Paddle Power

posted by / News / September 22, 2008

Chad Carvin is badass. You probably haven’t heard of him if you’re not one of those ‘waterman’ guys who paddle 50 miles every day before breakfast, but he’s definitely legit. He’s an Olympic silver medalist and recently he’s been taking out pretty much every mainland paddleboard comp there is: The Jay Moriarity Memorial Race, The Waterman’s Challenge and most recently the prestigious, 32 mile Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race. Oh yeah, he surfs too and regularly out paddles SUP riders. Rad.

SURFING MAGAZINE: SO CHAD, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SWIMMING AND SURFING FOR? WHICH SPORT DID YOU TAKE UP FIRST?

Chad Carvins: I started swimming before I started surfing. I began swimming when I was five years old then I started surfing when I was ten.

HOW’S THE TRAINING REGIME THESE DAYS NOW THAT YOU’RE RETIRED FROM FULL TIME COMPETITION?

Well, at the peak of my swimming career I was training 30 hours a week. Now with the paddleboarding I mainly train during the summertime for the Catalina competition, but during fall and winter I just surf for exercise and ride my bike.

YOU TOOK OUT THE CATALINA CLASSIC IN AUGUST. WE HEARD THERE WAS A MAKO SHARK HASSLING COMPETITORS DURING THE RACE, DID YOU SEE ANY FISHY BUSINESS GO DOWN?

I didn’t see the shark; it was the mid-pack that encountered it. In my run I had a 15 or 20-minute stretch with a pod of dolphins all around me, which was sweet. Then later on for about 10 or 15 minutes I had a whale surfacing around me. He was probably wondering what I was, because my board’s almost 19 feet long and he was just a little calf so I was close to the same length as him.

DID YOU TRY TO JUMP IN HIS SLIP-STREAM?

Haha, I would have if he was right by me, but he probably would’ve come up and knocked me off.

HAVE YOU ENTERED THE OAHU-MOLOKAI PADDLEBOARD RACE BEFORE?

No, I’ve never raced that one. I’d like to but it’s a little bit difficult because it’s in July which is right in the middle of the lifeguard season, it’s hard to ask for a couple of weeks off in the middle of the season.

WHAT SORT OF LONG TERM GOAL-SETTING DID YOU HAVE TO PUT IN TO WIN YOUR OLYMPIC MEDAL?

I think the Olympic dream of mine was born when I was about ten years old. The L.A Olympics were here in ’84 when I was ten and we went to see some of the events and that’s kinda when I decided I wanted to be in the Olympics. And it wasn’t until I was 26 that I achieved that goal, so it was about 16 years in the making.

AS AN OLYMPIAN AND SURFER, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CURRENT TALK OF SURFING BECOMING AN OLYMPIC SPORT?

That would be awesome. Everyone I know that’s tried surfing knows that it’s one of the hardest sports out there. Some of these athletes are amazing and train hard and it’d be cool to see them get that type of recognition and be included.

IT IS A DIFFERENT SORT OF RECOGNITION ISN’T IT?

Yeah, well surfing in the last eight to ten years has really taken off to the point where the athletes are getting the recognition they deserve and the best surfers are pretty much household names for a lot of people.

HOW ABOUT STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING? DO YOU OWN ONE?

I’ve seen it and I’d like to try it, but I feel like the paddleboard, when the waves are small, will translate the workout {{{100}}}% into your surfing and get you to paddle harder and faster. I like the (prone) paddleboard. And it seems like the nineteen-foot paddleboards, like the one I was on for the Catalina are faster than the standup guys.

WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT FOR CHAD CARVIN?

I’m just enjoying the Catalina win. The whole reason I’m so into that race is the names of all those great watermen that are on the perpetual trophy. So I’ll be back next year to try and defend the title. The cool thing about the race is that the winner gets a 10 ft. gun. So in the future I’d like to put that board into action then put it on my wall after I’ve surfed it.

ANY SURF TRIPS ON THE HORIZON?

I’m going down to Nicaragua in November with a couple of buddies, that’s for a month. Then maybe try to get to Hawaii in January as the scene starts to die down a little bit.

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