“In the world of stand-up paddling, Appleby is Abby Wambach, Serena Williams, Brittney Griner and Danica Patrick all rolled into one. She’s talented, fiercely competitive, tremendously well-respected and a true ambassador of the sport. Oh, and she’s also not afraid to leave the guys in her wake.”
ESPN on Candice Appleby, Queen of SUP
Candice’s story begins with a love of the ocean. She started surfing at age nine and competing at ten. At eleven, she was thrilled to move with her family to San Clemente, California, one of the best surf towns in the United States. There, she competed in longboarding and shortboarding throughout her adolescence and became captain of the San Clemente High School surf team, helping SCHS take the national title for four consecutive years.
From early on, it seemed Candice’s promise as an ocean athlete knew no bounds.
In 2003, she surprised many by skipping a chance to represent the United States in the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Games of Surfing in South Africa. Instead, Candice moved to Hawaii to pursue an education and surfing full force. (She also earned a B.S. in Tropical Plants and Soil Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.)
It was during this time the SoCal native’s life changed dramatically. Committing to the call of the ocean, Candice trained and conditioned hard, honored to be mentored by legendary waterman families, like Keaulana, Desoto and Froiseth. Her waveriding skills and endurance continued to advance and gain her attention, soon earning her the badge of “waterman” herself.
Life took a prophetic turn in 2006, when Candice decided to give stand paddle surfing a try, after watching it for season on Oahu’s West Side. Intrigued by yet another way to ride waves, she immediately started teaching herself the sport of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) from what she had learned by watching the skilled waterman of Makaha Beach. With her amazing fitness level and surfing background, Candice Appleby was soon competing against—and beating—men in SUP racing and surfing.
After eight years in Hawaii, Candice returned to San Clemente, proudly making it her home base for training and conditioning. She also co-founded Performance Paddling to provide SUP adult instruction, private coaching, team-building events and kids’ camps, and to help shape the next generation of SUP athletes.
In 2008, at the Duke Kahanamoku Oceanfest, Candice became the first and only woman to beat men in a professional SUP surfing event, winning both the women’s and Open Pro divisions. She went on to claim victory six times at Battle of the Paddle, and twice after it became the Pacific Paddle Games—an event long considered to be the World Championship or “Superbowl” of SUP. She’s also been #1 Female SUP Athlete of the Year three times and has collected 3 gold medals for the United States over an international field at the ISA World Championships in 2015 and 2016.
Today, Candice Appleby is known as a pioneer of SUP and also its foremost champion. ESPN W calls her “Abby Wambach, Serena Williams, Brittney Griner and Danica Patrick all rolled into one. She’s talented, fiercely competitive, tremendously well-respected and a true ambassador of the sport.”