Recently, junior Thomas Nilsen has gained recognition for ranking 101 worldwide for stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Since he was twelve years old, he has been SUP, and he usually practices with a group of teenagers three times a week, or about five hours a week at the Paddle Academy in Dana Point.
He attributes his interest in SUP to his father: “My dad introduced me to paddling with the Dana Outrigger Canoe Club (DOCC). I feel calm and at peace when I am out on the water.” He trained with DOCC for several seasons before he discovered and became heavily involved in SUP.
He continues, “I am motivated by the adventure of the sport itself. There are many races to choose from both near and far. I enjoy meeting people locally and from other countries at these races. SUP racing gets people together of all ages, and the SUP community is a friendly group of people. The biggest impact the sport has had on me is that it introduced me to other paddlers and to adventure out on the ocean.”
When he is older, Nilsen hopes to “teach SUP to give back to the SUP community.” He also looks forward to “traveling and seeing all kinds of places on [his] SUP [as] SUP is something [one] can do anywhere in the world.”
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