Todd grew up in Hood River, Oregon. He became immersed with all of the outdoor opportunities that the area provides. Windsurfing and kiteboarding got him hooked on being in the river swell of the mighty Columbia. In recent years he was seeing people passing by riding paddleboards on these same swells and decided to try it out. It didn't take long for him to become hooked on the epic downwinders through the Gorge. Gliding effortlessly hundreds of yards at a time on huge river swell makes for a unique and exciting ride! Todd spends his summers sharing his passion of stand up paddleboarding with others through his business the Gorge Paddling Center.
When and where did you start SUP ?
I started paddleboarding about 5 years ago in my hometown of Hood River, OR. Paddleboarding really started booming and I’m not one to miss out on the fun. I got on a couple high wind downwinders through the Columbia Gorge and I was hooked.
Which sports did you practice before? And now?
I have a bit of sports addiction :) Snowboarding, Skateboarding, Mountain Biking, Kiteboarding, and Whitewater Kayaking have consumed most of my youth. Currently I am following my passion for surfing, SUP, and snowboarding.
How have the sports you did before helped with SUP?
Every sport you do in the past has crossover to new sports. All of my boardsports have helped with balance. Kayaking has given me a precise feel for the paddle and stroke efficiency. Surfing helps a ton with downwinders when the swell gets big.
What attracts you to SUP?
Paddleboarding is a very versatile sport. You can do it on a small lake, big downwinders, fishing, ocean surfing, and even whitewater. It is an excellent workout, increases balance, cardio, and strengthens; all while being super fun and relaxing.
SUP race, SUP surf or something else?
SUP in all aspects. I enjoy competing and training to stay in shape. I also love taking trips to the coast going surfing and hanging out. Downwinders here in Hood River are all time!
SUP is booming, do you think this is a fad or a change in attitudes over the long term?
I think SUP is here to stay. People have paddled crafts for as long as we have been around. From my perspective the crafts have just kept getting better over time. Paddleboarding gives you a rad perspective that sitting down doesn’t allow and a full body exercise.
Do you participate in competitions?
I do enjoy competition and plan to train for several races in the upcoming season. My local race the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge is my biggest goal for the season.
3rd Place (18-39)Open Division Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge 2016
For more information about Matt visitwww.gorgepaddling.com