Interview & pics: Loco SUP
Cazz Lander is an appointed team rider for Loco SUP. Coming from an endurance rowing background she’s primed for stand up paddle racing and the odd endurance race. Loco’s Joe Thwaites caught up with Cazz to find out more.
First of all can you tell our readers a little bit more about endurance rowing, how you got into it, how your world record attempts came about and what have you learned from the experience?
Ocean rowing boats have no engines or sails, they are purely powered by you sitting at the oars and putting in the hard work to move the boat which was definitely what attracted me to it, you get out what you put in and it’s just you and the ocean out there! Having never rowed before, ocean rowing may have seemed like an odd choice of sport but when I saw an advert in 2017 from a team looking for crew to compete in the 2,400 mile Great Pacific Race from California to Hawaii I jumped at the chance. For numerous reasons, I actually ended up setting up my own crew for the race with two other women and crossing the finish line in Hawaii after 62 days at sea we set Guinness World Records as the first crew of three (male or female) to row the Pacific Ocean and the youngest crew of three to row any of the world’s oceans.
I learnt a lot out on the ocean about myself, how far I can push myself and what the human body is truly capable of. We rowed for 62 days in a shift pattern of three hours on, three hours off, meaning we never had more than two hours sleep at a time. It was a gruelling schedule and when you combine that with 30-foot waves, 400m cargo ships, two hurricanes and a cabin of about 2m x 1m, which was our only living space it had the potential to be horrendous, but I’ve actually never laughed or smiled as much as I did out there! When you are over one thousand miles from the nearest land, the closest humans to you are the astronauts in the space station and you are sat in a 25ft ocean rowing boat watching the most incredible sunrises and sunsets, spotting sharks and whales and testing your limits you really begin to appreciate life and what a special opportunity it was.
When did you first experience stand up paddle boarding? What did you like about the sport? Do you participate in any other water sports we should know about?
I first paddle boarded years ago when I was working at Bray Lake Watersports Centre and loved the freedom it gave to get out on the water almost anywhere and explore! I spent about seven years working as a kayak and windsurf instructor at Bray Lake Watersports Centre and Mark Warner in Greece in my school and university holidays but over the last few years I’ve got really into open water swimming and wakeboarding.
We understand you’re looking to compete in race and endurance events across Europe in 2019. Some might say this is a natural progression with your rowing background but what specifically attracted you to the race format? Which races have you committed to and what attracted you to them over the myriad of others on offer? Any plans to outdo any existing SUP endurance world records?
I love racing over long distances, both to test myself and also explore miles of waterways! I’m hoping to compete on the GBSUP and UK Paddle Endurance circuits in the UK this year and then also head out to Holland In September to race the 11 cities SUP. I would love to head over to the US to compete in some of the races in 2020! No plans for any world records although someone did send me a video the other day of an ocean rowing boat that had been converted into a SUP and crossed the Atlantic so who knows!
What does your training regime look like on a weekly basis? Do you endorse any specific diets to help keep you in shape?
I train in the gym around nine times a week with sessions varying from Olympic weight lifting to cardio based circuits. Spending over two months at sea on an ocean rowing boat isn’t great for your body so I’ve been working hard to regain strength and mobility and keep up a good level of fitness. Over the winter I’m on the water less and in the gym more, but over the next few weeks I’ll be building up the miles on water before and after work and working on my race technique. Diet wise I just try to eat as healthily as possible – I find when I’m eating well I have much more energy and early morning training sessions are much easier!
What’s your take on the racing scene in the UK? What ambitions do you hope to realise in your first race season?
This will be my first year racing so I’m brand new to the race circuit and really looking forward to it! It’s great to see all the different races on offer – my plan is to just train hard and race hard and hopefully get some good results!
We’ve seen you’re riding for Loco Surfing. How did this come about? Which board will you be riding in 2019?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate that Joe from Loco Surfing has taken bit of a chance with me to ride for Loco this year and is supporting me on my first year of the race circuit. I loved that they are a home grown UK based brand and have some great looking boards! I’m going to be competing on the 2019 14’ x 22” race board which so far has far exceeded all expectations on the water. It’s incredibly light and fast and training on it has been so much fun. I hadn’t paddled a board that narrow before but I’ve been so impressed with how stable it is and I’m really looking forward to seeing what it can do against the other brands!
I’ve also got a 12’6” x 26” Loco iSup that I love being able to explore on and get to places that are difficult to access with a hard board!
When you’re not training or competing do you do any paddle boarding for fun? Where are your favourite places to paddle? Which locations are on your SUP bucket list?
I try to get out on my boards as much as possible and love exploring all the canals and rivers around where we live. There are some beautiful routes a short drive from our house that take me through some stunning countryside and cute little villages that I love to paddle on. Most of the time it’s just me and a few canal boats! I’ve wanted to paddle board and explore the Isle of Skye for a few years now so I’m determined to put some time aside next year to get up to Scotland and spend a while exploring up there!
Any plans to compete in paddle surfing like some of the other top flight lady racers?
Living pretty much as far away from the sea as you can get in the UK, surfing is the one water sport I’ve not done much of so I don’t think there’s much risk of me competing in paddle surfing any time soon! That said, I do really want to learn as it looks like a lot of fun.
When you’re not SUPing do you have any other fun hobbies?
Crossfit, open-water swimming, wakeboarding and getting out and exploring with our three dogs!