Mention Annabel Anderson‘s name to anyone following the sport of standup paddleboarding and they will immediately identify her as the best female SUP athlete in the world. And rightfully so, as she continues to reign supreme in the most competitive SUP events globally, the latest being the Carolina Cup where we witnessed her effortlessly cross the finish line, board and paddle in hand, like she didn’t just do a 13.2 mile ocean and flatwater race.
Although she was an athlete growing up, it was never in her plans to be a competitive paddler. She will tell you herself, “I’m probably the poster child for being “the one that didn’t grow up surfing or in the ocean”, but I have always had an affinity [for] water. I didn’t surf a wave until I paddled a board, and it was likely a horrific sight to behold! But there is something about riding a wave that is incredibly addictive and I always wanted to surf. It provided the perfect excuse to do so.”
This New Zealand native recalled how it all began for her, “I got into the sport accidentally when I was living in London. I took a random trip to Germany, entered a race and the rest is history–although I don’t think I’d recommend this approach! Sometimes, life gives you a fork in the road, and this direction led me to the path I am currently on.”
Today, she travels the world to teach, coach and compete as a teamrider for Lahui Kai, showing her awesomeness off and on the board and inspiring others to take up the sport. When not on water, this all-around fitness powerhouse spends time exploring the great outdoors on a mountain bike or her favorite pair of trail running shoes, getting into things that feed her adventurous spirit.
While Annabel is an inspiration to other women, what inspires an athlete like Annabel? “I am driven by the things I like to do. For me, that is being outside and enjoying the best of whatever may happen to be on my doorstep. This is not just paddling, but a lot of different things.”
She continued, “I love the process and feeling of learning and perfecting [the] skills that allow you to do something better, or do things you couldn’t do before. I’m constantly being humbled by this process and it keeps me coming back for more. There is always something [that you] can do better or get better at. The learning never stops. The lessons I learn doing other things make me a better athlete when I pick up a paddle.”
Annabel is involved in many upcoming events, projects and product development that will continue to promote this water sport which will unfold in the next couple of months. Stay in the know and see this beautiful Kiwi in action by following her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.