Life is an amazing journey and what better way to enjoy it than paddling in the ocean? When you have marine biologist parents, nature becomes your second home and the world is your playground. Meet Dominika, our ‘Tell Your Tale’ feature this week. Dominika is a wonderful actress who balances her career with her passion for the ocean. She now shares her wisdom and great inspiration with our NIXY tribe in this interview.
NIXY: When did you start Paddle boarding? What motivated you to get involved with this sport?
Dominika: The first time I tried paddle boarding was at Baby Beach in Maui. I was with a group of devoted windsurfers on a windless day who were eager to get out on the water and voila, the rest is history. One of the guys in the group is friends with Sean Ordonez so I was lucky enough to try one of his first boards (the big red). I was MIND BLOWN. I have always loved being on the waters but up until that trip there were not many options for a chill way to explore the Maui waters unless you were being blow around on a kite or windsurf. This was a game changer especially since I always lived for seeing turtles, dolphins, and looking directly down into the water. SUP created a new and suddenly more social space on the ocean for people who loved all of types of water sports. It gives people like me a chance to spend cherished times with others in a different way. I then convinced my marine biologist parents to try stand up paddle boarding in St. Martin. My mom ended up being the first person in the family to buy and inflatable SUP. She uses her iSUP to explore lakes while my dad is fly fishing.
NIXY: Why did you choose a NIXY inflatable SUP? What do you like most about your board?
Dominika: The NIXY was a surprise birthday gift from my windsurfing boyfriend. He always laments that he wishes there were more things we could do together on the ocean. Although I can surf and wake surf, I found windsurfing had a harder learning curve, which lead to him buying me an iSUP. When the NIXY came out of the box, I immediately fell in love with the color palette; but once inflated, I was even more taken with the contouring and shape. It looks beautiful AND zippy.
NIXY: What activities do you enjoy with your board?
Dominika: I think it goes without saying that SUP is an amazing workout for your core and practicing balance. What most people do not mention or recognize is that there is an incredible philosophical aspect to being on the water. It is self-empowering as though it is just you and this “human power” gliding through an extraordinary open and mighty space to free your thoughts going as fast or slow as your heart desires. I am most proud of having taken two of my friends out in the ocean for their first time. Being able to introduce fellow outdoor girls to the ocean (which admittedly can be intimidating) felt great. I feel like an inflatable SUP is a new door open to having more access to the oceans and nature. All so empowering and liberating. Also, I believe the more people we can get to fall in love with the ocean, the more likely they will take personal steps in their lives to protect it and its diversity.
NIXY: What are some challenges you have encountered with paddle boarding? Have you learned anything that you can share with the NIXY community?
Dominika: I grew up near rivers and lakes in Canada until I went to a university by the ocean. I understand currents and lake shores very well; but I admit that learning the language of the ocean, wave timing, and navigating entry time into the water has been a full lesson. I also found that riding the SUP in waves are significantly harder than carving on a surfboard. The falls (there have been more than a few) were all painless, easy, and absolutely fun.
NIXY: What are your thoughts of paddle boarding being used as a Social Distancing tool?
Dominika: Paddle boarding is an excellent tool during Covid19. Above and beyond the obvious benefits of being able to retain social distance, it is an incredibly inspiring way to keep your eyes lit with wonder. Every dip into the water is different. Every sunrise and sunset paddle reveal a new light. Often encountering new marine life and always a feeling of remaining connected to the environment around you is a great help during the pandemic. The concept of social distance has caused many to feel anxious and isolated. I think the beauty of SUP is that it reconnects you to the ocean. (Universally acknowledged to get you into a “flow” of good, an inward happy sigh for your soul)
NIXY: What do you like the most about paddle boarding?
Dominika: What I like most about paddle boarding is how it feels to be connected to water in a way our human ancestors designed. That all the “power” and “movement” comes from your own body “engine”. This is a visible and inspiring way to acknowledge how your own actions, as well as stillness, can affect that around you. It can be a high-octane romp through waves or a relaxing meander past dolphin pods; your own mood and energy is able to design every SUP experience to be unique. Few activities offer you that kind of flexibility.
NIXY: What piece of advice would you give to someone who is starting out on paddle boarding? Any tips?
Dominika: My advice is to get out and try it immediately! Find your favorite place to look out at the water and imagine being able to float across as you look up at the sky or down into the water. It is the next level experience of the world that surrounds you. It is a physical activity that is great for you but never ever (at least to me) feels like something I do as “step counting”. It has a built in beauty factor to it like when you are near the water, beautiful things are happening all around you. I would suggest starting on flat water such as lakes or the ocean very early in the morning (be sure to check tide tables and find a good launch that is easy for beginners). Go with friends who already know how to paddle board. There is nothing more fun than getting to paddle with your friends by your side to catch up in the middle of the oceanic arena. If you like to explore and want to go deeper into the wilderness, get closer to the lakes and oceans, this is your quiet, respectful “horse” to guide you in.
Thank you, Dominika for sharing your experiences and offering helpful tips with the NIXY community. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from our fellow paddlers and truly enjoy receiving photos from you all.