Florida girl Karen was raised with a love of activity instilled into her by her mom, a physical education 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. Karen continues racing in the Florida SUP scene, and is always seeking her next big adventure.
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 and created SUPilates, a program that she teaches all over the county. She was named an 2013 Athleta Featured Athlete and continues to write blogs about her adventures in paddling and fitness.
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, and coaching the Achilles International Ocean Sports Team. They can often be found paddling off of Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island, or playing with their “jungle”: two pugs named Caesar 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.