From Wall Street to Going Pro
When you think of New York, images that come to mind are busy streets filled with yellow taxis, skyscrapers, Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, and… paddling. The SEA Paddle NYC is a 26 mile marathon paddle around Manhattan. This is where Stephanie Shideler caught the SUP bug on a big touring board with a heavy paddle. She labored her way through all 26 miles and wanted more. Last year she quit her long time financial career on Wall Street to move full steam ahead as an Infinity SUP athlete. Shideler is embracing the international paddle race scene to pursue her passion.
SUP Racing and Nutrition
Shideler has been vegetarian since she was eight years old. She was eating a chicken leg and was repulsed. She did not even know the word “vegetarian” existed. What she did know was that she loved animals and eating animals was not for her. Nutrition and eating are very intuitive for Shideler. It is about knowing your body and listening to your body. “One of the luxuries of being a pro athlete,” she explained, “is that you can really listen to your body and give it what it needs in regard to food or rest and sleep.”
Essential to performance is planning ahead. When training and competing in the United States, Shideler has her routine down. When competing internationally, traveling one week early to acclimatize is the ideal to comfortably adjust to the time change, climate, culture, and cuisine. Some countries are vegetarian friendly with wonderful fresh, high quality food. Other countries require a lot more effort, but Shideler makes sure to book accommodation with kitchenettes so she can cook her own meals and stay well nourished.
On Family and Helping One Another
As an animal lover, Shideler has a dog family of six who are her whole world. Each has their unique personality and teach her about leadership. From her oldest she learned inclusivity and supervising through play. Interestingly there are similarities in the paddle world. It is such an inclusive community of paddlers on the East Coast. Professional athletes lead by example. April Zilg is one of Shideler’s influences. Zilg does not come from an athletic background and willingly shares her journey. This inspires people of all walks of life to standup paddle.
There are also many awesome women in paddling like Seychelle, Penelope Strickland, and Candice Appleby to name a few. “These are people who will help you out and even share their secrets to best performance,” Shideler explained. In Shideler’s ideal world, anybody can get on a standup paddleboard and fall in love with the water. Standup paddling is an inclusive, loving family. Shideler hopes the sport continues to grow and flourish.
Where The Heart Is
Shideler started surfing after she graduated from business school. She lived in Long Beach, New York and commuted to Wall Street for work. Although she grew up in California, she feels a closer connection to the water on the East Coast. The water is easily accessible. Her one minute walk to the water is a luxury and it is not crowded for surfing. She has a house on North Fork, New York which is a dog paradise. There is a lot of paddling in a quarter of a mile from her house in any direction, but she prefers the open ocean. Long Beach is where her heart is.
Her heart is in paddling. For years Shideler lived with the concept of leaving her full time job on Wall Street for paddling. She used to have to take time off from work to train and go to events. Those moments with her paddling friends were where she felt good. It took a long time to make the final decision and she has no regrets. “Every day on the water is amazing. I live in the moment and it feels really good.” Shideler shared, “You have to be honest with yourself. Admit what makes you happy and have the courage to pursue it.”
Tips for Best Performance
“There is so much good information out there. You can paddle faster. Do not let your mind hold you back. If you want to race, follow a plan. Athletes coach to make a living. This is an amazing opportunity to learn. Be consistent with your training. You can always do more than you think. Just go paddle,” Shideler excitedly expressed.