Bailey Rosen is not a typical college freshman at UCLA. Sure, she is taking the requisite classes and working a part-time job as she wraps up her first quarter in pursuit of a BA in Environmental Studies. It is there, however, where the similarities end and Bailey’s inner self is revealed.
At just 18 years old, Bailey Rosen has already experienced more on a stand up paddleboard than most paddlers will in a lifetime. This past year, Bailey turned her focus to paddling before moving across the U.S. from Florida to Southern California. She founded the Florida Junior SUP Team in her “spare time” before committing to a strict training regimen in preparation for a full summer of racing. Her dedication paid off when she took part in the prestigious Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race, finishing the 32 mile competition across the Ka’iwi Channel in under six hours, followed by an invitation to the Ultimate SUP Showdown at the Duke’s Oceanfest in Waikiki.
I asked Bailey if she has a favorite memory from her time spent on the water. “It is probably from Battle of the Paddle 2012 after I made it through the elimination round and into the final event,” she said. “It was a huge accomplishment for me and I felt like my hard work had paid off, [becoming] a viable force in SUP racing.”
Echoing the sentiments of fellow Floridian Chase Kosterlitz, Bailey Rosen’s favorite place to paddle is through the mangrove tunnels near her home on Florida’s Gulf Coast. “My favorite thing about SUP lies in its novelty, in the fact there are so many new frontiers to discover because of its versatility. This sport is just taking off, and it is awesome to be able to take strides as an individual while SUP itself grows and changes,” she told me.
Since the conclusion of the summer racing season in the U.S., Bailey has been focusing on academics as she strives to find the right balance to manage her life’s many pursuits. Over the course of the next few years, Bailey intends to reach her highest level of potential as a paddler, while focusing on her academic studies and graduating from UCLA. There is likely a European SUP tour on the horizon, as well as a return engagement at next year’s Molokai to Oahu race where she hopes to improve upon her time. Last, but not least, she has set a personal goal to finish in the top 10 at the Battle of the Paddle. “I am open and excited to see where the sport takes me,” she said.
Tips From Bailey Rosen
The accomplished young student-athlete has the following tips for fellow paddlers.
Always remember that your paddle is the most important part of your balance. Not only does it provide momentum that helps you stay onboard, but you can also apply weight on the blade that is essential to every part of paddling from the stroke, to turns and even standing up and learning for the first time.
Socialize and Succeed
Paddle with someone who has more experience than you. It’s amazing how much you can learn just by watching someone with more skill. Go surf or train with a friend who is better than you and don’t be afraid to ask for tips! The vast majority of people in the SUP community are super friendly and more than happy to share their expertise.
Learn from Mistakes
Don’t be afraid to fall—and I mean that in every sense of the word. I have learned more from my failures than from any successes. When you fall or fail you learn more about your abilities and how to apply that to the next time you try. Pushing outside your comfort zone is the very best way to improve.