Beyond the board: Elaine Campbell

Beyond the board: Elaine Campbell

November 30, 2020

BEYOND THE BOARD: AN INTERVIEW WITH ELAINE CAMPBELL

We managed to peel Elaine Campbell, Pau Hana's technical support guru and operations coordinator away from the computer for a short interview about her competitive drive, stoke for watersports, and love for her animals (and Jeff). Elaine has been an integral part of the Pau Hana team for years and is well known in the kayaking community for her talent on the water and the chill vibe off the water.

Elaine Campbell professional white water kayaker and SUP paddleboard athlete

LOCATION:

Vermont

Elaine Campbell professional freestyle kayaking

What's your story?

I’ve been competing in white water kayaking for 13 years now and have made 5 US Kayak teams in Freestyle, Squirt, and Wildwater. I spend my winters in Southern Vermont snowboarding and nordic skiing and spend my Spring in a Sprinter RV traveling throughout the US and Canada on Paddling, Fly-Fishing, and Skiing adventures. Summers are spent on the Eastern Shore of Lake Ontario, SUPing and fly-fishing on the lake and paddling nearby on the Black River or traveling up to Canada to paddle.

I’ve been married for 15 years to Jeff and we have a rescue cat Laya who is about 17 years old and a recently rescued puppy named Bow. This past August we lost our dog Brook who lived an amazing life she passed away at 14 years old. I’m the Operations Coordinator and Pro Staff (customer service/tech support) at Pau Hana Surf Supply, a job I love doing from home, the RV, or the Lake.

Elaine Campbell fishing from the pau hana oahu nui paddleboard

How long have you been paddle boarding for?

In 2011 I was competing in WW events at the Reno River Fest in Nevada where Pau Hana was demoing their boards and competing. Todd, the owner, asked if I’d like to try a paddleboard and I said “Sure!” I had some amazing beginners luck and really made it look like I knew what I was doing, causing Todd to say “Whoa! Excellent” and talked me into competing in the SUP Slalom. Once in the competition, my beginner's luck immediately ran out and I was outed for the true freshman that I actually was on a SUP: I swam basically the whole competition, which had my husband/event announcer pissing himself laughing to all of downtown Reno. Not sure if Todd wasn’t watching or what but he asked me to join the team anyway, I’ve been a Pau Hana Team member ever since!

Elaine Campbell tackling whitewater on an inflatable paddleboard

As a Pau Hana employee we know you work super hard, how do you balance work and play to make the most of your time?

It was tough at first when I started full time only because I took on a brand new role and had a lot to learn. Once, I got in the groove I was able to prioritize my time between work and play. Get my work done and then I earn my time outside. Luckily, I live super close to the water and when I’m traveling I’m always near water so I never have to go far to get outside and paddle.

What is it that you enjoy the most about SUP?

I love how quiet and peaceful it is. No matter if I’m paddling in whitewater, fly-fishing on my board, or paddling my race board I just always feel so relaxed and calm when I’m on my board.

Who are your sporting heroes on or off the water?

My sporting heroes are pretty much anyone who is doing what they love and living their life to the fullest.

Favourite place you have paddleboarded and why?

I’ve paddled in a lot of places all over the country and in Canada. Hawaii may be on the top of my list though. It felt like I was in a different world paddling there. The scenery is unreal and I can’t wait to go back.

Elaine Campbell catching fish from a paddleboard

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS TIME?

I’ll be 50, yikes! I think I’ll still be paddling at a high level for a 50-year-old woman in whitewater kayaking and SUPing. My goal is to stay strong and keep on pushing myself as a paddler and fly-fisher.

Quick fire round

FAVORITE FOOD: Donuts

FAVORITE DRINK: Seltzer

FAVOURITE MUSIC: Alternative Folk

FAVOURITE PADDLEBOARD: Cadence 12’6”

CHECK OUT OUR GALLERY

paddleboarding in barbuda over blue seas
catching waves on a paddleboard in hawaii
paddleboarding over clear waters in barbuda
paddleboarding on lake rotoiti in new zealand
paddling through mangroves in barbuda
tropical waters of hawaii are great for paddleboarding

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