Pro Stand Up Paddleboarder Gillian Gibree. Photo by Shana Siler

Standing Up for Change with Pro SUP Gillian Gibree

“Let’s go surfing now, everyone is learning how. C’mon and safari with me…”  There’s just something about summer and Beach Boys’ lyrics that make us want to surf. But even if you live near the beach, learning how to surf can be a difficult sport. Thankfully, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), makes learning how to surf easier and more accessible. SUP can be done on the ocean, a river, lake or any other body of water. For Pro SUP Gillian Gibree when she is not winning competitions, she can be found on the water giving back to others. Risen spoke with Gibree five years ago about why she gives back to the community and how she trains for her competitions.

Gibree shares why she feels it is important to give back to the community.

“It makes you feel good. I love being able to use my passion to be able to help other people. Everyone should do that in life. Once you find what you love, you should share it and help other people. In SUP, it is amazing to see how many people are doing that. People are doing distance paddles to raise money for breast cancer. It is so touching to hear all the amazing things that people are doing and using SUP as a platform to do it. There is a woman who paddled down a dangerous river in India to raise money for young girls who have cervical cancer. For me, it is great to be a part of it. One of my sponsors has a non-profit called Surfers Healing. The founder has an autistic son and started the organization. They do surf camps all over the country for autistic children. I got to be a part of it this summer which was really special. There is something about the water that calms children. There is something about the ocean that is healing to them. It was really great to get to be a part of that this year and I hope I get to do more camps next year. It is cool to work alongside other athletes who are giving back as well.”

 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:8-11

 Gibree explains why her training regimen is very diverse.

 “My training is so diverse as compared to an Olympic sprint runner who will do one specific race. With SUP, there are so many different types of races. I do distance, sprint and there are different types of water such as river and ocean, which affect the race as well. I have to maintain overall fitness. I do a lot of running and SUP surfing. I do interval workouts three times a week, which is an hour to an hour-and-a-half on flat water going all out. Once a week, putting in an eight-to-ten mile distance paddle. In the spring, it is easy for me to keep a regimented schedule. In the summer, when I am competing it is harder because I am traveling. I do yoga sculpt to build my core strength and get some cross training too. In the winter, I get to do more relaxing yoga. I do a lot of pool swimming for my prone paddle races. SUP athletes are very diverse. Many come from an outrigger or kayak background. Even though SUP is relatively new as a recognized sport, the athletes are not new to water sports. One just got an Olympic gold this summer kayaking, another is an Iron Woman athlete, and another is an Olympic trial swimmer. The competitors have diverse backgrounds, so our training has to be very diverse.”

 Risen Reflections

Give back. Whether it is sports, business, music or another hobby, whatever gifts and talents you have been given, use it as an opportunity to help others. It could be mentoring someone in the trade or sport that you are knowledgeable in or it could be gathering other likeminded colleagues and friends to do a fundraiser for a cause. If you don’t feel like organizing a fundraiser, lend your voice and talents to an existing one.

Train hard. You don’t have to be an athlete to train hard. Each day is an opportunity to do your job, schoolwork, or raise your family with excellence. No one knows everything there is to know about a certain subject. Take time to learn more. It can be a webinar, conference, or spending time with a mentor. When the desire to slack off or be lazy presents itself, remember your goal.

Try a new activity. It can be SUP or another sport. Grab a friend, your small group, or your family and get outside and enjoy nature. After you try the activity share what you enjoyed with each other. Trying new things enables us to see something that we might be good at but didn’t know. Encourage those that are more reserved or shy in the group.

To read our entire interview with Gillian Gibree, click here.

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