fun experience.
Her older daughter, age 10, is paddling a SUP board on her own after a few years of sitting in front of Karla on the board. Her younger sister has the board-sitter role now, and sometimes the family dog.
Karla’s an animal lover and has businesses in the pet industry. So it’s natural for her to bring their 100-pound giant schnauzer on the water with her. Not only does the extra weight add to her workout intensity—it adds to the excitement factor!
Arya loves to swim, so keeping her on the board has become an art form for Karla. She keeps treats with her as incentive, but can’t always keep her from jumping in after ducks or just to cool off. Karla said:
“I never bring the dog on board when I have to be anywhere, because I know we’ll both get wet!”
Karla’s Best Advice for Beginners
Karla’s best advice for those just starting out with SUP is:
“You’re going to fall in the water! Just accept it. The best thing you can do is practice falling off the board and then practice getting back on. That eliminates the fear and stress of falling and gets you used to being wet.”
Other tips she mentioned:
- If you’ve never tried SUP, find a local place that rents them. Give it a try. Sign up for a class or two.
- Pursue safe paddling practices. Always wear a PFD and a leash. If the water temperature is cold enough that you won’t want to swim, wear a dry suit. Assume you’ll get wet.
- Start in easy, safe water conditions. You can always go up from there as your skills increase.
More posts for you…