SN: Congratulations on your Chattajack win (course record-4:00:09-ed).
EB: Thanks it was a really nice event. I always like to do one long race at the end of the season and the Chattajack was perfect. Eric Mims and I had a nice paddle together for the first hour and a half and then we sort of simply drifted apart while we were weaving around all the SUP traffic. I hoped that we'd regroup mid-race, but either I sped up or he slowed a bit. I have to add that It's always a pleasure to paddle with Eric Mims as he's a true gentleman sportsman out on the water.
SN: How did you get your start on the surfski?
EB: Around 1994 I started sea kayaking for fitness. I soon found that paddling a sea kayak wasn’t really suitable for working on fitness as the boats were just too wide and inefficient. Some years later, I was living in Washington state and happened onto a vibrant multi-sport racing scene; all the competitive athletes were paddling these skinny, fast surfskis, so I found my way into one around 1998. I soon found that I enjoyed the paddling component of the multi-sport races more than the other disciplines, so I started to pursue it more seriously. It took me awhile to get comfortable on the tippy boats but I continued after it and eventually started to put it together.
SN: Did you have any Fast guys to learn from?
EB: Yes, I was pretty lucky to have frequent contact with paddlers that included: Greg Barton, John DePalma, and Shaun Koos.
SN: Those are fast guys.
EB: Yes, they crushed me. I learned early on that paddling was as much about technical efficiency as it was about fitness so I focused on learning the most efficient methods of training and paddling and continually being around that kind of group really helped me along.
SN: Can you tell us about some of your race history?
EB: I’ve finished the Molokai channel race three times, finished 6th overall at the U.S. Championships both in '04 and '08, won Blackburn, Run of the Charles, The Phatwater, plus several other larger races on the west coast. In 2001, I paddled K2 with Shaun Koos at the ICF Marathon Kayak Worlds in England. We didn't do that well, but we didn't embarrass ourselves.
SN: What about more recently? Have you maintained a busy race schedule?
EB: I get in about 6 races a year now with most in the upper midwest. It gets tough to travel to races now because I feel so guilty leaving my wife and three kids for any length of time at all - though they don't miss me at all when I'm gone.
SN: How often do you train?
EB: About Three times a week in the boat, and then once or twice doing something else like a short run or bike ride.
SN: Wow! That’s it? You were serious about finding the most effective training method.
EB: That's every masters athlete's goal, I would think - trying to get the most out of your limited training time. I have a one mile lake and a 400 meter lake close to home that I've spent most of my time training on over the past three years.
SN: 400 meters? That’s incredible!
EB: I guess the smaller one is more of a pond. But it's deep! Then, once every other week, I will travel to a larger lake or large river to do a long endurance session .
SN: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Look forward to seeing you at next years Chattajack.
Residence: Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Surfski: Epic V10 Gt (sponsored athlete).