Hala Ambassadors

Check out our Facebook feed to see what we’ve been up to!

+ Paul Clark

Hometown: Bend, OR
Website: suppaul.com

+ What an amazing year it has been as a paddle boarder. River trips, Baja expedition, whitewater races, meeting awesome people, and working with brilliant brands.

+ I am a photographer and athlete, and the duffel bag paddle boarder, self-contained river expeditioner, backcountry paddling, and multi-day touring is my paddle boarding expertise.

+ I enjoying paddling the Deschutes and John Day rivers, I have hiked boards to glacial lakes in the Sisters Wilderness, and camped on alpine lakes inaccessible by other water craft.

+ Last winter I was the first person to solo paddle down the Sea of Cortez standing up between Santa Rosalia and La Paz.

+ I am an ambassador for Hala as well as Kialoa Paddles, Astral Designs, Sea to Summit, and Grape Solar.

+ John Blackshire

Hometown: Denver, CO

+ I have been like a fish to water since a young age. Over the years I have tubed, kayaked, and now SUPed rivers all over the United States. When I finally discovered SUP in 2007, I knew that this sport was going to be big!

+ My passion these days is racing on rivers and organizing events throughout Colorado to get others into the sport. Seeing a beginner smile as they discover the sport is one of the biggest thrills I get these days.

+ My favorite sections of the river to SUP are Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas, The Lower Blue, and Pumphouse on the Colorado. I enjoy traveling to Maui and running the Maliko Gulch run every year too!

+ Yodi Borg

Hometown: Edwards, CO

+ Love to paddle because I am happiest when I am in, on or near any body of water. The river makes you stay in the present at all times and paddleboarding is the perfect combination of kayaking, rafting and surfing.

+ Favorite water to paddle: Pumphouse to Rancho/ Gore Creek/ C Hole!!

+ Julie Circo

Hometown: Omaha, NE
Website: paddleyogacolorado.com

+ I fell in love with paddle boarding years ago, and then the yoga came on board. SUP Yoga blends my love for the outdoors, yoga and adventure all into one!  I’m so thankful to be able to share my passion of SUP Yoga with my students, then take them to the river and get them hooked on whitewater!

+ My favorite water to paddle: Anything with big waves that gets my adrenaline up! I love the Eagle River from Edwards to Wolcott! My favorite place to practice SUP Yoga is the Upper Colorado river. Beautiful and a great warm up before a run on the river.

+ Leslie Ross

Hometown: Breckenridge, CO
Website: Yoga Teacher and Studio Manager for Meta Yoga Studios

Wedding Officiant –  (Yes I will marry you on the water or in the mountains)

+ Even though I am an air sign – aquarian, I am a water girl at heart. My given Indian name – Sarita means the river which gives life. Adventurer.

+ Connecting back to my roots as a kayaker in my early 20’s, I am so excited to be back on the water. Early morning paddles on Lake Dillon have been amazing, super tranquil, relaxing and energizing. I am thrilled to be able to introduce so many people to SUP Yoga and adventures on a paddle board.

 

+ Andy O’Brien

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

+ I have been SUPing for 4 seasons now, while my other hobbies include skiing, nightlife and climbing.

+ Favorite water to paddle: hard whitewater, pool drops, any new water.

+ Matt Paula

Hometown: St. Augustine, FL

+ I have been surfing ever since I can remember. Now a resident of Gypsym, Colorado, I work as an instructor at Lakoda Guides.

+ My favorite place to paddle is the Colorado River or the Arkansas River, any whitewater!

+ Nadia Almuti

Hometown: Grand Junction, CO
Website: canisurfthat.squarespace.com

+ Favorite Hala Boards: I love the Atcha for big or technical water. The Peño is great for easier whitewater and surfing and the Nass is super fast and great for racing, whether on the lake or ocean.

+ The river has been a second home to me for 12 years now. I became part of the whitewater world when I started working on the New and Gauley Rivers as a raft guide. From there I got into kayaking and found my way to stand up paddle boarding. It seemed as though I found the sport that encompassed all the things I love.  It gives me freedom and allows me to explore and see the river in a new way, taking me places I would have never dreamed of. Itʼs a sport that is so new and unique, itʼs constantly evolving and Iʼm so excited to be part of it and meet more people that share my passion for the sport. Now, I compete, paddle class III – IV rapids, and surf.

+ Ryan McCombs

Hometown: Euless, TX
Website: www.woodrowsmediashed.com

+ I am new to surfing but I have been paddle boarding on the river for the last 4 years. I have been a rafting guide for 9 seasons in a few different places.

+ I have a deep regard for paddle boarding because it is something that is easy to share and generally takes you to a beautiful place. I have yet to have a bad time on the river and I am looking forward to taking Hala boards to other countries. Next stop Ecuador.

 

+ Jeremiah Williams

Hometown: Rowlett, TX

+ My promising career began in hydrology based tourism with an emphasis on the transport of heavy cargo. The majority of my work has been out of Edwards, CO with Lakota River Guides.  Since I got my start pushing rubber 8 years ago I have been drawn to the water, looking for any opportunity to be on the river. About 3 years ago I got into paddle boarding and was instantly hooked.

+Some of my favorite places to paddle are Gore Creek, Shoshone, the Glenwood wave, and anywhere I can beat the local weatherman in a race.

     

 

+ Camille Swan

+ I have been playing on rivers since I was a child, accompanying my father on fishing trips in canoes and drift boats. Eventually we both got into running rivers on rafts and have since rafted many sections of whitewater all over Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.

+ When I’m not on river trips, I do a sport called equestrian vaulting, where I perform gymnastics and dance on the backs of running horses. Before I knew about paddle boarding, I would often attempt to stand on rafts during rapids, or even do tricks on the rafts. I discovered stand up paddle boarding when I was a rafting guide on the Provo River in 2011. I knew that it was going to be the perfect sport for me because SUP combines balance, rivers, and athleticism.

+ I moved to Denver in 2014 and have been enjoying every chance I get to experience Colorado whitewater! I also teach paddle boarding, personal train, and rock climb.

+ This year I have competed at the Golden Games, and will be competing at the Yampa Cup, and GoPro Games. So far that’s all the races I have planned, but I know I will do more.

+ In July, I will be backpacking in the Uinta Mountain Range in Utah for a week. We are bringing pack-goats for my dad’s fishing float tube, and I am highly considering bringing a Hala Peño along.

+ I will be paddle boarding Hell’s Canyon in early August. This is a permitted multi-day trip in Idaho and I will be the only paddle boarder with a bunch of rafts.

+ Also, I am working with John Blackshire to produce the Hala Rocky Mountain Luaus! It should be really great for introducing paddle boarding to a lot of people who don’t even realize all the cool places there are to paddle right in downtown Denver.

 

 

+ Ashley Bean

Hometown: Carbondale, CO

+ I’m a ski patroller at Aspen Snowmass, and whitewater Stand Up Paddleboarding is the perfect complement to skiing. It’s physically intense, gets the adrenalin surging, forces you to constantly improve your balance, and keeps your feet conditioned for being cold all year round!

+ SUP is also really important part of my life because my SUP people are my family. Each spring we reunite, laugh, camp, brush our teeth together, race, lend each other food and equipment and money for race fees, and just take care of one another. Creedence said it best: “People on the river are happy to give.”

+ My favorite sections to run the river are Fractions on the Arkansas, Shoshone on the Colorado, Toothache on the Roaring Fork.

 

+ Melanie Seiler

Website: www.nrgsuprace.com

+ I was born to a family that grew up on the banks of the Youghegeny River in PA and boated the tri-state area, but I was raised with my toes in the New and Gauley Rivers.

+ This is my 19th year raft guiding and many years stand up paddle boarding. I focus my time on introducing the sport to first timers through youth outdoor clubs, high school SUP teams, hosting area demo days and an annual down river race.

+ My favorite aspect of SUP is the surf! I am ACA Level 3 certified and the WV State Director for ACA. My new job as Executive Director of Active Southern WV allows many opportunities to introduce people to adventure sports including SUP. I am constantly passionate about the benefits of paddle boarding.

+ Rick Powell

+ I first started paddling after my parents joined a local paddling club in Pennsylvania when I was very young.  Once they started going on paddling trips, it wasn’t too long after that I went along with them.  In the beginning, I kayaked mostly recreationally.  I paddled on many rivers along the East coast.  When I got a little older, I started racing canoe slalom, in which athletes have to negotiate gates on a whitewater river as quickly as possible.  I have been doing this sport for sixteen years now.

+ I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2009 and have been training and working as a kayak instructor at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.  It was there that I first tried paddle boarding.  I started out on flat water, but soon found that paddling on whitewater was the way to go.  Paddle boarding, for me, turned even the simplest whitewater into class V.  That is what made paddle boards so interesting to me: the challenge.  They are also a unique way of experiencing whitewater.  Running a river in a kayak means you are low to the water, while with paddle boarding, you can have a much better view of your surroundings.

+ I am especially excited to doing some SUP racing.  I have done a few races since getting into paddle boarding and had tons of fun.  I’m planning on doing plenty more racing, so if I am there, bring your A-game!

+ Jack Nelson

Hometown: Bristol, TN

+ I have been paddling since I was very young. My father would take me and my brother on downriver trips in our canoe. I started whitewater kayaking 5 years ago.   I am a confident class 4 boater. I have been paddle boarding for 3 years now in flat and whitewater class 3/4 conditions.

+ I have been paddling competitively for 2 years. The past 3 years have been dedicated to paddle boarding after I began managing TRISUP and got hooked on paddle boarding.

+ My goal is to continue to push the sports limit in whitewater and be competitive with the elite level in flat water. I have enjoyed sharing my skills with others during lessons and demos. I want to be able to bring the best products to my paddling community. I love my Hala Playa for a downriver race or afternoon cruise.

+ Matt Buckley

+ I have been a river guide and private boater for 11 years now. I’ve tried my hand at rafting, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, pretty much anything that floats. I first tried SUP about 6 years ago, but I was still very much into rafting at the time.

+ It was in the summer of 2012 that I fell for SUP. I was working for a multi-day rafting outfitter and had a week off. I rented a board and packed backpacking style for 6 days. I ran from the Flaming Gorge dam to the Gates of Lodore put in. It was on.

+ Now I work 6 days a week as a whitewater SUP instructor at Stand Up Paddle Colorado. I am a level 3 ACA certified SUP instructor. I take time off to compete locally at GoPro games, FIBArk, and Gore Fest. On my one day off a week, I can be found pushing my limits on one of Colorado’s many whitewater rivers. I have become passionate about teaching, and get the opportunity to work with youth camps, and non-profits from across the state.

+ SUP has been life changing for me, and now I get to share that with others.