My SUP Dog And Me Around Lake Tahoe, by Breeze Turner

We would like to introduce Breeze Turner to you. She is an amazing SUP girl who rarely jumps on her board without her dog, a Golden Retriever called Marley. Here is the story of their recent circumnavigation trip around Lake Tahoe, Nevada/California, USA.

Total SUP: Hi Breeze, can you introduce yourself and your relationship with SUP?

Breeze Turner : I grew up in the Caribbean on an island called Anguilla.  Proximity to ocean and living an island lifestyle made water sports an obvious pastime. I spent weekends waterskiing, wake boarding, kneeboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving and occasionally surfing (when the weather brought a nice swell in). After moving to Reno, in November 2009, I became more and more drawn to Lake Tahoe which is a quick 45 minutes to an hour away. After renting and borrowing paddle boards a few times, I knew it was something I wanted to do more, so last year, I bought my first board.

breeze turner lake tahoe sup dog

Total SUP: Can you introduce Marley aka Captain Moo?

Breeze Turner: My best friend and companion for almost 7 years is my Golden Retriever, Marley. She does everything with me, and at almost 7, she is calm enough to relax and go with the flow (most of the time). I knew that I needed to buy a board that she could fit on. She loves water and has become such an entertaining partner in crime on my adventures. The very first time I put the board in the water she jumped onto it before I did and without even being prompted.

breeze turner lake tahoe sup dog

Total SUP: What’s great / challenging about SUPping with your dog?

Breeze Turner: Marley is pretty calm and incredible smart, but I can’t say she is well trained. She loves paddling and loves being with me, but sometimes she has a different agenda. The guys at Lakeshore set us up with extra traction pads so Marley doesn’t slip, so that helps, but sometimes she gets antsy.  The most challenging thing that happens pretty often is when the wind is blowing pretty hard. It’s already a challenge paddling into a headwind, but add an extra 80 pounds of wet dog to the mix and it can be pretty difficult to make any progress. Also, when it gets choppy she prefers to stand, and her body acts as a sail and makes it even more tough. During our circumnavigation, there were many times that she flat out refused to cooperate which leads to us getting ourselves in several tricky and hilarious situations. By now, I can read her body language and know when she’s thinking about jumping off, but sometimes there’s really no stopping her, and it just comes down to me bracing myself so I don’t end up in the water. Oh and if she sees a fish or a crawdad, I am in trouble.

breeze turner lake tahoe sup dog

Total SUP: Why did you decide to do a circumnavigating tour of Lake Tahoe and with a dog?

Breeze Turner: My summer started with a relationship coming to an end. Being in my late twenties, I’ve been through my fair share of personal trials and tribulations, but this time something different happened. Instead of letting another break up knock me off my feet, I did something for myself and as a result, I realized that my happiness is my responsibility.
I found myself craving time outdoors and on the water. After about 5 times of taking my new board out with Marley and feeling more confident about my ability, I randomly had the idea of circumnavigating the entire lake. Lakeshore, a local paddle board company here and the makers of my board, caught wind of my idea and asked if I would blog about my trip on their website. We knew other people had accomplished this feat, but had anyone ever done it with a dog? I don’t think so… Plus, it wasn’t even an option not to take Marley. I go, she goes.
I never would have thought that this adventure would change my life the way it did. I found myself feeling the level of personal and emotional completeness that I only thought was achievable in a relationship. I found my thing, and because of that I learned how to embrace my life and put myself and my happiness first.

Total SUP : What and where is it? What’s so special about Lake Tahoe?

Breeze Turner : Lake Tahoe sits on the border of Northern Nevada and California. The lake is an incredible slice of heaven. Its water rivals the water in the Caribbean, which blows my mind. The natural beauty of Lake Tahoe is truly awe-inspiring.

breeze turner lake tahoe sup dog

Total SUP: What are its geology, people, landscapes, sports, water conditions…etc. ? 

Breeze Turner: Being such a big lake, you tend to deal with quite a bit of wind in the afternoons. There are even a couple of spots along the north and east shores where you will find people surfing (and SUP surfing) when the wind picks up. The water is always chilly, but I’m an island girl and a bit of a wimp about cold water.

Total SUP:  Can you describe your Lake Tahoe tour ?

Breeze Turner: I definitely had a lot of funny or incredible things happened during my trip around the lake. The funniest thing that happened was when we were paddling by a formal wedding at a golf course and Marley hopped off the board and made a b-line towards the bridal party. I had to run up the beach after her and the groomsmen started taking photos of me, the crazy girl in a bikini chasing her dog, with their phones. She didn’t wreak too much havoc, but it was a pretty funny situation.
Another cool thing that occured was when I was able to paddle with a friend I made on instagram. She was in Tahoe for the week and she agreed to come along with me for one of the legs of my trip. It’s been so neat connecting with people I never would have met — I am so grateful for that.
On my 6th leg, an owner of Lakeshore came along with me and we paddled some of the most incredible shoreline on the lake. We paddled through Emerald Bay, over a boat wreck, around an island with a castle and then around the point to DL Bliss at sunset. It was breathtaking.
On my 9th leg, a friend from college joined me. It was the last day of Tahoe NALU and as we paddled down then final stretch of lakeshore to Kings Beach where our car was parked, a group of people on a balcony overlooking the water started to cheer at us. They must have thought we were the very last people to complete the last race event of the day. It was pretty funny.

breeze turner lake tahoe dog

Total SUP: did you do a leg per day ? 

Breeze Turner: I did the full 72 miles in 10 separate legs. I could have done it in a few less trips, but I was often on my own and without a drop off or pick up ride, so I had to back track. On those days I did half the distance but overlapped to go back to my car. I found that 10 or so miles a day was a good amount. I probably did 90 miles in total because of the backtracking. I did the whole project over the course of a couple months — I had to hold off and postpone my trips because of bad weather, smoke from nearby fires and my own work and travel plans.

Total SUP: Can you tell us about logistic organization that you had to go through: safety, food, dog food, etc… 

Breeze Turner: I learnt quickly that travelling light was important. I had a dry sack with water, a sandwich, sunscreen, some cash and my phone. I also always had my hat, gopro, lifevest, flip flops, Marley’s leash, and a couple of poop bags in case Marley went to the beach to go potty…
Someone always knew where I was for the most part and I had my cellphone charged up in case I needed to call for help. On the days I had a pick up or drop off ride, I would text message my friends to give them a heads up when I got close to my final destination. My friend Harris had to go through hell to find me after my first leg and I learnt my lesson about coordinating, planning and logistics from that day.

breeze turner lake tahoe
Total SUP: Did you have to take a holiday?

Breeze Turner: I am a Realtor in Nevada, so I planned my paddling around my clients and business schedule. I even made a deal one day while we were paddling!

Total SUP: What’s your next SUP PUP challenge ? 

Breeze Turner: In December I will be going home to the Caribbean for the holidays and taking a Lakeshore inflatable SUP with me. I will be going around be whole island (Anguilla) while I’m there, but sadly Marley won’t be with me since it’s such a long plane ride away. I am sad she won’t accomplish that paddle trip with me, but she will be there in spirit and be missed terribly.
Next year I would like to do the Lake Tahoe trip again but all in one go. I will camp in between legs and hopefully meet up with friends on the way for supplies and support. It’ll be an adventure, that’s for sure smile.

You can follow Breeze on Instragram.

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

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