Ian Black completed his first 56 Kilometre Cape Point Challenge at the age of 17 in 2001 with his brother (then 15) in a double surfski. From there on he was hooked on distance racing and after finishing school completed his first 220km Berg River Canoe Marathon. Most comfortable in a surfski, Ian progressed over the years to finish 2nd in the 2007 Cape Town Surfski Series.
Borys Markin came from the Ukraine, where he won a Bronze medal at the 2001 ICF World Championship in the K4. Borys currently resides in New Jersey where he mainly competes in the surf ski racing scene along the east coast in his SES Ultra. Borys won the 2011 East Coast Surf Ski Champs and was runner up to Reid Hyle in the 2013 East Coast Surf Ski Champs. Borys and Reid teamed up in the S2E Surf Ski for the 2013 US Surf Ski Champs earning 3rd place behind 2 elite crews (Jasper Mocke / Tom Norton & Cory Hill / Pat Dolan) as the first North American team to finish.
Mike Herbert is one of the most competitive paddlers in the US with the greatest of dispositions. Residing in Arkansas, Mike travels far afield in the South and Midwest, making his mark on distance and sprint events alike! We are excited to have Mike paddle our boats and he has many course records to his name with the SEL Ultra. This Mike will also be paddling our Apex 85 ICF K1, so watch out on those calm days
Joe Zellner is an ultra-marathon machine, competing across the country in long distance races upwards of 340miles, frequently over multiple days! Joe is from Northern Minnesota and competes in the S18R, finding it suitable for such events, with high top end speed, good stability for when fatigue is a factor and storage capabilities too. Joe has set many course records at these events, maintaining top end speeds over hundreds of miles that most would find challenging for a couple hours. We are also fortunate to have Joe as a dealer too - his knowledge from personal experience can be passed on to other paddlers in the community.
Nik is relatively new to the sport and was born and raised in Montana, where he joined the Marine Corps when he turned 18. He has excelled in local surf ski races as well as being the US Paracanoe representative at the 2013 World Championships. Nik is an above the knee amputee, crushed hip, and ruptured aorta, due to mechanical injuries sustained from a careless driver running a stop sign. In 2011, Nik met Chuck Conley, a Stellar Dealer, who helped him into a Stellar SR and rigged a single foot steering mechanism.
Beata was born and raised in the suburban of Budapest, Hungary. She started paddling when she was 10 years old at a local kayak club and fell in love with the sport right away, spending more time on the water than at her house! After 10 years of racing and earning many titles in Hungary, at age 20 she received an opportunity and decided to move to the United States. After many years of sacrificing and training she wanted to experience life in the USA and for a year or so, did not do any sports not even running.
Salli "DeadCat" O'Donnell is an accomplished endurance athlete and was the 1st woman to complete the Mountain Masochist 50-mile Trail Run 10 times garnering her the coveted "10 Time Finisher" Jacket. In 2012 she transitioned from running to kayaking, where her 1st race was the WaterTribe's North Carolina 90 mile Challenge where she was the class winner. She followed this up with another NC win in 2013 setting the record and becoming the only woman to finish the challenge in less than 24 hours completing the course in 21 hours 36 minutes.
Matt O'Garey (Australia)
Matt was introduced into a Sprint K1 at the age of 13 and have been passionate about paddling ever since. Sprint Canoeing went hand in hand with surf lifesaving, ski paddling and in recent years Ocean Ski Paddling. Matt was fortunate to grow up with family and close friends that shared this passion and were active in ski paddling, sprint canoeing and surf lifesaving. He was surrounded by coaches and peers that taught him about the disciplines of training, rewards of competing and the love of all things associated with paddling.
Greg Tobin (Australia)
Greg comes from a Surf Life Saving background where he specialized in the surf ski. He has achieved various junior and open men's state and national titles in life saving and have reached the Open men's ski final (Australia's premier paddling event) 3 times, placing 6th in 2009, 4th in 2011 then 2nd in 2012.
Sam Djodan (Australia)
Sam has been surrounded by the surf his whole life and began paddling surf skis at 15 for ironman racing. At the Australian surf titles he has medaled on surf ski in teams as well as individually. In 2013, Sam was selected to represent Australia at the ICF World Surf Ski Championships in Portugal, where he placed 9th in the Under 23's. After this experience, he has shifted his focus to ocean ski racing.