‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better,‘ to WIN. Some of the most resonating stories in sport are those about reaching through fire to achieve what you want, that ‘ultimate’ goal that has kept slipping away. “It’s been a really long time coming, like 13 years,” says SUNOVA Team Rider and an ocean athlete Andrew Cassidy who has just bagged that “elusive Championship title.”
TotalSUP caught up with Andrew, a prolific SUP surfer and foiler, to chat about his Australian SUP Titles journey and what it takes to win eventually.
Hi Andrew welcome to TotalSUP! Let’s get straight into it: Massive congratulations on the Australian SUP Title! What does it mean to you and what’s the story behind it?
Wow, thanks – Yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself to be honest. It’s been a really long time coming, like 13 years. I’ve been to every single Australian SUP Titles since they started in 2009 – but never had a win. I got a couple of really close second place results over the years but never that elusive championship title.
How did you get into the sport of stand-up paddleboarding?
My dad was a keen surfer and got me out in the waves from a very early age. I’ve been through most of the disciplines – body boarding, Coolite surfboards, fibreglass surfboards, longboards, windsurfers, a bit of kite surfing, longboard SUPs, surf SUPs, a bit of race SUPing, foil SUPs and finally wing foiling. I guess I just love being out in the ocean.
My SUP passion started on one of those clean, small Winter days back in 2008. I had a day off work and wanted to hit the surf but it was even too small for my 5’8” fish. I’d seen some guys stand-up paddleboarding in Hawaii a few months before and it looked like fun … on the right day. I went down to my local surf shop and they had a special on 11ft Oxbows. I couldn’t say no. The rest, as they say, is history – I was addicted.
Where do you usually train and what’s your local SUP scene like?
I do most of my water activities on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with the occasional trip up or down the East coast of Australia. There’s a great SUP scene at home with what I’d say would be the strongest SUP club in Australia and probably the world. The SUP surf scene has dwindled a bit over the last couple of years – with a lot of crews going back to shortboarding or getting into foiling. I still love a SUP surf on the right day though.
What makes SUP athletes claim top titles? Let’s hear about the grit, sweat and perseverance…
Well there’s the perseverance – 13 years! In that time you get to experience a lot of different strategy scenarios playing out which you can learn from for next time. As far as grit and sweat goes – I suppose that comes down to a pretty rigorous training regime leading up to an event. I find that lots of practice in bad conditions can help – because that seems to be what we get for a lot of our comps and if the surf does happen to turn on for the event, well that’s fine too because it’s easy to surf in great waves.
Could you tell us more about your collaboration with SUNOVA?
A few years back SUNOVA asked me to be an ambassador for them. I’m not sure why they asked me but I guess I’m an older bloke that a lot of their customers can relate to. It’s great having young rippers on the team but those guys are just in another league to the average Joe or Joanne. SUNOVA are great to me – They send me boards to try out and I’ve been on a few dealer and team trips with them which are super fun. I’ve been over to their factory in Thailand to see the production process and meet the team from around the world – that was amazing.
What’s your SUNOVA board set up?
I normally ride my 7’11” Speeed, 10’0” Style or 6’0” Aviator and then pull out my 7’10” Flow, 12’0” Search, 8’6” Steeze, 9’5” Insane, 6’4” Aviator or 14’0” Torpedo when I feel like mixing things up. I’m pretty lucky to have that quiver at my fingertips and they all go so well in their target conditions.
What’s next? What’s in your SUP racing/competition pipeline?
Now that the Aussie Titles are over, I can get back into foiling and some fun board SUP surfing with less emphasis on high performance comp surfing. Although we do have our regular Sydney Paddle Surfing Club comps starting up for the summer which are always heaps of fun and then there’s the Shellharbour SUP Festival, Merimbula Classic, Longboard SUP Cosmic Experience, Port Stephens SUP Challenge and Scotts Head Paddle Games on the 2022-2023 calendar too!
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and good luck with your next SUP endeavour!
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