Sport:Stand Up Paddleboarder
Nikki Gregg is the epitome of a natural athlete. A lot of people are good at one or two, maybe three sports. Nikki, on the other hand, has excelled at snowboarding, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, climbing, triathlons, wakeboarding, adventure racing and raft guiding. There aren’t very many outdoor sports that Nikki hasn’t tried (and mastered). It should come as no surprise then that Nikki was one of the early adopters of stand up paddling (SUP). Whether she is racing through whitewater, paddling across the open ocean or conducting a fitness class, Nikki is completely at home on a board. Now living in Hawaii, Nikki spends her days paddling out to Oahu’s surf lineups, teaching health and wellness classes on the beach and hanging out with her dog, Nui. Sounds like a rough life, right?
Get to know Nikki:
TEVA: Hey Nikki. Is there anything else we can call you in case we get bored of calling you Nikki?
NG: Some people call me NRG; it’s my initials and the name of my company. Also Nikki Chopsticky, but that’s a long story.
TEVA: Intriguing. So how did you first get into SUP?
NG: Back in Hawaii about 6 years ago, I tried stand up paddling on an old windsurfer with a homemade paddle on flat water. It was okay, but then I did a Maliko downwinder in Maui during a 10-foot Hawaiian swell. I could barely stand up on the board, plus I was on an inflatable. I started SUP surfing two times a day. I was hooked!
TEVA: Why’d you decide to go pro?
NG: It wasn’t really intentional. I was just doing what I love, and the rest followed.
TEVA: What’s on your trophy shelf?
NG: A few highlights:
- 2012 BOISE WHITEWATER FESTIVAL: Overall Winner
- 2012 BOARDWORKS SUP CROSS: 2nd Place
- 2012 FIBARK, Salida, CO: First Place Women’s Overall
- 2012 ROCKY MOUNTAIN SURF FESTIVAL, Glenwood Springs, CO: 1st Place Women’s Overall
- 2011 H2O OVERDRIVE SUP CUP, Park City, UT: First Place Women’s SUP Cross
- 2011 TEVA MOUNTAIN GAMES, Vail, CO: 2nd Place Women’s SUP Cross
- 2011 RENO RIVER FESTIVAL, Reno, NV: 1st Place Women’s Downriver Race, 5th Overall
- 2010 PADDLE TO THE CHANNEL, Lake Havasu, AZ: 2nd Place Elite Women
- 2010 SEASIDE CELEBRATION, Seaside, FL: 2nd Place Elite Women
- 2010 NAISH RACE SERIES, Hood River, OR: 1st Place Women
- 2009 BATTLE OF THE PADDLE, Dana Point, CA: 1st Place Women’s Open
TEVA: Wow. We’re gonna go out on a limb here and say you’re pretty good at what you do. What is your proudest achievement to date?
NG: 2011 Stand Up Journal Woman of the Year, 2011 SUP Connect Woman of the Year and being the overall winner of the Boise River Festival SUP Cross this year. It feels good when I beat all the boys.
TEVA: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
NG: Jane’s Addiction my sophomore year in high school. Henry Rollins Band opened. Awesome!
TEVA: Any bad sport-related injuries over the years?
NG: Snowboarding accident. I overshot a kicker and landed from 50 feet in the air to flat ice going really fast. Landed on my feet but folded myself in half and was out of commission for almost a year. Mentally, that ended my snowboard career, so I started surfing and moved to Hawaii after that, which led me to SUP. In a way I’m actually thankful it happened. It led me to where I’m at now! I love my life!
TEVA: What’s the scariest moment you’ve had while SUPing?
NG: Probably Punta de Lobos surf break near Pichilemu, Chile. I was trying to paddle out to the wave against the strong current pushing me into the rocks and cliffs. I just got completely pounded with no way out and no way for anyone to help me. Not a happy moment.
TEVA: Yikes. Let’s talk about happier moments. What are you doing when you’re off your board?
NG: Running, writing, reading, playing with my rad little Chihuahua Nui, getting a pedicure, sipping on a margarita…
NG: Haha. I wish.
TEVA: What’s your biggest pet peeve?
NG: Someone with heinous breath that gets up really close as they’re talking to me. Gagging!
TEVA: Any words of wisdom for us?
NG: “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different Sun.” -Christopher McCandless
"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." ~ John Wayne
"You're tougher than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can do."
"Make friends with pain and you will never be alone."
TEVA: That’s a lot of wisdom. Thanks Nikki.
What Gregg Wears: