Anna Levesque is a world-class paddler and instructor dedicated to enhancing the lives of women through kayaking, SUP, SUP yoga, yoga and travel. She has 20 plus years of paddling experience in over 12 countries and is the founder of Girls at Play and Mind Body Paddle. Anna is a Level 2 American Canoe Association SUP Instructor Trainer, Level 4 American Canoe Association Whitewater Kayak Instructor Trainer, and a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance.
As an athlete Anna was a member of the Canadian Freestyle Whitewater Kayak Team from 1999 to 2003 and earned a bronze medal at the Freestyle World Championships in 2001. She placed in the top 3 in several freestyle competitions and extreme races during that time.
When and where did you start SUP ?
I started dabbling in SUP about 5 years ago while I was traveling as a guest whitewater kayak instructor. To be honest, coming from whitewater kayaking, I didn’t think I would like SUP. I soon discovered that assumption was wrong!
Which sports did you practice before? And now?
I raced alpine skiing as a teenager, rowed crew in college, have been whitewater kayaking for over 20 years and practicing yoga for over 15 years. I also enjoy mountain biking and hiking – and Latin dancing is something I love to do once in awhile – especially when I’m in Costa Rica or Mexico running paddling trips!
How have the sports you did before helped with SUP?
Kayaking gave me all of the paddling skills I needed – I just had to get comfortable balancing and moving around the board – yoga helped with that piece. For whitewater SUP any my whitewater kayaking background obviously helps with reading water. I take different lines on my SUP than I would in my kayak in whitewater and my ability to choose a fun path comes from my years of experience in my kayak.
What attracts you to SUP?
I love the full-body workout of paddling SUP and I really love SUP Yoga. I get as pumped teaching SUP Yoga as I do teaching on challenging whitewater. Having an outlet for people to get outside, be active and be mindful is powerful. And I also like to paddle surf, although I don’t do it enough since I live in the mountains.
SUP race, SUP surf or something else?
SUP is booming, do you think this is a fad or a change in attitudes over the long term?
I think SUP has a lot to offer because it is so versatile. You can SUP on the ocean, on lakes, on rivers, you can practice SUP Yoga or SUP fitness. It appeals to so many different people for different reasons that I believe it has staying power.