Rea Logotheti and Union Paddlers: The Winning Combination

As she transitions from the junior category to the Open women’s category, Greek SUP Racer and 2023 ICF Junior Sprint World Champion, Rea Logotheti shares with TotalSUP her incredible journey from a young Taekwondo enthusiast to a world-class SUP racer. Recently, she clinched two new Greek national titles in both Sprints and Technical Race. Additionally, Rea had the honor of being an Olympic flame bearer. A significant part of her success, especially in  Thailand at the ICF SUP Worlds, can be attributed to her partnership with Union Paddlers. Managed by Sprint bronze medallist and international coach Andrey Kraytor, Union Paddlers’ long-term gear rental service has been instrumental in Rea’s achievements. This service has allowed her to access top-notch equipment without the financial burden of purchasing expensive gear and the logistical challenges of traveling with it to events worldwide. Discover how this innovative support system combined with her relentless determination propelled Rea to the pinnacle of her sport, and learn more about her life and lifestyle at home in Greece.

Congratulations on your impressive win as the 2023 Junior Women’s World Champion in 200m Sprints! Can you share with us the journey that led you to this incredible achievement?

Thank you very much Mathieu! Well, from the age of five, I remember myself in sports. I started Taekwondo at a very young age and have done so for many years until 2020.

During these years, I participated in many competitions and I stopped Taekwondo with two DANs.

In 2020, I tried SUP for the first time at an event organized by my Taekwondo coach with my current SUP coach Stelios Moustakalis, who is responsible in northern Greece for the development of the sport of SUP.

My coaches knew each other through Taekwondo since my coach Stelios also has a Taekwondo school in Thessaloniki. I met Stelios and he talked me into the sport of SUP. He asked me if I would be interested in starting SUP, and I bought my first board.

The first year I started paddling, it was like a hobby for me because at that time I was playing soccer and basketball.

From 2021, I started to take it more seriously. I competed in my first race in Greece in the National Championship. I competed in the Junior Women’s category and I came in second in Technical and Sprint.

In the next year, I got stronger because I was paddling more and started going to the gym. At the National Championship of 2022, I competed in both the Junior Women’s and Women’s categories to see how I would do. I came first in Sprints and Technical in both categories, and from that moment I wanted to train more to be able to compete in more races.

In 2022, I started going to races abroad besides the World Championships, but obviously, it is not very easy without sponsors.

The World Championship in Pattaya was my third year in the Junior Women’s category and obviously, it was a better performance than last year’s World Championships in Poland.

How did it feel to be crowned Junior World Champion in Thailand?

Truth be told, I did a lot of training before Thailand and my goal was the podium, but I was surprised that I was crowned world champion in sprints because I was not training enough. When we finished the race, I could not believe what had happened and I was in shock for 20 minutes afterwards. I was very happy because it was my last year in the Junior Women’s category, so it was my last chance to get a World title before I went to the open Women’s category. It was a good performance for me but also from the other women competitors, they were very close to me and every year the level gets higher and the competitors are getting stronger.

We’ve seen you on Starboard and SUNOVA boards, but you’re not sponsored by any of those brands. Instead, you’ve been supported by Union Paddlers, the high-performance board rental service managed by Andrey Kraytor. How has your partnership with Union Paddlers influenced your training and performance as a competitive SUP racer all the way to your world title last year?

This is the second year that I am sponsored by Union Paddlers and I am very satisfied with it. I have no commitment from any company to use specific boards. The support I have from Andrey allows me to have the boards needed for the races here in Greece and abroad when I am travelling to an event.

This long-term partnership gives me the necessary motivation to maximize my training efforts and my performance since I do not have to worry about my equipment.

Could you explain what Union Paddlers do for you exactly? 

Union Paddlers offers a series of services. The first one is to rent a board or a paddle for a single event and get it delivered at the event. If you want to compete in many of the races on a circuit like the Eurotour or the ICF circuit, you can rent for a bulk series of events with a better offer. The third service that I am using is the long-term rental, which allows you to rent a board at your hometown spot to train and rent the same board (or another one!) for the races you need.

What drove you to use this service in the first place?

One of my main problems when I am competing abroad is the transportation of my board. So when I discovered I could rent boards for races without having the issue of transportation, my main problem was solved. In addition, I could have all the newest models and different boards and brands in every race according to the weather conditions.

What boards did you pick for your season?

Last year I won the world title on a Starboard All Star. At the end of last year, my coach brought a few SUNOVA boards in our club and I tried the flatwater Faast Pro 14 x 20. I saw it was light and fast in sprints so I tried it in turns and after a few trainings I decided that it was a keeper. Union Paddlers also allowed me to pick a 2nd board, I chose the SUNOVA All Water 14 x 22 for the waves and choppy conditions.

Can you tell us about your life at home, where you live, your lifestyle, your studies/job, family, and what is your typical SUP race training routine?

My home is in Kavala, a small city in Northern Greece by the open sea, but I am not living there anymore because of my studies at university.

This year is my first year where I study Physical Education & Sports Science in Thessaloniki, where I am living by myself.

My team AETOS is in Thessaloniki fortunately, and we train all together almost every day. I go to the gym and for cardio, I run or I do indoor rowing.

In Thessaloniki, life is more difficult because it is a big city with long distances and I spend a lot of time getting to the training center or to the university, so my everyday program is very strict.

After my studies, I would like to return to my hometown to create a club and to be able to develop sea sports (SUP, Windsurf, Surf, etc.) in my city since it is an ideal place because we have quick and easy access to unique beaches.

This year, you’re not a Junior anymore. How do you approach this new step in your career as an athlete?

I will set new goals in my new category. I will keep paddling, doing my best to get stronger, to be able to catch up with the Women’s category. So 2024 will be a challenging year for me.

What are your main objectives this year, and where are we going to see you race?

As I have mentioned before, my first year in the Women’s category is most likely a year where I will find my footing. I need to test myself, test the category, train well, and attain a sponsorship plan for 2025. I have already started the season with my first race in Italy, Spring SUP Race. Last week we had the National Championship here in Greece in Crete, which was very important for us because from this race we entered the National team. I will continue to compete abroad with the competition in Slovenia, Adria SUP Challenge, and afterwards the European Championship in Hungary, our ICF World Cup Agios on SUP is here in Greece and after that the ICF World Championship in the USA.

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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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