Victoria co founded Starboard NZ with her partner Jeremy. "PaddleFit Pro Coach and ISA SUP Instructor Victoria Stuart has been paddling since 2008, and enjoys all aspects of SUP: racing, downwinding, surfing, SUP Yoga, fitness, and adventuring. Her passion is sharing her love and knowledge of SUP with others. She has helped to develop and train physiotherapists to deliver the PaddleOn SUP Rehabilitation program with The PINC & STEEL Cancer Rehabilitation Trust, and organises SUP events and classes to help inspire and give confidence, especially to women and juniors."
As pioneers of stand up paddling in New Zealand since 2008, Starboard SUPSNZ's purpose has always been to nurture the growth of stand up paddling and a sense of community around the sport by creating experiences with a sense of vitality, freedom and connection. Free on the water enjoying the energy of our blue planet. Feeling connected to the people we share experiences with. Feeling alive using our own energy to move on the water.
Victoria and Jeremy from SUPSNZ live and breathe SUP. Ten years into it and we still love SUP racing, surfing, foiling and sharing our vast knowledge of the ocean, the sport, and all that goes with it. This year we have taken another step into the future with the launch of SUPWell, the "paddle with us" side of SUPSNZ, and start to take sustainability to a whole new level with Starboard.
Backing SeaCleaners, Love the Sea and the Eat Less Plastic mission, along with Parley for the Ocean and Sustainable Surf, we're putting the health of our waterways and our planet right at the top and helping to do something about the fast growing threat of marine plastic pollution. Water is our life force, so when our wild waters are not healthy, neither are we. We can all play a part - no matter how small. Join us on the journey to Live a Deep Blue Life with Starboard.
THE SUPSNZ BACKSTORY.
Our story began in Auckland 2008 with frequent, concerned calls to the Coastguard about a windsurfer who had lost his rig. That was Jeremy Stephenson, the founder of Starboard NZ, who was pioneering a new sport on the Waitemata, stand up paddling. No rig required. Jeremys lifelong passion for water sports became the family business when he began distributing Starboard stand up paddle boards, paddles and accessories in NZ.
Jeremy persuaded friends old and new to try this sport and with his partner Victoria Stuart , began creating occasions for a fledgling community to enjoy and learn about stand up paddling together. These grew and became the Hyundai Pro Longboard Tour, the first ever NZ SUP Championships, weekly SUP racing at Takapuna and that unmissable big, pink charity event, Paddle For Hope.
Starboard NZ events were truly a family affair. With three young kids, family and friends rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help. That's a family business.
At the heart of the growth of Starboard NZ was exciting New Zealanders about the possibilities of stand up paddling and providing them with best quality stand up paddle equipment and advice. Even for water sports people though, excitement developed into to wanting to know you are doing it right. So in 2014 Starboard NZ helped Brody Welte bring the PaddleFit coaching system to New Zealand and with that a SUP coaching side to their business, complimenting equipment and events. From Fitness to exploring, to yoga and splashing around at the beach. The job of exciting, educating and coaching more New Zealander's about SUP just got bigger!
In 2018 Helen Blair joined the Starboard family and with Victoria co-created SUPWell so you can paddle with Starboard NZ as well as buy your gear from us. SUPWell provides stand up paddling coaching programs and events with a range of abilities and needs in mind: from wellbeing to rehabilitation from cancer treatment to fitness. Getting you on the right board and helping you learn how to get the best from it are both equally important.
"We all paddle our Starboard gear every day so we know it well and trust it. We spend a good chunk of our lives on the water sharing the stoke of that first glide, that first wave, that first pivot turn with Kiwi's of all ages and abilities making sure your experience of stand up paddling is nothing but the best."
"For Kiwi Waterman Jeremy Stephenson, SUP is a way of life. Whether his morning’s spent catching waves and the afternoon SUP racing, or he’s simply paddling his kids around the rocks, every day is an awesome day. Jeremy has been standup paddleboarding since 2006 - competing at five Molokai2Oahu Championship 32-mile races. He has been foil-boarding for 15 years, tow-surfs, and ocean yacht-races, has been an Olympic rep sailor and NZ Jet Ski Champion. When he’s not getting people on the water, you’ll find him mountainbiking in the forest."
Helen gets a huge buzz from coaching others to achieve results and creating a safe and stimulating atmosphere for learning. Not so surprising then that her career before taking to the water was in Human Resources. She's passionate about more New Zealanders experiencing the wellbeing and fitness benefits of paddling and it's magic ingredient, water. A qualified PaddleFit Pro and ISA SUP coach, and Starboard NZ Team Rider, Helen leads a range of classes in Auckland's Eastern Bays. Helen’s also a dog lover, and she loves to run and cycle when she’s not on the water.