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Photographer by Di Tunnington



Name: Chad Islip

City: Peregian Springs, Qld

Occupation: Personal Trainer

Age: 38

Currently preparing for: Flat water SUP National Championships, March 2015


Hey Chad! Can you start by telling us a little bit about your life before you found Stand-up Paddle boarding (SUP)?


My life has always been very active, I have been competing in a wide range of sports since the age of five. However, when my wife and I starting trying for a family six years ago, all of that came to a screaming halt. We had a long battle with IVF which was extremely tough.

For years, every personal training session I ran went towards the IVF and I was working around the clock with clients to make ends meet. Finally perseverance and belief prevailed and we now have two beautiful twin girls.

Wow, what an inspirational story! So, what made you decide to give SUP a go?

When the girls arrived and my overwhelming desire to be a Dad was a reality, I became motivated to rediscover myself as an athlete and to make my girls proud.

My first SUP session with the Sunshine Coast SUP Club was like riding a bike for the first time, I was anxious, wobbly, lacked confidence and was well out of my comfort zone. But the guys were great and made me feel so welcome and were very supportive. There were no egos and I was taught all the basics to get paddling. Now it's all about technique, tactics, skills, pace, agility, reading the conditions, competing yet maintaining the most important aspect of SUP, which is having fun!

Now that I'm a SUP enthusiast I feel, despite venturing into my late 30s, that I have finally found my perfect match with Stand Up Paddle Racing. I've always been a "jack of all trades" and only now can I see an extended future in SUP Racing.

What continues to motivate you throughout your training?

My brother Beau is a world class SUP racer; he first introduced me to the sport having carved his name on the global stage. We are very similar in training ethic and ambition, and once I started I soon became addicted! I give Beau all his strength and conditioning programs which he carries out at his local gym on the Gold Coast.

I am also very excited by a recent recruit Trevor Tunnington. I starting training Trev earlier this year and within 3 months he took out the Open Mens 500m national flatwater title and finished 2nd overall in the event behind Beau. The boys have also just competed at an event called The Lost Mills in Germany. This event is the "creme de la creme" of SUP racing. It attracts the best from all over the world to determine the fastest paddler on earth. With two events, including a 200m sprint and an 18km endurance race, the SUPers are pushed to their absolute limit. Beau and Trevor finished 3rd and 4th respectively in the 200m and Beau also showed his versatility with 4th in the 18km Distance, Trev came in at 17th and at only 17 years of age a top 20 finish at that level is an awesome effort. Needless to say, working with these guys is both rewarding and extremely motivating!

What are your qualifications and why did you set out to achieve these?

I'm a Personal Trainer with an Advanced Diploma in Fitness and Recreation, Level 2 Sports Coach and an AKF (Australian Karate Federation) instructor. Back in 1998 I was at a bit of a crossroad not knowing what career direction to take. My wife Pru, who was my girlfriend at the time, asked me what I enjoyed, I said "Sport" so she said "well go do that" – so I did!

What was your reason for taking health and fitness to the level you have?

Ambition, desire and the buzz I get when my clients kick goals and keep raising the bar. I'm a guy who can't sit still and is always looking forward. In 2012 I won the Jetts Australian Personal Trainer of the year and now I'm looking to specialise in sports-specific training targeting SUP racers, outriggers, rowers, kayakers and swimmers.

What advice would you give to men wanting to get into the best shape of their life?

"SUP" is the answer, and I say that without bias! Since I first started paddling 18 months ago I can honestly say that SUP ticks all the boxes. It's an awesome workout that targets your core, strips body fat, strengthens upper body, conditions your lower body and is totally aerobic therefore improving your cardiovascular fitness. The more it hurts the more it works! Make pain your friend as the more you can endure the greater the rewards.

Also remember that there is no such thing as a “quick fix” – training is for life so get your head around that, own it and then live it! You'll feel alive, look amazing and be awesome.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of getting involved with SUP?

Meeting new people and forming great friendships with fellow SUP enthusiasts and athletes. When you SUP you feel free and when you share that with others the feeling grows stronger and is so rewarding.


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