Penelope Strickland, New-Zealand rider took a few months off to travel and race. Having traveled across Europe while taking part in some races of the Eurotour, she is now in the USA to prepare the major races coming up there.
Penelope, you took a few months off to tour Europe and the USA. What motivated you to do this?
I had to sit out 12 months of racing due to illness and there were a couple of the big races that I watched on a live feed from my hospital bed.
When you are hooked up to a drip , morphine and with your abdomen sewn back together its impossible not to want to be elsewhere, but it made watching Carolina Cup and Olukai from my hospital bed that much harder.
At that point I decided that if I lived to see 2017 I was going to make it all about travelling, paddling, racing and having fun.
How much have you planned and how much have you left to improvisation so far?
I have a handful of majors that I have committed to but everything else is pretty fast and loose. This year is about me and having fun, learning as much as possible and most importantly “living” so my plans are adapting as opportunities arise.
How is Starboard helping you in this?
I think was a bit of a surprise package for Starboard. Nobody (not even me) expected me to win the Technical Race at ISA, but I have always paddled their boards and so it was natural to sign with them after Fiji when they offered me a chance to become one of the team.
Knowing that I have the best boards waiting for me in every location is a giant piece of the puzzle, so I am very thankful.
Which races did you take part in so far and what are the next ones?
So far I did a few stops of the Euro Tour, Carolina Cup and Santa Monica Pier but It all really happens in the tail end of the trip though.
I have M2M, M2O, the Gorge paddle Challenge, ISA, and PPG all coming up before I go home in October. I will be doing other regional races at every opportunity that I get also, so it’s pretty full on and very exciting!
Which spots did you discover and enjoy during your travels?
I haven’t really discovered any new sports, but I am having a great time training with Anthony Vela and Candice Appleby at the Performance Paddling Academy in Southern California.
I am learning so much from them, and Candice is a great friend and training partner, so I am in the best place right now to prepare for the coming months!