Gillian Gibree is a Massachusetts native who developed her love for the ocean through prone paddleboarding, ocean swimming, standup paddling and surfing while working as a lifeguard on Cape Cod. The serene New England environment was also the perfect setting to take her yoga practice into nature, and bring balance to the body after competitions and time in the water. After college, Gillian took a lifeguard position in New Zealand – a place full of adventure and untouched coastline – and her love for water sports and outdoor fitness inspired her to create Paddle Into Fitness.
After Gillian moved to San Diego, she began competing in ocean events around the world as a Roxy athlete. She placed first in the Go Pro Mountain Games & the Quiksilver Waikiki Festival in the SUP Survivor Race & the Water woman Race, and also traveled to Peru as a member of Team USA for the ISA World Championships. She’s been a regular on the podium in the Battle of the Paddle California and Hawaii, and was a top finisher in numerous national lifeguard championships. She also showed her philanthropic side by paddling across the Cape Cod Bay to raise money for the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Gillian loves exploring new places on her paddleboard as well as SUP surfing and freediving, and her goal is through her adventures and teachings to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle, follow their dreams, and give back to their local communities.
Gillian has a B.S. in Sport Management and is 200 hour E-RYT with Yoga Alliance. She has a decade of ocean lifeguarding experience, is a certified Emergency Medical Technician, and is sponsored by Roxy, Kialoa Paddles, and 404 SUP. Gillian was on the cover of Yoga Journal, SUP Australia, San Diego Magazine, and has been featured in Self, Shape, Outside Online, ESPN Women, Yahoo Sports, The Travel Channel, and NBC World of Adventure. She has also presented SUP Yoga at the San Diego Yoga Journal Conference & Wanderlust Festivals.
At 30 years of age Danny Ching has solidified himself as the premier paddle sports athlete in Southern California, and is recognized worldwide as a skilled waterman. By 15 he was racing with Lanakila’s top men’s outrigger team, leading them to top finishes locally and in Hawaii. At 16 he took up Olympic flat water kayaking winning multiple national titles and setting himself up for a path on to the Olympics. His kayaking carrier culminated in 2007 when he raced on the USA National team at the Pan-American Games in Rio Brazil.
At 18 Danny entered his first distance OC-1 race and in less than a year he had climbed to the top of local competition, capping off his run to the top by winning the Outrigger World Championship in 2010 and 2013. Danny’s stand up (SUP) career started in 2009 with a 1st place in the Hennessey’s Championships. He then backed that up with a 3rd place in his second race (the Battle of the paddle California 2009). In 2010 Danny founded 404 SUP Boards and launched his new company by winning both Battle of the Paddle races in Hawaii and California and going undefeated for the year in SUP competition. Since then, Danny has also founded Hippo Stick SUP Paddles and recorded multiple SUP victories, his most memorable coming at the prestigious Battle of the Paddle California and Hawaii, including 3 BOP Elite victories, 6 BOP distance victories, 7 Overall BOPs.
Growing up in the coastal town of Ventura CA, Kara has always had a love for the ocean and water sports. After college and receiving a B.S. in Kinesiology, Kara traveled through South East Asia where she developed her passion for yoga. To continue her education in yoga, she became certified through the 200hr Teacher Training at San Diego’s Bird Rock Yoga. During her training she heard of Stand up Paddleboard Yoga and immediately was drawn to the combination of yoga and the ocean.
As soon as possible, Kara became certified through Paddle Into Fitness to share the effortless beauty and peace found through the connection of yoga and water, on a paddleboard. Kara hopes to encourage her students to achieve the same effortless connection of mind, body and soul when practicing yoga in nature that she feels when practicing SUP Yoga.
David has a strong background in water based sports, with roots beginning as an avid youth swimmer. He competed as a Division I swimmer for Eastern Michigan University and worked as an ocean lifeguard for the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Opportunities presented themselves to further broaden his horizons in regards to ocean sports. This lead to surfing, stand up paddling, and attending lifeguard competitions and prone paddle events as a fun goal to train towards.
In 2008, David made the transition from east to west coast and had been lifeguarding for the City of San Diego for several years. He has been training on both stand-up and prone paddleboards. In 2011, he competed in his longest paddle race to date, the Catalina Classic marathon paddle race. He has since set his sights on the crossing from the Hawaiian Islands Molakai to Oahu. After attaining a Bachelor in Fine Arts and teaching degree, David has become a local artist focusing on surf themes, and recently designed a promotional poster for a charity paddleboard race.
Jessica Matthews is a New York native, avid travel and adventure seeker who has been swimming since she could walk. With a passion for all things health and fitness, she is dedicated to educating and inspiring others to lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives. Jessica is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College as well as an adjunct kinesiology professor at MiraCosta College, teaching and developing courses in the yoga certification program.
As a nationally recognized fitness expert and subject matter expert, she contributes regularly to numerous publications such as Shape magazine and Oprah.com and consults for various health and fitness organizations. She also speaks at conferences and events worldwide, offering yoga-based educational sessions. Prior to teaching full-time, Jessica worked as an exercise physiologist and prior to that as aquatics director for a hospital-based wellness center given her background in lifeguarding, aquatic fitness and swim instruction. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in physical education teacher education, and is an ACE-certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and health coach. In addition, she is an E-RYT 500 through Yoga Alliance and a trained SUP yoga instructor through Paddle into Fitness.
A native of Santa Barbara, California, Nicole grew up with a deep connection to the ocean. She fell in love with surfing and snowboarding while pursuing her BS in Psychology at UC San Diego and raced competitively on their undefeated Ski and Snowboard Team. At the age of 23, Nicole was diagnosed with osteoporosis and severe hormone deficiencies after sustaining multiple serious injuries three years in a row while racing and spending eight weeks confined to a wheel chair. In order to get back on her feet, she turned to the practice of yoga and discovered Pilates, working hard and strengthening her spine.
Nicole completed her Paddle Into Fitness SUP Yoga teacher certification in Spring 2014, which was the missing link, enabling her to bring her love of SUP, surfing, and the ocean up to her home now back in the mountains of Mammoth Lakes, Ca. Nicole has most recently completed her advanced Therapeutic Yoga training w/ Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal, and is keeping her racing roots alive by teaching Therapeutic Yoga for the Mammoth Mountain Ski and Snowboard Teams. She also completed her 500 hour RYT in Peru and Bali, trips of a lifetime, w/ renowned yogi Deborah Koehn and Yoga Adventure.