Thanks to the generosity of John Griffith (SIC) and Scott Ruble (Covewater SUP Santa Cruz) I was able to arrange an interview and coaching session with Jeremy Riggs (paddlewithriggs.com) almost immediately upon my arrival in Maui. After our first meeting and interview we headed up to Maliko for what turned out to be an incredibly fun and informative downwinder with one of the best riders in the world. Many thanks to John, Scott and Jeremy (and Maui) for making it happen.
Where do you reside: Wailuku HI
What was your first/best experience on an SIC: My first experience on an SIC was on an F-16 during a Maliko run. It was my first time using a rudder. I learned a lot that day about following the bumps and about the advantage of having complete control of the board. It changed the way I approached downwind racing in a very productive way. My best experience on an SIC board was completing my first Molokai to Oahu channel crossing with my partner Nabil Vogel back in 2007. We trained very hard for the challenge and when it was over there was just that amazing feeling of accomplishment. I knew right then that this race was something I wanted to be a part of for many years to come.
What does the name SIC mean to you: A company that's committed to building the fastest and most innovative boards available and having fun while doing so.
Paddling background: I started doing Maliko runs back in 2002 on a prone paddle board. I remember catching these really long glides and wishing I could stand up for some of them but the boards were just way to tippy. Then I heard about the stand up boards in 2004 and I had to have one. I got my first SUP in 2005, made myself a paddle with a broken canoe paddle and an old windsurf mast and entered my first Maliko race that year. I was the only SUP in that race and there was close to 100 canoes. Those guys thought I was crazy and honestly I didn't know what to expect because this was my first time going all the way to the harbor. As I got closer to the finish there was a lot of canoe paddlers cheering me on. It was a great feeling and a great day. Gotta thank the Maui Canoe and Kayak Club for making that day such a fun and memorable experience for me.
What do you think SIC name means in the world of SUP: Proven race boards and if you want to do well in the channel races, you better order or reserve one well in advance.
What is your best crazy Dutchmen story: Mark has shown up to so many races with a board that he just finished making and the race ends up being the test run. We've done a couple of channel crossings together and in 2009 we partnered up for the Molokai to Oahu. I thought we were going to use the F-16 because that's what we were training on. When we met up on Molokai, sure enough Mark had built a new prototype for the race. We decided we would try it out in the biggest race of the season. It worked great! We ended up taking 2nd place that year.
How long have you been surfing and paddling: I grew up in North Carolina and spent most my time at the beach on a bodyboard. I didn't own a surfboard until after college and I moved out to Maui with dreams of becoming a professional bodyboarder. I was humbled right off the bat once I felt the power of the Pacific Ocean and saw the level of talent out here in Hawaii. I started surfing in the upright position in 2000 and I've been hooked since then.
Background text courtesy of the SIC website.