Joe Paddler: Meet Jeremy Cass “J.Cass” from South Berwick, ME
WHERE YOU WERE BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I was born in Cleveland Ohio, but have lived most of my life in Maine.
WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?
I am a licensed Clinician and help young people to face life’s challenges. I also teach paddling and swiftwater rescue when I can.
WHERE DO YOU SUP THE MOST?
I split my time between running the Kennebec and West branch of the Penobscot Rivers, and surfing in York and Ogunquit beaches which are right down the street from where I live. I also like to travel to other rivers around New England (or anywhere) to run whitewater and surf.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCAL PADDLEBOARD SHOP?
Liquid Dreams Surf Shop at 696 Main Street RT 1
Ogunquit, ME 03907
Open EVERYDAY 9am to 9pm
WHAT PADDLEBOARD, SURFSKI OR OC DO YOU RIDE MOST?
I ride my Starboard Astro Stream the most. It inflates to 18psi, and is super stiff and responsive. People often think it’s a composite. I like to change the fins out for different conditions i.e. for high volume rivers and wave surfing, or a combination of the starboard whitewater fins for shallow low volume river running. The multiple grab handles are really well thought out for getting back on the board in heavy whitewater. I can even surf it on ocean waves. The color scheme makes it look really cool too.
DO YOU OWN ANY OTHER PADDLEBOARDS, SURFSKIS OR OCS AND WHAT KIND?
I also own a Starboard Widepoint 8’2” surfSUP. It’s for high performance ocean wave surfing, but I haven’t brought it to a standing river wave yet… Lots of fun on 1 ft waves, and really predictable and stable in bigger surf.
WHAT PADDLE DO YOU USE?
I use a 2 piece adjustable Werner Tonga, it has a versatile shape for all kinds of paddling and is really durable on rocky rivers. Looks good too. One day I’ll get another Werner, but in carbon for a little more power.
HAVE YOU CHANGED BOARDS/PADDLES/EQUIPMENT SINCE YOU STARTED? IF SO, WHY?
I have not. Between the two boards, I can paddle any kind of water I want. With theStarboard Astro Stream I can run class IV on it, surf it, and then bring it to the lake and let my mother in law paddle around on it, or put my nieces and nephews on it. I would like a longer, in the 11ft range, inflatable SUP for touring and racing though….
IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TO PADDLE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?
I would really like to go and surf the river waves in Colorado, and or paddle some of the bigger and cleaner waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest. A longer river trip out West would also be awesome.
BEST PIECE OF SUP ADVICE YOU’VE GOTTEN?
Switching sides for propulsion and using footwork to engage edge to edge transfers to utilize the river currents to get to where you want to go. Or put simply, changing sides and my body position while looking where I want to go in whitewater.
WEIRDEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE PADDLING?
On the West River in VT, a super classic class III that only releases 2 days a year, canoers and rafters kept yelling at me to do head stands mid rapids. I was doing everything I could to stick my moves and stay on the board, let alone a headstand!
FAVORITE SUP NUTRITION? (DURING RACES/ DURING A LONG HAUL)
Solid breakfast and black coffee. I like honey stingers and lara bars in my PFD for river snacks. I also like to be well-hydrated before a whitewater or surf session.
GOALS FOR THIS NEXT YEAR?
I’ve been asked to help out with the ACA downriver SUP Nationals and am interested to see what can be done with it. I have a lot of different rivers that I used to run in my kayak, that I need to run on the SUP and some high water river waves I’d like to surf in the Spring. Other than that, just try to surf a lot after work.
FAVORITE POST-PADDLE NOSH (SNACK/BEER/RECOVERY DRINK)
I love local Maine beers like Sebago and Baxter Brewing Co. after a challenging day on the water.
YOUR FAVORITE NON-PADDLE THING TO DO.
Walking and hiking with my wife and our 2 Border Collies.
WHAT PIECE OF SUP GEAR DO YOU WISH SOMEONE WOULD INVENT?
An inflatable board with a hard/slick bottom that still maintained a surf-like shape for river running and whitewater. With it you could more easily slide off or grind rocks, but have a lightweight and cool looking board.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH SUP?
Getting shut down on river waves that I thought I would be able to surf right off the back like I used to in my kayak. You can be an amazing whitewater kayaker, but the style of running the river and the approach is totally different on a SUP.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN A SUP RACE OR EVENT?
I haven’t done any races or events yet, but I have plans for 2016 to this regard. To be honest, my proudest moment has been getting some good feedback from pro-whitewater SUPers like Dan Gavere and getting to participate in Joe Paddler with Distressed Mullet. (Thank you! You made the Mullet today!—JB)
TELL US ABOUT THE BEST FRIEND(S) YOU MADE THROUGH SUP
I still mostly SUP on rivers with my kayak friends. They think it’s hilarious that I’m SUPing on whitewater, but totally have my back. I think some of them are about to convert though after seeing how much fun it is. I am beginning to make friends with the SUP surfers in my neighborhood too, and am excited for new friendships.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST SUP TRAVEL TIP?
Pack the day before and get a good night’s sleep. If you have an inflatable board, get an electric pump to save you time at the put in. A quiver of fins has proven more versatile than a quiver of boards.