The Heart of SUP: Anthony Vela

Anyone who reads the Elder SUP blog is 100% aware of the respect, admiration and down right “Yeah, she’s cool” attitude I have about Candice Appleby.  Over the years of following Candice I have gotten to know Anthony Vela.  He’s got the heart and spirit that connects so many of su who go to sea on a  Stand Up Board.  Following his hashtag (#beachcleanup) and getting into the spirit of looking for ways to make even the slightest difference on our beaches is just one way. Following him on Facebook is a treat! Join me by Following and by enjoying this cool-to-the-max post (reprinted with permission from Anthony).
LOVE! Need we say more?

LOVE! Need we say more?

The reality of this year’s Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle is finally starting to sink in for me. I have the opportunity to see Candice Appleby do amazing things on a daily basis. It may be a long noseride, a sick turn on her sup, or an excellent interval piece while training with the PaddleFit/ @infinitysup crew. But the way in which Candice performed under extreme pressure during this year’s BOP race was one that I will remember forever. As a fan of the sport of SUP, the race between Annabel Anderson and Candice was about as exciting as it gets. First they were both behind, then Annabel was ahead, then Candice was ahead, then they were tied, then Candice was in the lead, and it wasn’t over until the last minute. As Candice’s best friend, training partner, gardner, and board handler it was extremely special for me to see how calm she was the entire race. It had been two years since these two have raced each other at the BOP. In 2012, Annabel’s 1st win, Candice was taken out of contention when a male competitor lost his board into Candice going into the “Boneyard Buoy” at Doheny. This incident prompted the organizers to separate the men and women for the BOP Final, a fantastic decision for the biggest race of the year. Last year Candice did not compete due to injury, so this was their first meeting with no guys in the way at BOP. Neither competitor disappointed the fans. Annabel showed her skills in the surf, and Candice showed her paddling ability and the two put on a show for the ages. Congrats to Annabel on her amazing 2nd place performance. And incredible job by all of the women handling the 20 wave set at the start of the race!

This moment captured by Eric from OnIt Pro is priceless. You can see us looking right into each others face, me with some words of encouragement, and Candice calmly listening for them. I can’t explain how much this photo means to me. Thanks Eric.

Thanks Brody Welte for all you have done for us both. Thanks Dave Boehnefor letting Candice train with us. Thanks Karl Ring for keeping me somewhat calm during this race. Thanks everyone from Surftech SUP, especially Duke for everything you have done to support Candice. Rebecca from Kona Brewing Company you are just awesome!!!! Thanks Tyler from FCS SUP for bringing by an assortment of leashes for us. Thanks Emily from MTI Adventurewear for helping us out with the best lifejackets on the market! Thanks Aaron Napoleon for the Friday night pep talk, and Alicia from Maui Jim for everything you continue to do for us and the sport. And special thanks to Bob, Scott, Dave, Randall, Steve, and everyone at Ocean Minded for supporting Candice for the last 15 years! Thank you Sean and Judy Sweet for being there for Candice always. Thank you Joe Bark, Jack Bark, Charlie and Bark Paddleboards for being our friends! Thank you Jimmy, Lizzie, Hugo, Addie, Sydney and everyone at QuickBlade Paddles for being incredibly amazing! And thanks to Sparky, Pat, Barrett, Kelly, Gerry Lopez Surfboards, Ron, and everyone who helps make this event possible. There are many others I am forgetting, but please know it is by mistake, not intention.

Thank you Candice for inspiring me, and many others!

— with Candice Appleby and 6 others.

SUP Muse: Candice Appleby


I met Candice Appleby for about 5 minutes at the Naish Gorge Challenge in August 2012. She’s a charismatic SUP athlete who’s hard to miss, wise and giving beyond her years. Most of us at age 27 are simply trying to figure what we and our lives are all about. For others, their focus, imagination, talent and commitment have inspired a clear path along the journey. Candice Appleby discovered her passion for ocean and  watersports early and has played her way with heart and hard training to the podium – and more importantly – beyond! Beyond SUP, Candice competes in ocean triathlons, various Pro Longboard events, body surfing, canoe surfing, prone paddleboarding, lifeguard competitions and other ASP sanction events. In 2010, Stand Up Journal featured her as the “Woman of the Year” in their worldwide publication. in 2011 she launched an Anti-Bullying campaign called “Stand Up for the Children.” Expanding the ways in which she gives back, Candice has taken on the role of  CFO/Co-Founder of Performance Paddling LLC.  It is in the balance of fitness, competition, travel, family and faith that I am able to fully appreciate all the things I am capable of accomplishing, as well as inviting new opportunities into my life.

Candice Appleby and Anthony Vela are two of the most recognizable faces in the world of Stand Up Paddling. Candice has won the Elite Race at the Battle of the Paddle more than anyone else but it’s not just the racing that makes these two so well loved. Candice recently shared these thoughts after the Inaugural Performance Paddling Junior Pro & Youth SUP (May 2013), “Yesterday was undoubtably one of the most joyful days of my life so far. All of the smiling faces of these precious children are engraved in my heart. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to all of the sponsors who helped make this event possible. To all of the volunteers and crew, this wouldn’t have been possible without your help. Each and every one of you played a huge role in the success of this event. Thank you so much for working so hard. To the Children, it was a pleasure watching your skills and talents on the water. You all shined bright for the whole SUP world to see. Parents, thank you for supporting your children’s ambitions and promoting a healthy active lifestyle. Anthony, I don’t even know what to say. You have changed my life in so many ways and helped me turn many of my dreams into realities. Thank you My Love. You are the best friend and companion I could ever have. And of course, thank you Lord!

Next generation awesome ocean athletes

Next generation awesome ocean athletes

More and more Candice and Anthony are putting back into the sport, especially through their coaching. Just over twelve months ago the pair stepped up that commitment when they created Performance Paddling. The initial focus was on hosting SUP coaching clinics at the big races they travel to. Their vision has evolved into much more.  The creation of the “Performance Paddling Competition Team“, which is basically an elite junior squad of Stand Up Paddlers inspires paddlers both young and old while guiding the culture around standup paddling as a sport and a community. In a sport as young as SUP there is not a culture of tradition and mentors.

Rather than having a cadre of “elders” who inspire the next generation, Candice and Anthony have stepped into that role. It will make all the difference. That sort of “connection across generations” is exactly the sort of story we love to share at Elder SUP.

The Inaugural Performance Paddling Junior Pro & Youth Sup Fiesta presented by Ocean Minded, which took place in early May, had competitors coming from Australia, Maui, Oahu, Florida, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and all over California. Proceeds were designated for Standup for the Cure for the cure of breast cancer. — with Quickblade Paddles,  Fin Film company captured the spirit and positive joy of the event in a short film (LIKE Fin Film on Facebook). candiceposter

Candice recently posted a quote from a coffee table book titled, ONE. A portion of it is here.  As you read it, it’s important to know that Candice posted it during a time she was recovering from hand surgery that has curtailed her competing as she heals and rehabs.  During that time she has remained active and giving within the SUP world, all with her signature smile.

“A great life includes something worth living for, maybe even worth dying for. A portion of a great life would be devoted to something bigger, greater, grander than yourself. Something that inspires you, energizes you, pulls you forward. Something that responds to your unique talent or touch and , ultimately, makes a difference in the world around you.

A great life would naturally bring more meaning, love, laughter, wonder and adventure to your days. At the end of your journey you would look back on a life of significance, rather than regret-knowing in your heart that you left the world better than you found it. Knowing that you made a difference in the lives of others. Knowing that you got something wonderful out of it, and that you gave something wonderful back.

A great life, of course, is not something we experience, it’s something we create.”

There is no doubt that in the process of creating a great life for herself, Candice radiates the energy that inspires us to dig deeper, mine our talents well and share what we can with others – generously and with love.
As she moves through the work and time it takes to recover from hand surgery patience and persistence will pay off.  Recently Candice reported, ”  I surfed my longboard yesterday for the first time since my surgery and it felt so good. Thanks for all the continued prayers and positive thoughts. I still have a ways to go before my hand is ready to properly grip a paddle, but I WILL GET THERE. Thanks for your continued support.”

Sooner or later we’ll all have that injury or life challenge that will deliver a setback that demands our strongest attitude and commitment.  Flexibility, a grin and accepting the support of friends can make the journey an exercise in the attitude of gratitude. Thanks for the reminder, Candice.


Candice appleby and Anthony Vela, in their water element
photo: Adlib Photography

When commenting on her life with Anthony Vela she explains that sometimes it’s like a dream. Candice recognizes, “My life is so blessed. Thanks to all of my friends through the years from whom I have learned about life and the ocean. I am thankful everyday. How did I get so lucky?”

Anthony Vela embraces ocean sports with gusto!

Anthony Vela embraces ocean sports with gusto!

Candice, I think you have made your own luck. As a SUP Muse, you inspire us to use our talents and energy in a similar manner.