Name + Age (2017):
Michele Eray 37
Coach & Co-owner of Paddle California
Which paddling disciplines do you compete in? Eg. Surfski, river marathon, flat-water marathon, flat water sprint, S.U.P etc:
Surfski mainly, river marathon, and flat water marathon.
Favourite race, why?
Fish River Marathon because it’s in my home “province” and it is so varied that you have to be the best at all parts of river paddling to win (paddling, rapids, portaging). As for surfski, I love the Mauritius Ocean Classic, haven’t been for a while, but can’t wait to go back!
What about paddling keeps you paddling?
Everything about the sport! No two days in the ocean are the same, so I never get bored, and I am always learning something new. The people are awesome too, and I feel like I have a global network of buddies through paddling. Plus we get to train and race in some pretty amazing places in the world.
Were (or are you) a champ at any other sport?
Coffee drinking 🙂 I won a medal at Surf Life Saving Worlds back in ’96, but otherwise mainly paddling!
Why paddling above other sports?
I enjoy the variety of the training and racing conditions, paddling is never boring! Plus as I get to compete in both surfski, rivers and flat water, it’s 3 different sports, so mastering the challenge of being good in all is something I thrive on.
Greatest paddling achievement ( or top 3!)
Olympic Team and Finalist -7th in 2008 (WK4)
Marathon World Champs – bronze medal in 2007 (with Nikki Mocke)
SurfSki World Champion 2013, 2nd in 2015.
Most memorable life achievement outside of paddling ?
Walking into the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as Team USA Coach, and realizing I had come full circle, having competed in 2008 for SA, and now coaching in 2016, and having the privilege of giving back to other paddlers and the sport!
What is your favourite MOCKE product, why?
The Deluxe Paddle Bag – I got one of the original prototypes (Daw gave our Olympic K4 each one to test) and watching the product evolve has been fantastic. You need to be hands-free when you travel so the shoulder straps have been a huge help!