Published: Apr 3, 2014
Katherine Pyne ’14 completed her first SUP racing series last summer, placing twice. Photo from Katherine Pyne
Katherine Pyne ’14 likes to be challenged — whether it’s on the tennis court or out on the ocean.
A member of UT’s tennis team
, Pyne has always been drawn to fitness. When her high school tennis coach started the stand-up paddleboarding business SUP Sarasota and convinced Pyne to give it a try, she was hooked.
“People don’t realize how tough it can be,” Pyne said.
That’s because Pyne isn’t lazing her way down a river. She’s digging into chop among 50 or so others going head to head — or rather, board to board — in competitive SUP races.
In addition to being an athlete, Pyne, a communication major, hosts a health and fitness blog
that was featured on the Wordpress Fresh Pressed List, and through her social media networking, she has become a brand ambassador for the shoe company SKORA. After graduation, Pyne said she is hoping to attend UT’s graduate program in exercise and nutrition science
Pyne completed her first SUP racing series last summer, placing twice. Once tennis season ends, she looks forward to training for another competitive summer, this time having signed with HovieSUP.
“You’re alone and you’re pushing yourself,” said Pyne of the thrill of the sports she loves, which in addition to tennis and SUP includes running. But SUP is unique in the physical challenge it presents to her.
“It is so hard on your body. You have to really train,” said Pyne. “But I think the fact that it’s hard makes it fun.”
For emphasis, she noted that after a SUP competition, she is totally spent. However, after a tennis match this past week, she went for a 6-mile run. It could help that she has spent most of her life training for tennis and only just the past three years with SUP.
Pyne is a transfer student who has enjoyed her senior year in one of the best locations for water lovers. She stores her board just minutes from campus at SUP shop Urban Kai on the Hillsborough River. If she heads left, she’ll wind her way through old Tampa neighborhoods. If she heads right, she paddles past Plant Park into downtown, around Harbour Island and into open water.
"I love paddling by the cruise ships,” said Pyne, who grew up in Bradenton, just moments from the beach and with a river running through her backyard.
The versatility of stand-up paddleboarding means Pyne can do it almost anywhere, whether saltwater or fresh. She’s paddled with friends about 7 miles round trip from Anna Maria Island to Egmont Key, often with groups of stingrays, sharks or manatee swimming underneath, and out at Lido Key, where dolphins bump her board or paddle, wanting to play.
“It’s hard to race train when the dolphins come out, because you want to stop and play,” Pyne said.
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