I consider myself a rare fifth generation native of Las Vegas, Nevada. For the past 11 years, I’ve managed apartment communities in and around Las Vegas. As single mom, I love the outdoors and playing in the sun. From an early age, I enjoyed many activities including gymnastics, dance, swimming and hiking the trails at beautiful Red Rock National Park and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Most recently, I found a passion that combines my love of the sun, water and exercise–stand up paddle boarding or SUP.
I’ve spent most of my life in Las Vegas with the exception of two years in Fort Wainwright Alaska—the Last Great Frontier– and two years in Denver, Colorado. Spending winters in Colorado and Alaska was a major culture shock! It didn’t take long for me to return home to Las Vegas with my daughter Emma, where I could once again enjoy my favorite activities in the warm Las Vegas weather.
In June of 2010, while on vacation at Laguna Beach, I was introduced to SUP. After my first lesson, I knew this was the sport for me. The ability to be on the water and in the sun all while getting a full body workout is everything I love about the outdoors. When I returned home, I started researching to see if there was a location in the area that offered SUP rentals. I was ecstatic to find a business at Lake Las Vegas. ‘Paddle to the Core’ is a short 30 minute drive from the city and they even have small boards perfect for my eight year-old daughter. Now, in the spring and summer (and sometimes in the fall), Emma and I can get out on the water, enjoy the sun and take in the gorgeous views.
With all of this new fun in the sun, I had a new challenge – how to keep my daughter and myself protected from UV rays. Prior to 2008, I did not have concerns about sun protection. As most people of my generation, being protected in the sun meant putting a little sunscreen on the nose and shoulders. That misperception changed in 2008 when my mother, Brenda, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After watching her battle cancer, undergo multiple surgeries and years of chemotherapy, my views changed. Since cancer is prevalent in my family, my mother insisted that I start being proactive with a healthy lifestyle that included being protected from the sun. And I knew applying sunscreen was not enough.
I made a concerted effort to cover up when going out to SUP. But staying covered on the water has not been easy. Sunscreen helps but for the long amounts of time I am out on and in the water I knew I was putting myself, and my daughter, at risk. Wearing shirts made my mother happy, but were too restrictive for the amount of moving needed to SUP. Also, the cotton fabric gets heavy when wet, feels rough on the skin when moving and doesn’t offer high levels of protection. So this summer, I will be using Coolibar UPF 50+ Swimwear in a lightweight flexible fabric perfect for the active water sport enthusiast.
My goals for 2013 include: 1) to train on the lake to increase energy and stamina needed for dance competitions throughout the year; 2) to compete in a charity run for cancer awareness; 3) to increase my exercise by learning SUP yoga (that is yoga done on a SUP board in the water!). I’m excited to participate as a ‘Coolibar Athlete’ and look forward to pushing myself to meet the challenges I have set for the year while staying protected in the sun!