Andrew is a seasoned leader, marketing entrepreneur, brand builder and skilled event manager. Since the mid nineties Andrew and his wife Lori have owned and operated Elite Designs – a brand management and promotional printing company specializing in eco based promotional products for the Action Sports and SUP Industries. After surfing for 20 plus years Andrew started SUP surfing around 2005 when he saw a picture of Laird in Surfer Magazine.
In 2006 Andrew was elected as the Executive Director when he founded the SeaPaddleNYC paddle around Manhattan. During his tenure he help raise over $1,600,000 for Autism and Environmental Causes. Andrew has since co-founded 100 Mile Paddle – a first of its kind long distance adventure race. Andrew relocated from New Jersey four years ago and now calls North County San Diego home. He can be seen SUP surfing at Cardiff Reef or attending races with his two groms Trevor and Gavin.
“It’s an honor to serve on the board with members who are recognized and respected throughout our young industry. The opportunity to have a cohesive organization that represents SUP within the industry and outside the industry will further grow our sport and our message. SUP is a multifaceted growing sport very much like the bicycling. The diversity of how and where we Stand Up Paddle allows both the beginner and the most elite athletes to participate in this sport.”
Most locals know the SUP Shack in the Santa Cruz Harbor, as it has become a go-to spot since it opened in 2011. Stand-up paddle boards or SUP are a great way to experience the waters of Santa Cruz.
Owner and founder of the SUP Shack, Trudie Ransom has been drawn toward these boards since she first tried one.
As a teenager Trudie wanted to be a marine biologist which was discouraged so she has spent her life chasing the ocean – growing up sailing in England, diving on the Great Barrier Reef, White water rafting in New Zealand, river-trekking in Thailand and stand up paddling in California with the sea otters, sea lions, dolphins and whales… she finally found her spot in Santa Cruz.
It was a trip to Hanalei, Kauai, that really got the Trudie hooked on paddle boarding. After falling in love with the sport, she realized there was a business opportunity waiting at home in Santa Cruz.
An entrepreneur at heart, Trudie returned to Santa Cruz and found a kiosk at the Santa Cruz Harbor where she could offer SUP to everyone. She started with just 6 SUPs, a couple of wetsuits, a Groupon customer database and a passion for getting everyone to paddle.
After pounding the pavement, working hard, and not giving up, Trudie opened the SUP Shack in the heart of Santa Cruz in 2011. Since then, Trudie’s mission has been to create the best and safest environment for teaching stand up paddling to everyone.
Kristin Thomas may be better known as a regular on the SUP race and event scene, but with her role as Executive Director of SUP Industry Association she has the opportunity to share her passion for Stand Up Paddling to a whole different segment of SUP.
With a background in non-profits, a big picture perspective and a belief in the cause, Kristin hopes she can continue to facilitate & encourage board leadership and then enable the companies to creating an organization that will not only help each individual businesses succeed, but ensure the positive, sustainable growth of Stand Up Paddleboarding Industry.
Jordan Lapekas is the Owner/Co-Founder of Lake Powell Paddleboards in Page, AZ; the only full-service Stand-up Paddleboard shop in Northern Arizona. Their shop offers sales, rentals, and guided tours. She and her husband also own a national graphics business called TruckSkin, founded in 2000. Jordan grew up in Del Mar, CA and graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Jordan started paddleboarding in 2009. Jordan and her husband Joe founded Lake Powell Paddleboards in April of 2013. With backgrounds in surf, skate, snowboarding, and sailboat racing they found their perfect sport: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and decided to open their own shop at one of the world’s best places for it~Lake Powell. They have now taught hundreds of people from all over the world how to paddle.
In 2012 they set off on a personal quest to paddle in all 50 states. 2 years and 120,000 miles later, they accomplished their goal. They have now paddled in all 50 states, from the Bayous of Louisiana to mountain lakes in Alaska, all the Great Lakes and including parts of the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico.
These days you can find them at Lake Powell during the summer and at some of the races around the country including the Pacific Paddle Games, Carolina Cup and others. They travel across the country extensively each year doing trade shows, car wrap installations, paddling and visiting SUP shops all across the country. Jordan has been on a reality tv show, is an award-winning glass artist and is a mom to 2 Dachshunds.
Andre Niemeyer is CEO of i9media, a digital marketing agency with clients in various industries, including paddleboarding, surfing, auto, and more. His passion for stand up paddling led him to launch an online platform called “Supconnect,” which serves hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts around the world.
Prior to i9media, Niemeyer worked as an academic researcher in technology and a journal editor, all the while still deeply committed to his competitive watersports background. In the winter of 2006, after getting frustrated with some small surf, he picked a stand up paddle board and never turned back. The benefits were just too many: the ability to enjoy the ocean even when there are little or no waves; the excellent workout; and not to mention the incredibly cheerful and welcoming community. With a newfound passion, Niemeyer became deeply dedicated to the sport and to helping others to enjoy its life-changing benefits.
“The thrill of riding a standup paddleboard, together with its ease and universal accessibility, makes the sport one of the most exciting things to happen in the action world. Many of the hurdles previously associated with action sports (e.g., snow, wind, and waves) have been removed. And to make it even more inviting, paddleboarding is low-impact and requires no athletic prowess. With water making up more than 70% of the world, it’s no wonder why sometimes Supconnect has over 250,000 unique people weekly consulting its platforms, even though standup paddling is a fairly recent phenomenon. People are going in droves to the web to learn about it, but the industry is growing so rapidly that many companies have yet to adjust their marketing plan to tap into the unprecedented demand pouring into the Internet.”
“Having grown up in the Florida panhandle, Andrew’s introduction to SUP came in 2011 while kayaking at a sandbar in Destin, FL known as “Crab Island.” Shortly after, Andrew kicked his kayak to the curb and bought his first board. After moving to Tampa, Florida, in 2012, he was quickly welcomed into the area’s paddling community and immersed in everything that stand up paddling has to offer.
Andrew has been a passionate advocate for stand up paddling since 2012, working in various capacities for a Tampa, FL based paddle board retailer and outfitter. In his day job as a Sr. Business Development Manager for DXC Technology, he provides a wide range of strategic and technology consulting services to customers ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.
In joining the Board at SUPIA, Andrew brings with him more than a decade of Consulting, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service experience from a variety of industries. By leveraging his experience outside the industry in conjunction with his knowledge of the paddling ecosystem, he looks forward to finding innovative ways to attract and retain new customers from a variety of underserved markets.
“After being embraced by the Tampa paddling community, stand up paddling has allowed me to form strong friendships and has played a major role in my physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. I look forward to serving SUPIA members, and finding ways to attract new paddlers so we can share with them the same sense of fulfillment that Stand Up Paddling has given us.”
Dave Kalama is a big wave surfer/tow-in surfer, stand-up paddle (SUP) surfer and racer, surf and SUP board shaper, windsurfer, outrigger canoe racer, private adventure guide, and celebrity watersports enthusiast. Kalama is credited with the co-development of the big wave surfing technique of tow-in surfing, along with Laird Hamilton, Darrick Doerner, and Buzzy Kerbox. Recently, Kalama together with close friend Laird Hamilton have been actively promoting and mastering an ancient Hawaiian mode of water transportation and watersport called SUP, “stand-up paddling”, and he has begun a series of increasingly longer solo paddle events between various Hawaiian islands. Kalama and Hamilton are also credited with the co-development of “foil surfing” (hydrofoil surfing).
Co-founder with wife, Michelle Ennis, and Owner of Dig Paddlesports, an outdoor recreation company based in Hurricane, UT. Offering rentals and tours, and started on the heels of the Great Recession, paddling was originally discovered as a way to effectively decompress and return to the design table with renewed vigor. Sharing the spirited peace of paddling and a love of outdoor engagement with diverse guests from around the globe and all walks of life has been a journey of joy for both Bill and Michelle.
Fluent in both English and Spanish, Bill has a passion for taking every opportunity to practice his bi-lingual skills with Spanish-speaking guests, as well as facilitating paddling-focused tours to Costa Rica.
Monique is an avid beach lover, originally from Ventura, CA, residing in North County San Diego. She has over a decade of experience in the action sports industry from serving as the Controller of Boardworks Surf and then CFO of Surftech. Her prior experience includes accounting positions within footwear, restaurant and music production industries. In 2019 she went independent and began her own bookkeeping and consulting practice working with small to medium businesses and independent contractors across varied industries. She is excited to be working with SUPIA and be connected back to the world of watersports.
Alex Mauer is a long-time Colorado resident who since the age of 12 has been riding the local river waves. More recently, he has enjoyed the wonders of stand up paddling and has become one of its most passionate advocates and representatives. We’re thrilled to have Alex take over our communications, social media, website and membership.
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