Today, TotalSUP is catching up with Bernd Roediger, a born windsurfer and one of the most promising SUP racers and SUP surfers in the world. The Naish / Quicksilver rider, who currently ranks 16th in the world in SUP racing offers us some insight into his lifestyle, his journeys and his undying passion for SUP.
Hello Bernd, can you introduce yourself to the people who don’t know who you are?
Bernd Roediger: Ok! Hi I’m Bernd Roediger, I’m 20 years old, and I live in Maui, Hawaii. I started windsurfing when I was seven, and from there I grew up with a passion for being in the ocean. Didn’t really matter how I was surfing, just that I was out there on some kind of board. Windsurfing, surfing, paddleboarding, for me it was all correlated and connected, all different ways of satisfying the same addiction.
Can you remind us your achievements in Windsurfing, SUP surfing and SUP racing?
Bernd Roediger: Yes, well I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy 13 years of windsurfing, surfing, and paddling, traveling all over the world! I’m extremely excited with my results in racing and surfing, it’s an honor to compete amongst the best in the world. This season, I made the finals at the Sunset Beach Pro, and later took 2nd at the Gorge Paddle Challenge downwind race. However, over 13 years, I’ve done a lot of competitions. I’ve been on the Stand Up World Tour for a few years, racing in the Battle of the Paddle since age 12, taken 1st in windsurf championships! I’m proud of these results, but I feel like there’s something else that I put more value into, that more accurately projects the course of my life. My dream has always been to travel, to explore the world, to experience cultures. To travel wherever I can, however I can, it doesn’t matter whether it’s for a competition or a travel story, or just for fun, the places I go to are the trophies I collect. This year, I got to go to Barbados with Fiona and my dad, staying with Brian Talma at his “deAction Beach House”. There I wrote and published my own travel story, I can actually say that my job is traveling! My biggest personal achievement this year? Filming in Australia with Fiona and Kai Bates, you can check those videos out on my Vimeo account. If life is really about doing what you enjoy, about pursuing happiness, then I feel I have an amazing life. I am so lucky to be in the position to chase my dreams around the world!
You finished 2nd behind Connor Baxter at the Gorge. Was it a surprise for you? What do you think gave you the edge over a stacked field of world class racers?
Bernd Roediger: I was very surprised! Haha, I don’t think anybody could have expected me to do so well, even my friends and family! But, I had a hope, that I could use the wind, and the currents of the river, and my knowledge of water, to be competitive. Competition, for me, is a chance to challenge myself against the best in the world. It’s personal, if I don’t do well, I know I can only change my own paddling, I can’t control what other competitors are going to do. So, I tried not to think about how strong these guys are, tried not to think about my past results in racing, and just focus on the moment, on the wind and water.
You spend a lot of time in Hood river. Can you tell us what makes it such a special place for you?
Bernd Roediger: The Gorge has always been a special place for me. That’s where I spent my first windsurf trip, with my parents. I was nine years old, and I had never even heard of windsurfing in a river! The wind there is intense, and you can feel the mountains come to life in the morning, as the wind pours through the valley. I have been enchanted with Hood River since that first trip, and for the past 10 years, I’ve been trying to go back as often as I can. In Oregon, I met my best friend, the most beautiful aspect of my life, Fiona Wylde. She has only helped to grow my love for the Gorge, and now we share time between my home in the Winter and Fiona’s home in the Gorge in the Summer!
“It’s crazy to think that I’m in the top 20, in the world, of professional racers!”
You currently rank 16th in the world (source: SUP racer) with just a few races accounted for. Why don’t you SUP race more? What does your SUP race calendar look like in 2017?
Bernd Roediger: Ha! It’s crazy to think that I’m in the top 20, in the world, of professional racers! I feel honored to be counted among them, but my strength is purely in the downwind courses this year. Growing up on Maui, we have wind almost everyday in the Summer, and absolutely no waves! So we downwind paddle to substitute for surfing, and I practice catching glides for hours everyday! I’ve taken top positions in the 12’6” and 14’ board classes on Maui many times. My goal for 2017 is to become faster in flat water, to be more competitive in course racing and long distance.
What are your main objectives SUP surf wise?
Bernd Roediger: Well, this year, after only one event counting for the Stand Up World Tour, I’m in 4th in the world! It’s kind of funny, but I’m hoping for more events to showcase my training in 2017! Aside from competition, I’ve found my passion in filming and trailing to surf. I want to pursue that passion, as I feel more drive to excel in front of a camera than I do in competition! Ultimately, I want to continue having fun, and exploring the many sensations of surfing with my friends!
Who are your main sponsors?
Bernd Roediger: Naish has been amazing support this year, they sent me around the world on an epic tour, from Japan to Australia, to Mexico, China, Italy, and all over the U.S.! Robby Naish, and the Naish Team Manager, Michi Schweiger, have also been incredible mentors, helping me craft my future, and better shape my career! I can’t thank them enough! Quiksilver is also a major brand to be riding for, I’m extremely proud to represent them. And of course, Maui Fin Company, who I have been riding with since I was about 10 years old, Pio Marasco is a genius with fins! Dakine, whom have given me enough product to fill an entire store, thank you all! And a huge thank you to my parents, Norm and Claudine Roediger, for being my original sponsors, the people who have been supporting and guiding me from birth!
Any tips, advice, words of wisdom for SUPers?
Bernd Roediger: Stand up paddling is such a beautiful and unique sport. We all come from different backgrounds, windsurfing, surfing, kiting, canoe paddling, so many different people coming from different walks of life to create a sport! We all seek a new sensation, aside from our own sports that we have been practicing for years. I see that SUP can embody the best qualities from our sports, the freedom of windsurfing, the radical style of surfing, the inclusive sharing community of canoe paddling, we can be the best Waterman! We have to remember to include all those who participate in SUP, from those who paddle in lakes in Europe, to the surfers in Hawaii. Let’s celebrate all paddlers, and share in this amazing experience, floating and flying, on the surface of the water!
Find out more about Bernd Roediger on Instagram!