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Ask a Pro: Chase Kosterlitz Knows What’s SUP

Interview conducted by Adam Cole

Photos provided

Hawaiian Stand-Up Paddle pro Chase Kosterlitz, 25, has been mastering the young sport for four years, and racing professionally for two. Aptly nicknamed The Water Monkey, Chase recently chatted with BVI SUPper Adam Cole on his water regiment and love for the sport.

Adam Cole: Chase, how did you get into Stand Up Paddleboarding?

Chase Kosterlitz: Some kiteboard friends got a couple of boards donated to our school’s kite club. We used the boards to surf and cruise on, but never anything too serious. After I graduated I saw that there were guys racing the boards so I decided to explore that side of the sport.

AC: How did you get the name: Water Monkey?

CK: I wanted something that was easy to remember and friendly. Water Monkey seemed to do the job after a lot of brain storming with my girlfriend.

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AC: What has been your favourite SUP event? What made it so exciting? Where did you finish?

CK: The Paddle Royal in San Juan has been one of my favorite events. I have won that event the past two years. It is fun because it combines downwind ocean conditions with flat water. The scenery around Old San Juan is beautiful too!

AC: What major events will you compete in throughout 2012? Who will be some of your toughest competitors?

CK: The Carolina Cup, WPA World Championships, Battle of the Paddle, Tahoe Nalu, Gorge Paddle Challenge and a couple of races in Europe to name a few! Danny Ching and Jaime Mitchell are definitely a couple of guys that I would love to compete against in a 14-foot class distance race. Hopefully that will happen this year!

AC: How many hours a week do you train when preparing for a major event?

CK: Six days a week for an average of about two hours per day.

AC: Who is your role model and why?

CK: No one in particular but I look up to anyone who pursues their passion in life. Someone who doesn’t go by the rules but follows their heart and lives everyday doing what they completely love.

AC: How many variations of SUP are there?

CK: As many as you want! Surf, river, race, and downwind. That is the beauty of this sport.

AC: Do you think SUP is a serious competitive sport? Why?

CK: Yes because there are men and women competing at a very high level in a sport that is not really even a decade old. In the next few years we will see the competitive field continue to expand at a rapid pace.

AC: Do you think SUP has the potential to be an Olympic sport? Where do you see the sport heading?

CK: I think that SUP could be in the Olympics but I don’t think that will be its final goal. Sure the Olympics will help get the sport exposure but it would probably get in as a sprint event in flat water and a straight line. We will see, but I don’t think that will be the way the world should see SUP. Downwind and surf racing is much more dynamic and interesting. I see these kinds of races becoming more popular because of their spectator friendliness and excitement they generate.

AC: Is it possible to make a living being a professional SUPer?

CK: Not yet! There might be a few professionals getting by but there is not enough money in the sport just yet. My goal is to be able to get enough sponsorship to be able to fully concentrate on a professional stand up paddle career. Water Monkey is my main sponsor right now!

AC: What is so appealing about SUP? Do you have to be a competitive athlete to enjoy SUP?

CK: Standing on the water is a novel thing for most people. I think that being able to do this and be outside in nature make SUP an appealing sport. You don’t have to be competitive or athletic to stand up paddle. I tell people that if you can stand on your own two feet, then you can do it!

AC: What do you like most about the sport?

CK: I like its versatility. I can surf waves, fly downwind, or cruise flat water. Stand up paddling has many variations depending on what you want to do.

AC: What makes the Virgin Islands an ideal destination for SUP?

CK: I have not been down there yet but the crystal clear water and consistent trade winds sound like they make for a stand up paddle paradise!

AC: Describe your ideal day on the water?

CK: Wake up and go for a 10 mile downwind paddle in strong winds. Eat some lunch and then go do the same run on my kite board. I just did this last weekend and it felt pretty ideal!

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