Evan Gerbrecht is a determined and focussed guy. We’ve known him for a few years now, as he started stand up paddle boarding with our DART junior SUP team when it first started. Since then, he has shown his passion for the sport and dedication to improvement through consistently getting great results in racing, and also by passing his stand up paddleboard instructor course so now he can pass that passion on. Considering all these things it was no surprise when it was announced that he was going to be a member of the Salish Sea SUP Crossing team, a group of SUP nutters (sorry, enthusiasts) who aim to paddle from Nanaimo to Vancouver to raise money for charity. We caught up with Evan before and after the paddle to see what was going on.
Before the paddle
Deep Cove Kayak: So Evan, ummm, WHY on earth do you want to paddle for 10-12 hours across the Straight of Georgia?!?
Evan Gerbrecht: Well I’ve always had an aim to do more long distance paddling so thought this would be a great opportunity to start. And to raise money for such a great charity is totally worth it.
DCK: So tell us about the paddle…
EG: There are 11 of us paddling, and we start in Nanaimo, and paddle 60-70km across to Vancouver where we come in at Kits Beach. Harry and Kathleen Saini are the organisers and this is the third year they have done it to raise money for a local charity which this year is PADS, the Pacific Assistance Dogs Society. Afterwards there’s going to be a party at Jericho Sailing Club where we’ll also be raising more money for the charity.
DCK: And what will you be paddling?
EG: I’ll be on Bruce, my 2014 Starboard Sprint which is 14’ x 24”. It’s called Bruce after the shark in Finding Nemo.
DCK: Lastly, why SUP? There are plenty of other things you could be doing!
EG: Well yeah, I could be at home playing video games but I’d far rather be at the beach! And the community of people I’ve met through stand up paddling is amazing. Everyone is so supportive, generous and enthusiastic about spreading the sport, it is fantastic to be a part of it.
After the paddle, which, very disappointingly, was called off after about 20 km due to deteriorating weather conditions which you can read about here.
DCK: So how did you feel the night before the paddle?
EG: I was pretty nervous actually – it really hit me how far we were going to be paddling! We woke at 3am, and after having oatmeal for breakfast, we started paddling between 4.30-5am.
DCK: Woah – crazy early start! Now from what I understand, conditions were immediately worse than anticipated, how did you feel when you saw how the wind and waves were coming at you?
EG: I wasn’t too worried at the time because I thought they would pass, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We made the decision to paddle back to shore as a group, and it was definitely the right thing to do.
DCK: I’m sure you were all pretty disappointed – was the party that had been planned for afterwards rather subdued as a result?
EG: Heck no! It was awesome! The team I paddled with are such an amazing and supportive group, we had a great time. I’m already looking forward to doing the paddle again next year!
DCK: Thanks Evan, and good luck for the rest of the paddling season!