Joe Paddler: Meet Brooke and David Widmer from Nashville, TN.
Where do you SUP the most?
Nashville, TN. Our go-to spot is on J. Percy Priest Lake from the Hamilton Creek Sailboat Marina. We also love paddling down Stones River through the confluence of the Cumberland River. Downtown Nashville on the Cumberland can be really cool at dusk when the city lights are coming on too!
What board do you ride?
Jimmy Lewis Boards, the best production boards on the planet! David’s race board is the new Jimmy Lewis U-Boat 14’x25”. Brooke has been riding a Jimmy Lewis Stiletto 265, but will be on a new Jimmy Lewis U-Boat 12’6”x27” just in time for Chattajack31 2015 J David has become enamored with the Mission, a 12’6”x29” touring/downwind board. It’s super stable and faster than you think. We’ve been paddling it tandem with our youngest daughter and it’s gotten her more into SUP, which is pure awesomeness! Disclaimer: David started repping for Jimmy Lewis Boards this season.
What paddle do you use?
Kialoa Hulu (race) mostly. We both have the small blade. Brooke uses the standard carbon shaft, with a Jimmy Lewis soft foam grip. David uses the Hi-Mod carbon shaft with Sea-dek grip and Monster paint on the handle and top section of the shaft. Hey, you asked!
Have you changed boards/paddles since you started? If so, why?
Hells yeah, so many times we’ve lost count. We started with a single coastal cruiser and almost had to cut in half to share! But we got another one and still no advice on selection. We took two of those12’ puppies 16 miles down the Cumberland River and realized we clearly had the wrong boards and paddles! Brooke had a cheap carbon paddle that wasn’t awful, but I was using an aluminum adjustable that was like a barbell. Somehow I made it. And then we decided racing could be fun, so…
Where would you most like to SUP?
Hawaii, without a doubt. That is where we first witnessed a lone paddler way out off shore and wondered “what in the world?!” We would love to join Jimmy Lewis for a down-winder there.
Best piece of SUP advice you’ve gotten?
Do it for the love!
Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while SUPping?
Brooke had a small sting ray land on the nose of her board during a coastal sunset paddle early on in her SUP experience. She nearly jumped out of her skin. Then I thought about it being feeding time for the sharks in the gulf and a good time to cruise back in to the beach.
Probably the most amazing thing we experienced though, was an intense dolphin encounter. We paddled out at first light for a 12 mile Chattajack training and were pretty far from shore coming up on Grayton Beach in FL at sunrise. I spotted a pod of dolphins traveling at top speed directly towards us. We got a little anxious, well Brooke started directly for shore and I just stopped paddling while my jaw was dropping. I thought I was going to take a direct hit and then they disappeared only to resurface as calm and relaxed as you can imagine circling my board! They were looking directly at me and I could have touched at least one of them. I freaked out talking to them and telling they how freakin’ cool they were and thanking them for coming to see me. They left me and did the same thing with Brooke. I’m thinking that was the first time she learned to pee on a SUP, but forgot to use that technique her first year at Chattajack, haha! Super cool experience for sure. (yep, that’s ALL David there!)
Favorite SUP nutrition? (During races/ during a long haul)
David – I have to be particularly careful with this. I am a type 2 diabetic thanks to genetics. I have controlled it for about 6 years now, but it means I have to nail the nutrition for intense situations and endurance. I use a range of things from just fruit juice for quick carbs, Hammer or Huma gels, and my favorite for the long haul fold-over banana sandwiches with almond butter, cinnamon and raw honey. I also mix some hemp seed, flax, cocoa powder and coconut into the almond butter. Hands-down our favorite hydration is Skratch Labs, it’s light clean and it works. Sometimes when it’s super-hot and humid I use Meta Salt to avoid cramping. We just started experimenting with Tailwind and hope to rely on it more to eliminate the need for any food during endurance paddles. I also have various voodoo ceremonies I do when preparing nutrition, so what I use won’t work the same for you.
Brooke – I should probably work this out on my own, but his voodoo generally works for me, so why mess with it?
Goals for 2015 and did you accomplish them?
David – Sub 3:30 at Carolina Cup Graveyard – check. Podium at least once – check. 100 miler – I’ve missed my window – longest is 36 miles. Complete at least one 100/100 Paddle Challenge – check and working on the second one with just a few more paddles needed. We both did 100 mi in 4 weeks with the 100/100. The big one is sub 6 hours at Chattajack31 – stay tuned. (Note: David accomplished that one!)
Brooke – Honestly our goal for 2015 was to paddle and race as much as we could, but balance family better by stepping back from a strictly SUP biz. While our blog may have suffered some, our family travel and variety of excursions did not. I feel like we did a pretty good job getting out there and doing lots of great stuff. Oh, and we added a chocolate lab pup to the family, so that was a goal accomplished too!
Favorite post-paddle nosh (snack/beer/recovery drink)
IPA beer! Yazoo Hop Project (Nashville), but the longer we paddle, the less picky we are on this! If we can get something spicy with perfectly ripe avocado to go with it, all the better!
Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.
Playing like kids, especially with our kids. Trail running, Camping, Hiking, Yoga, Sightseeing, Sharing good food, etc.
Where you were born and where you live now?
Brooke – Alabama and an Army Brat so I’ve lived here there and everywhere.
David – South Carolina. Nashville, TN is home though y’all!
What is your occupation?
In January we founded Nashville Brand Company, LLC which sources logoed apparel and merchandise for brand and event promotion. We provide services to support all levels of brand development. This is a really cool business that allows us to focus on specific markets like outdoor recreation, wellness and fitness to blur the lines between work and play. One of the coolest projects we’ve done this year was for a large paddle sports Meetup that we’ve been very involved with supporting. They needed a brand and fundraising support. Shirts, hoodies, tanks and stickers were flying off the table at Paddlefest event in May. It’s been cool to see that stuff all around the paddle community here.
Who do you SUP with most often?
We’ve built a strong community with SUP here and these days any of us can post in our Facebook group about paddling and at least a couple of us will be there. During peak season we see big groups showing up for sunset paddles, etc. Next season we’re finally launching a regular weekly or bi-weekly fun race series that will include some race training for those interested in doing “real” races. That is going to be cool to see!
What piece of SUP gear do you wish someone would invent?
Ultralight strong paddle case that is not bulky and is suitable for air travel. Why is this still an issue?
What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?
How to do it with a growing family. The logistics on this are increasingly difficult. We are looking at wider racks to support four boards in two stacks. Four boards high on the interstate is a little risky. OR, we need a SUP nanny and a way to cover the added expense, haha! Seriously, it has been really, really cool to do this as a family and we’re embracing the challenge as we see where it leads us from here.
What is your proudest moment in a SUP race or event?
David – Finishing Carolina Cup Graveyard this year under my goal. Sounds funny, but I was super intimidated by that race and Carolina Cup was our first race, I did Money Island and Brooke did Harbor Island. Her brother gets the blame for keeping us up almost all night before the race. But he also gets credit for loaning us boards for that first race so we could fly over.
Brooke – I have to give props to my first ever race, the Carolina Cup in 2013. I was going to hang with my brother and cheer David on, but then decided I would be kicking myself all the way back to TN if I didn’t put myself out there. Still so glad I did. And then somehow ended that SUP season with a trip out to race in Battle Of The Paddle only to return for our first ever Chattajack. Talk about a trifecta! That season will always go down as the year I really grew as an athlete and a person. (Totally what she said! dw)
Tell us about the best friend(s) you made through SUP.
David – That’s a tough one. We have continued to make great friends consistently in this community. We know that at any point in time we can put something out about what we’re struggling with or celebrating and our SUP Ohana will pile on with support. We are setting up our first local paddle out for a couple of people in our SUP community that happened to lose loved ones within days of one another. We love the give and take of support whether it local or the broader SUP community!
Brooke – It’s so amazing how this sport/pastime can bring like minded people together. We strive to welcome people of all ages and skill to this community. It’s growing by leaps and bounds in the lakes and rivers of Tennessee. I will say, we have been blown away by the support of our paddle community in regards to our daughters. They have made friends with our paddle friends all on their own. I think that just speaks to the respect & love we have for each other.
What’s your best SUP travel tip?
When in doubt, pack an inflatable! You just never know when you might drive over a bridge and look down and say “Hey, that looks like fun!” Not to mention if you’re meeting family members that don’t necessarily get it you can discretely be prepared, sort of like a kid sneaking a swimsuit under the seat of the car when they know you’re visiting someone with a pool! I might have done that once, or more when I was a kid (dw).
Ask a question that you want Mullet Nation to answer:
What one person, living or not, would you most like to paddle with and why? Give us your answer and we’ll give you ours!
Paddle Monster Newsletter Signup
Disclaimer: We wish to be fully transparent with our readers so we want you to know that we discuss a variety of products/services on this blog, and when possible, we will use affiliate links. In this post, we linked the Monster Paint, Skratch Labs and Meta Salt to Amazon and the if you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product or service, we will be paid a small commission, however your cost will be the same. In other words, you don’t pay more. It helps get you the info and gear you need, while helping us pay for our costs of producing the Distressed Mullet. It’s a great way to support the site and what we do: Celebrate and connect the people who paddle. Thank you for your support.