Blackfish Paddles welcome 15-year old Vaïc Garioud to their Team

Vaïc Garioud hails from New Caledonia and if his name sounds familiar that is because of his older brother Noïc Garioud. Vaïc is a very talented paddler, surfer, foiler and a true lover of all things water. Like Emily Evans who has just joined Blackfish Team, he has been using our paddles for a while but it is now time for us to support him as a young athlete and help him on his athletic journey,” said David Smart, Founder of Blackfish Paddles, a high-performance SUP paddle brand based in British Columbia, Canada. “Vaïc has a high level of energy and passion for all things water related, which makes him a perfect match for our team. We look forward to seeing what he can achieve and being taken along for the ride!” 

With ongoing support from the Blackfish team and some of the top pro riders in the world (check out the story for all the names!), the SUP future is bright for Vaïc Garioud. TotalSUP caught up with this up and coming young SUP athlete to chat about paddling hard every day for his dreams.

Hi Vaïc, congratulations on joining the Blackfish Team! How did you find the news?

Hi guys! I am soooo excited about joining the team! For me it feels like the launch of my future career in the SUP. Furthermore signing a contract with my favourite paddle brand is like a dream to me! I can’t believe I’m having a contract like a Pro-Rider!

I’m training hard every day before and after school. My family who has always supported me, told me that hard work pays off at some point. This is it!

How did you get into the sport of stand-up paddle boarding?

I have been paddling for around seven years. I first started by surfing at the age of 7 and I always wanted to follow the step of my older brother Noïc Garioud.  Following in distance all his races and travels around the world, I always wanted to do so. I guess he gave me his passion for sport and especially for stand-up paddling.  I am actually racing on SUNOVA boards as I have no board sponsors yet.

What is your most epic SUP experience to date?

I would say the Gorges Paddle Challenge in Hood River has been one of the most exciting experiences to date. Leaving my little French island in the pacific to go to one of the biggest Downwind race in the world with all my family, that was quite something. I even had the chance to do the race in the amateur division and that was 4 years ago, very epic! Now I’m more than ready to do it with the pro!

What’s your Blackfish set up?

I’m personally using Blackfish Salish 460 with the regular fixed shaft 29mm. I feel like it’s the perfect combo! The paddle is one of the lightest on the market, the shaft is stiff enough to have a nice transfer of energy but not too rigid so it doesn’t hurt the shoulders after long paddling sessions…Highly recommend it!

What’s your local SUP scene like?

New Caledonia is probably one of the best spots on Earth! We basically have all the conditions we want! From huge downwinders to flat water sessions, we can have it all! I mostly train on the flat every single morning before going to school, doing a downwind would take too much time. But I’m happy to do some longer runs in the weekends!


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A post shared by Vaïc Garioud (@vaicgarioud)

Who inspires you in the world of stand-up paddleboarding

I have to say my brother (Noïc Garioud) for sure! Hahaha. No to be honest I admire a lot of riders for their own abilities. Titouan Puyo (TI2) is obviously one of my favourites riders, he basically taught me how to paddle since the beginning and is still giving me a lot of advice. We even train together when he is home!


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A post shared by Noïc Garioud (@noic.garioud)

School, training, friends… How do you stay motivated to train and compete?

Yeah it’s true that it is not an easy thing to make all of it works. But I am super lucky to have family so much involved in my life project. I train with my father when Noïc is not here, I see friends at school and my mum helps me every evening with my homework. I’m very lucky that everybody supports me! And to be honest, when you are passionate about what your doing, it’s not a burden to do it!

How do you prepare for SUP racing competitions?

So essentially, I train every single morning before school with my brother and some other New Caledonian riders (Ben Leloup, Ben Rivière, David Anewy), and then I try to do a session in the afternoon if I don’t finish school too late. I also paddle va’a, which is the original Polynesian outrigger canoe, at least twice per week. It’s good to do something different from just SUP!

Could you share your top tips for aspiring SUP racers?

First…Do what you like! If it’s long-distance paddle racing, downwinding, or technical racing, then do it! You’ve got to enjoy it and have fun each time you’re on the water.

Secondly… The choice of your equipment. It got to fits you and what you want to do. So make sure you have the good board, and the good Blackfish Paddles combo!

Thirdly… Listen to your body! If you feel too tired to go out and train then rest! It is part of the training!

What are your professional SUP plans and dreams?

I take it step by step, but I have a lot of ideas in mind and hopefully one day a World Champion title! But for now I’m gonna stick to the plan and try to bring a medal back from the French Championships.

Thank you and good luck with the 2022 SUP season. We’ll be looking out for you!

See you on the starting line!

To find out more about Blackfish Paddles and their progressive, refined, handcrafted designs, visit

Explore Blackfish new fin range here 

Follow Vaïc Garioud on Instagram 

About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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