Wai Mauna SUP Tours Exclusive Interview With Pro Paddler, April Zilg

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On Saturday, October 14th, 2017, Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours will be holding a clinic with one of the sport's most inspiring athletes: Pro paddler, April Zilg.

Currently ranked #11 in the world, April has steadily transformed herself from a beginner paddler who wasn't able to finish the first race she entered, to a motivational, professional athlete and genuinely amazing human being. 

Here's the thing with Zilg, though: She isn't content just sitting back and basking in her success—she'd rather share all the knowledge she's learned so other paddlers and athletes can also achieve their personal goals.

Using tools like Instagram, Zilg posts regular fitness clips and inspirational quotes—a few of which we've included below as part of her recent interview. 

We are SUPER excited to have April visit Asheville, and for more info or to join in the clinic call (828) 808-9038 or shoot us an email at info@waimaunaashevillesuptours.com. For more info on April you find her online at www.aprilzilg.com or follow on Instagram

Scroll for interview below!

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1. You're originally from North Carolina. Where?

Born and raised in Fayetteville, NC. Actually, outside of the city limits in a little area called "Cedar Creek"  

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2. You've had a pretty full-on race schedule this year. What did your race schedule look like and where are some places it took you?

This year was actually pretty mellow, as I opted out of the Euro Tour. This year I traveled to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, California, and Oregon. It was my first time doing multiple Caribbean races, which was very nice. Last year I did the European Tour and had the chance to travel in between weekends through Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. It was a fantastic tour, and I had a lot of fun. 

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3. When you entered one of your very first races you didn't even finish it, right? Then you came back the next year and took one of the top spots. What changed in that year? 

That year I took a lesson, found people that actually knew a little bit about paddling, and learned from them. That first race I was doing everything wrong - including holding my paddle backwards. Board and paddle selection followed by technique were what I tackled in the first year. Even now, I work on my technique constantly, trying to make it more efficient so I can go faster with less effort. You can try to get all your paddling knowledge from You Tube, but it isn't the same as finding people to help you.  

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4. You say you went from being an "average paddler" to one of America's top female paddlers through good old fashioned hard work. Care you mention a little about the process of taking it one day at a time?

If I had tried to take on the training load and nutritional changes all at once, I would have failed miserably. This has truly been a process where I've changed a little bit every few weeks. Each day I train hard, and increase my ability to train harder the next day. Each day I eat a little healthier, and it makes it very easy to make better choices the next day. Its a building process, before you know it, 3 years from now, you wake up super healthy and feeling amazing!!  

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5. What keeps you motivated to train and constantly push yourself?

I remember what it felt like before I was motivated. I had headaches, stomach aches, lethargy, unexplained depression... I thought that was what life felt like, I thought that was normal. I look at family members that lack all motivation and I don't want to become like them. I want to prove that being unmotivated or overweight isn't a genetic predisposition. 

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6. You've been able to travel a lot to some pretty exotic places. What are some standouts and tell us the story about paddling in the Himalayas.

One of my favorite places to paddle was Switzerland alongside the waterfront castles. It was truly beautiful. 

The Himalaya story is a long one, suffice to say we made it and set a world record. It was extremely challenging to coordinate equipment, people, and transportation in North India.  

7. What would you say is the most important muscle group for paddling: Legs, lats, abs, arms, or all of the above? 

All of the above! 

8. Favorite exercise for balance training or favorite exercise in general.

No balance trainer in the world will prepare you for the open ocean on a SUP. People try, but all balance trainers are responding to your movement whereas the ocean is its own movement and completely random.  

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9. Favorite way to cross train.

I really like CrossFit and weight lifiting. I NEVER thought I'd say that in 100 years. Especially when I first tried it.  

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10.  What boards are you currently riding? want to give a shout out to your sponsors? 

I'm riding my custom Hobie 12'6" x 24" Blend. You can order an exact copy! I've been running it with the Futures RFD prone fin for buoy turns. This is by far the best setup I've ever had for fast turns and sprint racing.   

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11. Dream SUP destination(s):

Somewhere with long, uncrowded rights for SUP surfing :-)  

12. When was the last time you visited Asheville or Western North Carolina? 

Its been about a year since I've been out to the western side of the state. I love it and can't wait to get back.