Joe Paddler: Meet Ian Connor paddling on the Horsetooth Reservoir in Colorado

Ian Connor Joe Paddler

Where you were born and where you live now?

Born: Illinois Lives: Colorado

What is your occupation?

Operations at REI

Why do you love paddling?

I have anyways been drawn to water as a kid growing up next to a lake…”Being one with the water.” nails it simply. I enjoy the feeling you get when your movements and water mirror each other. Also when you glide through rough water because you have the timing right. Having those feelings brings piece to mind.

Where do you SUP the most?

Horsetooth Reservoir, CO

Do you have a favorite local paddleboard shop?

REI, Fort Collins, Colorado Store # 49

What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?

Naish Nalu GS 11’6″

Do you own any other paddleboards, surfskis or OCs and what kind?

Bark Commander AST 14′ prone board

What paddle do you use?

Naish Makani VarioIt’s a 2-piece, however they do make a 3-piece. I went with the adjustable because I enjoy playing with different stances and paddle lengths. I also like to teach others how to paddle, so having the adjustable works well with different body types without having multiple paddles on hand because they’re not cheap. Haha.

Joe Paddler Ian Connor

If you could travel to anywhere in the world to paddle, where would you go?


Best piece of SUP advice you’ve gotten?

Self/youtube taught. Learning how to surf and foot positioning.

Favorite SUP nutrition? (During races/ during a long haul)

Scratch Labs

Goals for this next year?

More paddling even if it’s a short one.

Favorite post-paddle nosh (snack/beer/recovery drink)

Chocolate protein shake.

Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.

Lift weights.

What piece of SUP gear do you wish someone would invent?

A better hydration system. To give you an idea about my thoughts, I do not like having things on the deck or on my back while paddling which leaves me with waist packs or very few options. I like the idea of a waist pack having a lower center of gravity but I have not seen a waist pack design that I like. A lot of them have bottles which would lead to reaching behind you and a hand off your paddle. I know it’s pretty nit-picky but I am looking for efficiency while in motion. I currently have things close to shore for hydration or I drink a lot (and I mean a lot! Like a camel) just before I get on the board. I’ve done camelbaks and have not been a fan since I do like to paddle with my shirt off.

What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?

Getting out on the water. I have many outdoor interests.

What is your proudest moment in a SUP race or event?

Teaching my wife how to paddle.

Tell us about the best friend(s) you made through SUP.

Lisa Schell, REI coworker and paddler. Actually have not paddled together but always talked paddling and inspired each other.

What’s your best SUP travel tip?

For new places, ask the locals because they know where the gems are!… Traveling far, rent gear, having your own board might not be worth the damage through transportation or the expenses. Exception depends on how long you’re staying of course.