Florida girl Karen was raised with a love of activity instilled into her by her mom, a physical fitness teacher. As a young girl, she was introduced to competitive synchronized swimming and then later entered the world of paddle sports competing in surfskiing, outrigger canoeing and standup paddleboarding. Notable SUP achievements in the last year include first place in the Waterman’s Paddle for Humanity (Women’s 12’6”) in Deerfield Beach, first place in the C2C Causeway 2 Causeway Challenge (Women’s Overall) in Cocoa Beach, and second place in the Chattajack 31 (Women’s SUP).
A Pilates instructor and wellness coach, Karen is the founder of Dunedin Pilates Studio in Dunedin, FL where she now resides with her husband, Rob. She combines her love of SUP with Pilates by offering both Pilates and Yoga SUP classes. She will play an integral role in the development of YOLOFit, YOLO Board’s newest fitness initiative. She was named an Athleta 2013 Featured Athlete where she writes a monthly featured blog about her experiences.
Karen and Rob enjoy being active members of their small town community, both with paddling and charity events including organizing Dunedin’s annual paddlefest, the Shark Bite Challenge. They can often be found paddling off of Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island, or playing with their “jungle”: two pugs named Baxter and Peanut, and a parrot named Peaches.
The ocean! I use my paddle training time as my alone time. I focus on my workout, but the time also allows me to disconnect from my daily distractions and clear my mind. I have come up with my best ideas, strategies and solutions while out on the water. It’s definitely a significant place of value to me. I don’t know what I would do without my water.
What’s your motto in life?
“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” — Hans Christian Andersen.
What fun is life if you don’t live it? Funny, now I ride for team YOLO :)
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement was when my husband and I paddled the Water Tribe Ultra Marathon Challenge in 2010, a 70-mile paddle down the west coast of Florida. Not only did we finish in style, we broke the record and finished the race in 10 hours and 40 minutes. We paddled that long, non-stop! I was so proud of myself that day.
What song would best characterize your motto?
“Going the Distance” by Cake
What is your greatest indulgence?
I have a huge weakness for cookies. I love cookies. I know a fitness pro isn’t supposed to say that, but I guess it’s what makes me human. Girl Scout Cookie time is the worst time of year for me.
What do you value most in life?
My family, friends, my pets, and the experiences that paddling has brought to my life.