Meet Joe Paddler: Dion Waters, Hampstead, NC

Joe Paddler Dion Waters

Where you were born and where you live now?

Roseburg, Oregon / Hampstead, North Carolina

What is your occupation?

Retired U.S. Marine (air traffic control & financial management) but now a pseudo-accountant with the Dept. of Defense. I attach the pseudo only because I’m not as concerned with debits & credits as you might assume a normal accountant to be.

Where do you SUP the most?

Topsail Island, NC

Do you have a favorite local paddleboard shop?

Carolina Paddleboard Company. A Bark for her & paddle for me 🙂

What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?

A 12’6″ “Umpqua” hollow wooden SUP…little light volume-wise for me but I do it anyway.

Joe Paddler Dion Waters

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

Two other finished 11′ hollow wooden surf style SUPs (“Malco”) with two other 14′ displacement/race style SUPs waiting to be built (“Cascade” from Clearwood Paddleboards  and “Catalina” from Wood Surfboard Supply.)

Joe Paddler Dion Waters

What paddle do you use?

For races a Kialoa carbon model from a couple years back but usually a home-built cedar/pine battle axe.

Have you changed boards/paddles/equipment since you started? If so, why?

Yes…the first board I built three years ago came in at 45 pounds. It looked really nice but the exotic wood I used throughout the decking took a toll with a scale’s reading. So after paddling near a few carbon/epoxy boards I realized that changes needed to be made. I searched for a race style board and found one designer in Oregon who had something that grabbed me with its originality so I went in that direction.

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

You know I had to search for exotic locations where I thought would be cool water-oriented locations. In reality I’d like to head back to Arizona and get through through the Grand Canyon on a board. Afghanistan again…not so much.

Best piece of SUP advice you’ve ever received?

Stay away from the oyster beds!

Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while paddling?

First race, first broken paddle. Total new guy and I was testing out a hollow shaft thing that I’d built at the Colonial Cup Race in New Bern, NC. It looked pretty but I didn’t go all the way up the shaft of the paddle with fiberglass cloth. At the very first buoy turn the shaft snapped and I ended up paddling the mile back on my knees with a 2 foot blade & stick. The great thing about that day was meeting Julia Nichols of 100/100 fame at that buoy turn when she tried to render assistance to a completely embarrassed newbie….so gracious!

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

Blackberry Gu for a race but anything granola-based over a couple of hours.

Goals for this year?

Stay happy pure & simple. PR or the ER doesn’t do it for me. I’ll paddle as much as I can but solo-circumnavigating the earth isn’t on my agenda.

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

Any IPA with the preference of being seated at Lighthouse Beer & Wine’s outdoor garden in Wrightsville Beach sipping upon said IPA.

Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.

Woodworking obviously but that is a lead in to paddling so would that answer be disingenuous….athletically I’d say a decent session on the Concept 2 rower.

Joe Paddler Dion Waters

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

If I need something I’ll whittle it out of cedar or something!

What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?

Sometimes it’s just explaining that the board is indeed just wood….nothing fancy and it works much all the other boards.

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

Making the podium in 2015 at the Cold Stroke, Carolina Cup & Colonial Cup with a wood board….non-pro/elite class but still the board is made out of WOOD!


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

Way hard here…I usually paddle solo so when I do get the chance of socializing everyone seems to be my best friend. I do like to hear the musings of one Rod Clayton when he travels on down to the coast from the Triangle area. He likes to leave car keys securely locked in vehicles when the plan was to trade drop off for picking up of boards.

Joe Paddler Dion Waters

What was your best SUP travel trip?

Asheville, NC. Love the area! My wife and I were dropping off our youngest at college. Cathartic in the sense of that’s it and the peace found paddling again in the mountains. (picture below is of the daughter prior to drop-off helping me shape a board for a family friend….too occupied in Asheville to take any pictures of that paddle)