Welcome to the Team Reta
We’re excited to announce and welcome Reta Boychuck to the 2019 Badfish team! Reta lives in Nelson, British Columbia and is setting the stage for stand up paddling in her area. When you meet Reta you will never forget her, she has a ton of spunk with an infectious energy and passion for stand up paddling. She shares her love for the sport of stand up through her many lessons and clinics she leads throughout the season. Her inclusive attitude is what drew us to her and what makes us really excited to have her as part of the team.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I just turned 30 and I have made the full commitment to owning and operating RETA SUPS River Education Training Adventure for SUPS. A business that helps paddling shops get introduced to and grow a river sup community, by leading clinics, courses and river retreats. I’ve always been a bundle of energy that can only be calmed by the water and I fell in love with SUP when I realized I was always free: to move my feet, to jump in and swim, to challenge myself and to be me.
Why did you gravitate towards SUP instead of whitewater kayaking?
I started as a river kayaker and after three years of paddling and getting really strong at my braces, while forgetting about my roll, I ended up flipping over in a shallow rocky section and had a really bad swim. The next year I didn’t go on the river at all and there was something missing from my soul. I started flat water paddling on a sup because I was a personal trainer and I really wanted to start a sup fit program. It felt like a natural way of being free. Knowing that the river was what was missing I decided to start taking my stand up paddle board down the river with my kayaking friends.The day that I paddled the Kananaskis River in 2015 with Brittany Parker and fellow standup paddle boarders I knew this is what I would do forever.
Canada is full of beautiful places to paddle! Where is your favorite place to paddle in Canada and why?
My Favorite place to paddle is the Kootenay’s, where I started white water paddling. there is something to do all year-round and for every level. The Trail surf wave comes and goes depending on flows, the Slocan river can be the place to learn or the place to push yourself. As long as I’m dressed for the temps, I can paddle.
Tell us a little bit about Women Wild and Free and why you think women’s specific platforms and initiatives are important?
The Women Wild and Free project is about a team of strong and empowering women coming together in support of accomplishing personal goals while tackling a common objective. We will paddle the sacred watershed of the Skeena River from source to sea, 570 km over 20 days, with the intention of completing the first SUP descent. We hope to find new river surf waves that have never been touched by a surfboard before while documenting the whole experience. We are dedicated to protecting wild running rivers, and raising awareness about how these rivers support wildlife and ecosystems.
This project will also be used as a platform to bring women together to create connections within themselves, each other, and the natural environment. In doing this, we will be fostering the growth of stronger connections and networks between the communities and Indigenous populations whom reside along these scared river banks. We are working together with the Skeena River Conservation Coalition to generate awareness through the Women on Water initiative to educate their future leaders and support the natural state of the entire watershed. We aim to connect with women along the Skeena waterway and throughout British Columbia leading up to the expedition in an effort to strengthen female connections through river adventure. We believe we can create a wave of stoke that captures the adventurous spirit of women to seek the wild and free.
Our expedition will showcase when women support each other and work together it is possible to overcome anything.
What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned from stand up paddling?
It’s ok to be vulnerable, speak your truth. Also, be nice when your hungry!
What are you most excited about this season?
I am the most excited for the growth of the community. In 2018 I met and taught more river paddlers in Canada than ever before and I am hoping to keep the growth going. I’ve already welcomed and taught 3 new river surfing gals to slay the Trail wave. Reta Sups and the Women Wild and Free are building a wave of stoke and I can’t wait to Surf it!
What do you love about teaching?
The moments that your student looks at you and you know they got it! I’m the wizard of words and I can explain to you why you do that skill and how it should feel. When my students become my paddling buddies I have done my job and the community grows.
The stoke that Brittany had that first day we paddled together in 2015 is the reason I came down in 2016 to compete in Colorado and learn to surf more waves. Everyone from Badfish has always shown love and support for this loud Canadian and made me feel at home. I have tried a lot of boards but I love the way the Badfish boards feel and never limit my progression whether downriver or surfing. The inspiration and connection to community that the Badfish crew has made me feel is one that I want to embody as I work hard to get more River paddlers in Canada and embark on the journey to the Skeena River.
You can learn more about Reta’s upcoming adventures as well as instructional offerings on her website www.retasups.com as well as following her on Instagram at @retasups