Meet Joe Paddler: Rob Patton, New Era, Michigan

Joe Paddler Rob Casey


Rob Patton

Where you were born and where you live now?

Born: Sault Ste Marie, MI Now Live: New Era, MI

What is your occupation?

High School Guidance Counselor

Where do you SUP the most?

Lake Michigan’s eastern shore.

Joe Paddler Rob Casey

Do you have a favorite local paddleboard shop?

Shop Custom!

What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?

BlkBox custom 12’1×27 carbon is my daily driver.

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

14′ Blkbox Custom El Camino UNO race; 14′ SIC Bullet V2; 10’x30″ Blkbox Megadialer quad; 9’4×30 Blkbox Warchild SUP

What paddle do you use?


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

I have been a loyal fan of Blkbox boards for the past several years but enjoy trying out other boards, in particular surf and downwind boards.

Joe Paddler Rob Casey

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


Best piece of SUP advice you’ve ever received?

You’ll never regret time you spend on the water.

Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while paddling?

I was doing a solo downwinder offshore on Lake Michigan and one of the tall ships sailing the Lakes came through under sail so I angled further offshore hoping to get closer. After a bit they were nearly alongside of me and the crew was amazed to see me offshore riding swell, keeping pace with a Viking ship.

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

Drink: Coffee, water, beer; EAT: tacos, seafood, PB&J

Goals for this next year?

Keep chasing Great Lakes surf and downwind runs. I love the paddling community and participating in events but you can’t plan for surf and downwind and that is where my heart lies so I just want to keep my schedule flexible to get it when it is going off.

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

A chocolate milk brings me back to life and then tacos and beer help me appreciate that life a little bit more.

Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.

Stand in my garage looking at my paddle and surf gear. Or, fatbike the beach. Or, in the winter tele ski the snow covered dunes.

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

I am not inventive. I do not know. How about a way to carry the six boards I want to bring to the surf break without having to buy a huge van or stack them all on my roof?

What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?

Being free when the surf is going off. I get a lot of surf days but Great Lakes waves are unpredictable and the window is short.

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

I won the WPA Midwest region championship series two years in a row, 2011 &2012. I am very proud of it but want to choose something else because I think I am more proud of just consistently going after it in any weather Michigan throws at us. I am more proud of surfing all winter long than I am winning a race.

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

Some of my best friends have come from paddling. My downwind crew, the Bump Brothers, is a great group out of West MI. I am especially thankful for my good friend and custom shaper Matt Campbell.

Joe Paddler Rob Casey

What was your best SUP travel trip?

I have had many…trips to Carolina Cup, California for surfing….but I had a solo trip to a point break location on Lake Michigan where the winds were pumping and everything lined up for me to be in the right place right time. No crowds so it was a very solitary experience and everything aligned to make it a great few days!

Joe Paddler Rob Casey