To most, paddleboarding is an up-and-coming sport, gaining popularity each year, but for Jenny Kalmbach, it’s been her focus for a long time. After paddling for six years, she’s established herself as one of the sport’s high profile racers, even being honored with SUP Awards’ 2011 Female Paddler of the Year. As an athlete who is passionate about both her demanding sport, and her love for the environment, she teamed up with Morgan Hoesterey in 2010 for Destination 3 Degrees, a standup paddle journey across the channels of Hawaii, to raise awareness for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and to fight against plastic contamination in the ocean. That kind of eco-conciousness is what brought the suncare brand Coola to her attention. She’s teaming up with the luxury organic company, and here, dishes about her love for paddling and their products.
What sparked your interest in stand up paddling? “I moved to Hawaii in 2005 and I got a job shortly after working at a beach and golf club. It was back when stand up was just starting out, you didn’t see it anywhere. We had a couple of standup boards at work, and a few of the guys would go out and paddle. So after some time, I started paddling and also surfing. A few years later, I entered my first paddling race. This was back in 2007, so it was still really new. It’s just so much fun and I love doing it. In 2008, a friend called to tell me about a race that was taking place in California and it was the Battle of the Paddle and they suggested I try to do it. I wasn’t really sure because I hadn’t raced against 70 other people before, but I took a chance, flew out and ended up winning the women’s division. So I think that kind of set off this whole thing in motion where I was like ‘Wow, I can compete and I love this and it’s really fun.’ I haven’t looked back since.”
You’re always outside and in the water paddling and surfing. I know you’ve teamed up with Coola Suncare as their spokesperson—how has the brand aligned with your SPF and skin needs? “Just spending so much time in the sun and being fair-skinned, it’s really important for me to cover-up. So when I’m outside, I’m generally with a hat or sunglasses or long-sleeves and I always try to wear my sunscreen. But the problem before was I was always really nervous about what was in the sunscreen so I tended to stay away from using too much sunscreen and I tried to just cover up as much as I could. And then about a year ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Coola and I really loved that it was made with natural and organic ingredients so I felt really comfortable putting it on my skin. I wear it all the time now. I’ve just absolutely fallen in love with it; it’s an incredible brand.”
What’s your favorite product? “I’d have to say the Mineral Sport SPF 35 Citrus Mimosa ($36, coolasuncare.com) is my favorite. That’s what I tend to use the most when I’m paddling. I also love their ER line, they have a good face wash, Environmental Repair Plus Clear Recovery Foam Wash ($24, coolasuncare.com). They smell so good. And the Liplux is good, too ($12, coolasuncare.com).”
So switching gears to your workout routine, how do you stay fit outside of the water? “I go to the gym 2-3 times a week and I have a program that changes every 3 weeks. I do spring training in the gym and then on top of that I do a triathlon once a year. I run, swim and bike as a side thing to stay in shape. I really enjoy biking because it’s really good for building power and endurance. So in the gym it’s spring training and then sprints on the treadmill and then outside it’s biking or swimming.”
So cool! I did my first triathlon last summer and am itching to do another this year. “Yeah! It’s so fun. I’ve done a few as relays. Two years ago, I did my first solo and I really liked it. It’s fun because it’s three different sports so you don’t feel that you’re constantly doing the same thing. You can kind of mix it up through your training so it’s really exciting. I have a Tuesday training tip I put on my blog and I talk about different exercises you can do in the gym for paddling or last week, I did a sprint workout that I like to do for running.”
I’ll definitely check that out. Do you have any favorite snacks that give you tons of energy for these intense workouts? “When I’m racing and training, I really like Honey Stinger products. They make these waffles and chews and they’re all honey-based, and organic. So I’m a really big fan of that brand. I’ve also used Bonk Breaker bars in the past, which are really delicious and they’re gluten-free so they tend to be a big hit with people.”
Any advice for someone who wants to break into paddling or try it out this summer? “Yeah! Depending on where you live, it is so accessible now anywhere that has a body of water; it can even be a pond. The best thing to do is go with somebody or find somebody who can give you a few pointers, just because the first time you do it, it’s kind of nice to have an idea of what you’re doing. But it’s a really easy sport to pick up; anybody can do it, all ages. And it’s really fun. First just try it; some people are hesitant to try it because they don’t think they can do it but anybody can do it. Just get out there and try it and just enjoy being out there.”