After much competition and a robust audience engagement, the first and original awards of the standup paddle world is proud to announce the winners of the 2nd Annual SUP Women of the Year Awards.
Nikki Gregg, Sup Fitness, River, Racer
Candice Appleby, Sup Racer, Surfer, Ocean Athlete
Morgan Hoestery, Sup Racer, Surfer, Diver
Karen Wren, Sup Racer, Endurance Athlete
Helga Goebel, Sup Racer and ambassador
SAN DIEGO, California – The selection was based on the same criteria used for all of the Supconnect Awards: ambassadorship, grassroots involvement, performance, and popularity. In all of that process, the Awards considers the nominees’ contributions to the modern history of the sport, looking at who made remarkable strides, opened new doors, created novel modalities, etc. During the first annual, the Supconnect Awards selected Candice Appleby, the woman who virtually single-handedly busted down the doors of the ol’ boys club and led the way to making women a prominent face of the sport. (Read more about criteria.)
In this second annual, the Awards rightly chooses Nikki Gregg. Throwing a completely novel spin on the sport, Gregg popularized the notion of standup paddle fitness and river running. With an extensive background in fitness, she was the first woman to make noticeable efforts to take the gym outside and to the water. As a staunch advocate of the health benefits of stand up paddle boarding, Gregg shattered many preconceptions and introduced pushups, sit-ups, and all kinds of cardio and muscular workouts on paddleboards. Also, as a former whitewater expert, it wasn’t too long until she began taking stand up paddling to inland waterways, like rivers, standing waves, and waterfalls.
From the current vantage point, paddle fitness and river running are obvious realities of stand up paddle boarding. But just a few years ago, as the sport sprouted out of its surf roots and into the world, surfing was the only natural use of what amounted to a larger surfboard and a longer outrigger canoe paddle. And those who were there in the early days know that it took a few visionaries to lead the sport to its new frontiers. And Nikki Gregg is without a doubt one of them. And what’s more, she did it with a great smile and poise, spreading the love of the sport with all her fitness and whitewater enthusiasm. (Follow Supconnect on Facebook for latest.)
And following Nikki Gregg in this 2nd Annual Supconnect Awards are Candice Appleby, Morgan Hoestery, Karen Wren, and Helga Goebel. Appleby is well-deserving of another top placement. Her stunning race performances redrew the lines of what is considered possible in the world of women sup racing. And she did it all with her trademark smile, highly approachable attitude, and the true spirit of “Aloha.” Outside of the water, Appleby is always eager to inspire others, whether through her live show, personal encounter, or celebrity status.
Hoestery, a phenomenal racer and waterwoman from Hawaii, has taken her talents beyond the race course. A member of the Destination 3 crew, she paddled across all the Hawaiian Islands, the coast of Costa Rica, and several other incredible destinations, often tapping into her video production background to bring breadth-taking moments to the screen. And just like Gregg and Candice, Hoestery conveys that noteworthy cheerfulness and smile. Karen Wren, one of the most impressive endurance athletes of the standup paddle board world, known for her Channel Island crossing and several top race results, is no doubt deserving of a top placement, representing the fierceness and rugged nature of the North West. Following her is Helga Goebel, whose smile and attitude belie the prowess of her competitive racing, racing which has been responsible for taking the female performance of the US East Coast up a notch. And in addition to them, there is a great field of ambassadors for the sport, without whom stand up paddle boarding would not be where it is today. And among them all, these five women are well-deserving of a special recognition. (Follow Supconnect on Twitter and Youtube.)
How have these and/or other women inspired you to paddle?