Interview: Land Paddling UK
Pics: Yenny Stromgren
Yenny Stromgren is a true inspiration. Completely bitten by the land paddling bug, not only did she buck the typical Australian trend of gravitating towards the ocean for her sporting fix, she’s also the author of the first book about land paddling: LAND PADDLING – STREET SUP: http://my.digitalgoodsstore.com/product/xygfo and runs a website that spotlights other riders and their land paddling exploits: www.ilovestreetsup.com Intrigued by Yenny and her sheer devotion to the cause and infectious enthusiasm for LP we hit her up to get the low down.
When did you first discover land paddling and what made you start riding?
I first discovered land paddling when visiting a friend’s house. They had someone over that had a 48” Kahuna Creations board. I tested it on the veranda and couldn’t stop smiling. The guy who owned it kept telling me about land paddling and that I should have a go. A week later I bought a board and a Kahuna adjustable paddle – I haven’t looked back since then.
Land paddling is still a niche discipline but what did you find appealing about it?
I like it because it gives a great core work out and it has got speed as well. The best part though: it makes me smile!
Tell us a little about where you normally ride – why’s it so good?
I live in Noosa, Queensland, Australia (Sunshine Coast). I used to ride on the bike paths down at Noosa River but I find it has too many people and is pretty short. This past year I have gone to Maroochydore and ride to Moolooloba and back. 90% of the route is by the ocean and the long way round takes about two hours back and forth. A shorter version is just under an hour. At Alexandra Headlands there is a descending hill I really like. I usually do that about three times – up and down. It’s a mega core workout.
Where the best place you’ve visited for land paddling and what’s cool about it?
So far I have only been riding on the Sunshine Coast where I live. We have such beautiful ocean views.
How do you find being a female in a small niche, male dominated sport?
Don’t know what to say really. Anyone doing SSUP/land paddling at the moment, regardless of being a man or a woman, are getting strange looks. Kind of goes with the territory.
If you were to encourage more women to take up the sport what would you say to them?
Like anything in life, just do it. It is super fun and not hard if you practice, regardless of your age or sex.
Tell us about your book and why you thought penning something about land paddling would be so good – especially in light of LP being a young discipline?
When I first started out I found it very frustrating with the lack of information about the sport. I did find bigger brands advertising land paddling and wanted to sell their gear but didn’t put out much about the riders and communities. To get to know more about it I thought I’d interview those involved. I was lucky to discover a great SSUP (another name for land paddling, street stand up paddling) community on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/StreetSUP/, run by DeeJay Pascua. He has been a great person to know and has put me in contact with a lot of other riders. Dee is also the first interviewee in the book and I have a lot to thank him for it being made.
So the main reason I authored the e-book was to learn more about the sport, get to know what boards are being ridden and why and what paddles they use. I also gathered a lot of info about communities and competitions around the globe. It helped me understand more about the sport and it is the first land paddling/SSUP e-book available. You can check it out here – LAND PADDLING – STREET SUP: http://my.digitalgoodsstore.com/product/xygfo
Any plans to expand on the first or write a second?
Not at the moment but I do have a dream of making a film about land paddlers around the world in the near future.
What about people you look up to within the land paddling scene – who gives you inspiration to get out there and hit it?
I get a lot of inspiration from the FB community (mentioned above). On rainy days that’s where I go and have a look at what’s going on. I really dig SkeightSUP (another rider) who I also interviewed for the book. His land paddling is more like dancing, whereas the WestSSUP crew do a lot of things in groups and are dominating competitions. I also follow Land Paddle UK (owned by Gary Evans) who do lots of good work in the UK.
Are you more of a flat land cruising paddler or do you like the challenge of lips, hits, bowls and ramps?
Totally a flat land paddler. I do like speed though.
Where do you see the sport going? Do you think it could get big?
The majority of people I have talked to are saying that land paddling is like SUP was 10 years ago and is growing every day. I do agree and think it will be a well-recognised discipline in the future.
What about riding longboard skateboards without a stick – do you indulge?
I sometimes go riding with just the board and my boys but because I have a bit of a back problem I prefer the paddle.
Paddling is such a broad area – do you stand up paddle board on the water or is it just a terra firma thing for you?
Although I live in Noosa, where people come to practice SUP and surfing, I must confess that I have only tried stand up paddling on water once. I did enjoy it but with land paddling the speed is better and there are no sharks to worry about. I must say I prefer land paddling more.
If no to the above any plans to take up SUP?
Maybe, you never know.
Talk to us about your land paddling goals for the rest of 2016 – what are you aiming for?
Just paddle and paddle and hopefully find more people I can ride with. I would like to go to the Adrenalina Skate Race and compete. It would be nice to meet up with everyone in the community. I’m working on getting there this year or next.
Anyone else in the mix who helps and inspires you ride – tell us about your regular land paddling crew?
I have found a mate I ride with here on the coast, which is good. I’m definitely looking for more people to skate with though.
What’s your current set up (or set ups) – walk us through the kit you’re currently using?
I currently have a 48” Kahuna Creations Surf Rider but changed the wheels to Biggie Hawgs 73mm. Although I had a retractable Kahuna stick, as my land paddling improved, I needed a change and now have a homemade 2m long Rattan paddle with a solid black Kong Ball attached to the end. Best grip ever!
My dream though is to get a Hamboards Classic longboard and a WestSSUP Custom Ratan Street Paddle. My life would then be complete…
Any final thoughts on land paddling in general?
When I first started out I did not wear a helmet. After falling once I now wear one. It’s pink! Wear a helmet as it could stop you seriously injuring yourself…
I would also like to say that this sport is for people of all ages. The people I interviewed for my land paddling book are aged 30-63, both men and women, proving the point perfectly. If you can stand, or sit, you can do it. It is a great core fitness exercise, something to do with your friends, with your kids or by yourself. Most of all, it is fun. I started at the age of 42 with no prior experience. You can do it too.
Shouts and praise?
A big thanks to everyone that land paddles, helped with my book and people that get out there a inspire others to ride!