Team Ambassadors

As part of our effort to Be E.P.I.C. (Every Paddler In California) we consider everyone to be a team paddler here at Cali Paddler. Regardless of home-waters, age, speed, or craft. In an effort to help build our family and share our story, we have teamed up with individuals who are our official ambassadors. It is our hope they can help us meet you next!

The following paddlers share our vision of the paddling community as a unified entity. They care about conservation of our waters. And they embrace the connection to the water-craft, the paddle, the water and the great state we live in. Oh yah, and they are really studly paddlers too!

Feel free to reach out to any of them and inquire about Cali Paddler events, apparel, and our efforts.

2018 Roster

Brendan Lam | Jordan McKee | Alan Romero
Loraine Gruber | Nate Errez | Teresa "Tree" Rogerson

Our Charter Members

Red Pedrick | Kristin Thomas | Sammie Barlow | Tony Farjardo | Alex Gil

Brendan Lam

I am a San Francisco native, born and raised and attended San Francisco State University. I have always been into sports and outdoor activities including participating in high school football, track and field, Olympic weight lifting. Now I do more rock climbing, hiking, camping but my favorite activity is being on the water.

I have paddled in various crafts which include: Dragon boat, OC1, OC2, OC6, aluminum canoe, SUP. I have been paddling dragon boat since 2004 and also coached all levels of competition in the same time. (High school, College, Novice, Recreational and Competitive). Then I moved on to other crafts. I first started off OC’ing just for more water time for dragon boat but now I have been racing more. I also got more exposure to OC6 and aluminum canoe racing when I lived in Houston TX. Recently, I have picked up stand up paddling to increase my paddling fitness.

What I love most about paddling is the community. Anywhere you go, people are always welcoming. I also enjoy the teamwork, the challenge, traveling and making friends from across the world.

Team Ambassador - Brendan Lam

Region: Northern California.
Craft: Dragon Boat, Outrigger

Jordan McKee

Growing up in Northern California I have many memories of playing in the beautiful lakes and rivers the north state has to offer. I moved to San Diego in 2002 for college and became obsessed with the ocean. I spent the next 11 years surfing, spear fishing and swimming before discovering the sport of SUP. Over the past 5 years my passion has been SUP. SUP was a game changer for me in that it allowed me to be in the water longer, a chance to connect deeper with the environment, and to become involved in one of the coolest communities around. The paddling community has been a second family and is one of the parts of the sport I love the most. No matter the craft, age, or skill, we all are connected.

I am now a SUP addict and have paddled in places across the globe including Indonesia, Columbia River Gorge, rivers and lakes in numerous states, and the Holy Grail...Hawaii. One thing I love about SUP is that I am more in love with this sport today than I was when I first started. It has opened new doors and fostered many friendships, all while satisfying my desire to compete. I have some big plans in 2018. Along with the dozen or so local races, I plan on competing in Maui to Molokai and a relay of a Catalina crossing. I am also interested in learning new types of craft. I have thrown a prone paddleboard into my training and am looking forward to paddling outrigger in the near future. See you on the water!

Team Ambassador - Jordan McKee

Region: Southern California.
Craft: SUP, Prone.

Alan Romero

I was born and raised on O'ahu, Hawai'i where I grew up as Navy brat and later in my teens living with my mother in Palolo Valley. I graduated Saint Louis High School (now called Saint Louis School) in 1969. I started surfing when I was 13 and never stopped. When we were groms surfing # 3's in Waikiki, we used to ""valet"" the surfboards of surfing legends like Jock Sutherland, Fred Hemmings, Felipe Pomar, Joey Cabell and others who would dominate the spot on a big South. We would hang out inside to get their boards when they would wipe out and paddle them back out to them in the hopes that we would be allowed to pick up a few scrap waves from the next set. It took years to become a full fledged member of the pecking order! My high school was a private all boys Catholic high school with a prestigious sports program and record. A lot of my fellow school mates and friends had Outrigger Canoe Club stickers on their cars, which I didn't know much about except that you had to be well off in order to be a member. I had no idea about the outrigger paddling history of this prestigious club, I was a happy kanaka surfing some of the best secluded board and body surfing spots on the south and west shores of O'ahu. At age 23, the wanderlust got the best of me as I took a deep breath and joined the US Navy during the last years of the Vietnam war. My first tour took me to the Philippines in 1973 as an aviation electronics technician onboard the USS Oriskany, which is now an artificial diving reef of the Gulf coast of Florida! I spent that last three years of my Naval career as a full time engineering student at the University of Washington (1976-79). I loved Seattle and learned to sail there and lived aboard my first two sailboats. It was a far reach from being in Hawai'i but I quickly learned how to adapt to cold!

Later in my adult life I ended up in California and with my engineering background went to work in the semiconductor/electronics industry in Silicon Valley (aka San Francisco Bay area) for some 20 years. Living in Santa Cruz and raising two boys, I led a pretty balanced existence working, raising a family and surfing some of the best waves the Central Coast has to offer. At age 50, I took the family to Hawai'i for vacation and saw something that left a huge imprint on me. It was a person on a one-man outrigger canoe (most likely of the John Martin era) surfing waves off Canoes in Waikiki. Back in California, I painstakingly researched the availability of this intriguing water craft and purchased my first OC1. I haven't been the same since, owning two OC1s (Kai Wa'a Scorpius XS and Ares Pro) and an OC2 (Tempest). I have enjoyed paddling with several Bay Area canoe clubs over the years and done many races in California and Hawai'i which would include the Queen Lili'uokalani Race, the Moloka'i Hoe, the Henry Ayau, the Napali Challenge and Catalina as well as our NCOCA races. I currently work for the Monterey Bay Air Resources District as an Air Quality Planner. In this capacity, I manage several grant programs that fund projects that directly reduce motor vehicle emissions. I am very passionate about the use of clean energy and vehicles, in particular electric vehicles. I currently drive a Nissan LEAF all electric vehicle, which has changed my whole outlook about transportation and the driving experience. As I move closer to retirement, I am committed to advocate for sustainable living practices and look forward to being more than just a steward but rather as an active participant.

Team Ambassador - Alan Romero

Region: Northern California.
Craft: Outrigger Canoe.

Loraine Gruber

For Loraine, any day spent on the water is a good day. An avid outdoor woman, Loraine discovered stand up paddleboarding while living in Colorado. As a Pisces and water lover, the feeling of reconnecting to the water in the landlocked Rocky Mountains was amazing and brought back memories of growing up playing in the water on Long Island, NY.

In 2013 while in California for a business trip, she raced the Battle of the Paddle at Doheny State Beach. Paddling through the surf for the first time, she discovered the Pacific Ocean’s vast playground. Paddling with dolphins and seeing her first whale spout sealed the deal.

Less than two months later, Loraine loaded her board on her car and moved to Cardiff by the Sea, California. She surfs both regular and stand up paddle, and her favorite breaks are Cardiff Reef and SanO. Loraine is an avid prone paddler, training with North County Paddlers and has set the Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge, the Carolina Cup Graveyard 13 miler, the Jay Moriarity Memorial Race, and the Chattajack 31 as her goal races for this year. She recently started 6-man outrigger canoe training with the Hanohano Outrigger Club. Loraine has been team ambassador with Ocean of Hope for the last three years, raising money to support the Sarcoma Alliance and the sea of people affected by cancer.

With over 20 years of experience working in marketing and event organization for the outdoor, snow and paddlesports industries, Loraine feels extremely fortunate to have married her lifestyle with her career and share her passions to positively influence others to get outside and on the water to play.

Team Ambassador - Loraine Gruber

Region: Southern California.
Craft: Prone Paddleboard, SUP, Surf-Ski.

Nate Errez

I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and got my start in paddlesports when I was 13. My mom "strongly encouraged" me to join the local sprint kayak club because she worked full time and needed a place for me to go after school. After a few weeks I fell in love with sprint kayaking. Within my first few days of practicing with the club we watched a documentary called "16 Days of Glory" which had a segment on the American kayaking legend, Greg Barton. The film detailed his 1988 double Olympic gold medal performance and this was the moment that inspired me to keep training in the sport of sprint kayaking. Through my sport, I got to know Chris Barlow, the founder of the San Diego Canoe and Kayak Team and 1992 Olympian, who started a kayaking scholarship program at Point Loma Nazarene University, where I am now in my sophomore year. If it were not for paddling, I would not be living in San Diego today.

It wasn't until I moved to San Diego however that I discovered all the different, unique and awesome paddlesports that exist. Since moving here I have been able to try my hand in Surfski paddling, outrigger paddling, SUP paddling, and Dragon Boat. All of these other sports come with their own communities and it has been amazing to be able to get a glimpse of each of these. The ocean paddling community is something that I find really special here in California because it is so much more diverse than I am used to growing up in the solely sprint paddling community. The winter race series is one of my favorite things that I get to do with my paddling because it is great training, super fun and I get to meet some pretty cool folks. As much as I love all other forms of paddling, Sprint Kayaking is where I focus the large majority of my effort. Right now, I am training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games and 2018 is an exciting year because the pathway to the games is becoming clearer every day.

Overall, I am extremely excited and grateful to be a part of the Cali Paddler team. Knowing that I have people who believe in me is very encouraging and I can not wait to share that energy with everyone else!

Team Ambassador - Nate Errez

Region: Southern California.
Craft: Surf-Ski, K1.

Teresa "Tree" Rogerson

I came to surf kayaking from whitewater paddling all over the South and then on the Kern River in southern California. During the depths of a Massachusetts winter in graduate school, I looked toward Santa Cruz for spring break and a guy (that I soon dumped after arriving). I saw an ad for the Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Festival and thought: “Oh I could so do that. Easy.”

Finally, in 2003, after a serious tenure playing footbag net (“Hacky Sack” over a 5′ high net) in Santa Cruz, Canada, and Europe, it was time to follow up on that original inspiration and get wet again. I totally sucked at surf kayaking. I ate my original words with seaweed and foam on the side, though a good roll and strokes saved me from being a complete kook. I began entering contests immediately, as if doing so would notch me upwards. Finally, in 2007 at the Worlds Championship in Spain, I took 2nd in Women’s High Performance. In 2017 I brought home 3rd in Women's High Performance at the worlds surf kayak comp in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

Over my 17 years in the Bay Area I have taken up with gusto other paddle sports in one of the best water playgrounds on the planet. One of my favorites is downwind stand up paddling. I have served the paddling community by some teaching and guiding with Adventure Sports Unlimited, California Canoe and Kayak, volunteer efforts, and directing the California 100 in 2016, a one day, 100 mile downstream paddle race on the Sacramento River.

Team Ambassador - Teresa "Tree" Rogerson

Region: Northern California.
Craft: Surf Kayak, SUP.

Red Pedrick

If you know Red, and have had the privilege to paddle with him, you know he leaves it all on the water. Whether he is coaching 6-man outrigger canoe, paddling his OC1, exploring on his SUP or racing and coaching dragon boat, Red knows the stoke of paddling. While sporting a very accomplished résumé (racing the Catalina Crossing both directions on the same weekend, Pailolo Challenge, Queen Liliʻuokalani, and Molokai Hoe, sitting every seat during a 9-man race, and racing the socal winter series on his OC1) his humble and approachable attitude conceal his hard-work approach to be the best paddler he can be. Chances are you heard Red cheering for other paddlers as they finished, saw him carrying other people's canoes, and witnessed him picking up trash on the beach. Red is stoked to be paddling any craft and is a shining example of what it is to be a Cali Paddler. Just be careful after a race while he is eating...he might mistake your hand for a chicken strip and bite it right off.

Cali Paddler Team Paddler Red

Region: Southern California.
Craft: OC1, OC2, OC6, SUP, Surf-Ski, Dragon-boat.

Kristin Thomas

Every so often you come across a paddler who after a race you think, ‘wow they are really fast’. But perhaps you are too little intimidated by their on-the-water prowess to introduce yourself. Well not only is Kristin a great paddler, but chances are, before you have the chance to be intimidated, you have already been greeted with a smile and pulled into a post-paddle hug or given a congratulatory high-five. And that is what we value the most.

With a water background of life-guarding, swim instruction, windsurfing, surfing and everything that could connect her with the Pacific Ocean, paddling was a natural next step. In 2010 Kristin began paddling SUP, and has seized upon every chance she can to share her stoke with others. She can be found paddling SUP, prone and OC1, and has an inspiringly humble personality. We are honored to have her a part of our team.

Kristin Thomas Cali Paddler Team Paddler SUP, Prone, OC1

Region: Southern California.
Craft: SUP, Prone, OC1

Samantha "Sammie" Barlow

Sammie definitely grew up as a water kid. She was placed in swimming lessons as soon as she able to walk but she was introduced to the water and Kayaking even sooner by her father. Her swimming passion grew into a water polo passion where she was affectionately named “The Fish” because of her speed and agility in the water.

Her paddling passion emerged when she was just about 2 after her father and a friend made her a little kid style boat. Sammie was just a little one, and so a cement block was needed to weigh the boat down properly for use. Dedication and ingenuity to be on the water! She is a Dual Athlete (water polo and Kayaking) however her main focus at this point is training to become a top Kayaker. Sammie has her eyes set on the 2020 USA Olympic Team. We think she has what it takes! Already crushing it in Kayak, she is posting some impressive 1st place marks in K1, K2, K4 at Nationals as well as 2015 Athlete of the Week Union Tribune/Hall of Champions and the 2013 USA Francine Fox Award.

Most notable to us is Sammie Barlow's energetic smile, and warm genuine presence. She enjoys her paddling and enjoys sharing that good vibe with others. We are proud to have her as a Cali Paddler Team Paddler.

Cali Paddler Team Paddler Sammie

Region: International and Southern California.
Craft: K1, K2, K4, Surf-Ski

Tony Fajardo

Tony truly encapsulates what we consider to be a Cali Paddler. He loves the water and is often seen at beach cleanups or with a bucket on his board. He loves exploring our waters, (ask him about paddling in Mammoth and June Lakes). He will try any craft out there (SUP, Outrigger,  Dragonboat so far with more to come). And he is always striving to push himself to be the best paddler he can be. But ask him how his race was, despite being darn fast, and he will humbly acknowledge all the other paddlers who were out there sharing the water with him.

Tony is stoked to be a paddler, and when asked about the sport, he says it best as he credits the community... "The enthusiasm, gratitude, respect and positive attitude I have toward paddling SUP, outrigger and dragon boat are a direct result of all the amazing inspirational people I have met or observed and to all those friendly individuals who taken the time to share these special sports with me. Paddling (the activity, the people, the community, the environment, the adventure, the challenge, the health benefits, etc.) always puts a smile on my face and I’m very thankful for that – hopefully I can share that with others."

Keep smiling Tony!

Tony Fajardo - SUP Outrigger Dragonboat

Region: Southern California.
Craft: SUP, Outrigger

Lorraine "Alex" Gil

We could not be more excited to have Alex join our team of paddlers who represent us on the water and off. Born and raised in California, with time spent living in both SoCal and NorCal, Alex knows and loves our waters. She started paddling as a teenager continues to paddle as an adult. With an athletic background in basketball, beach volleyball, and cycling, paddling is where her heart is. In addition to being a talented water-women in outrigger paddling, with a very impressive resume of races and results on the water, she is a great ambassador of good-will and positive energy in the paddling community. Alex has aided us to connect with the amazing paddlers and teams in Northern California and helps us align with regional conservation efforts we can help support. In addition, Alex's appreciation and respect for the culture of our water sports and their important history, align with our love of all things paddling. In her words, "Paddling for me, is like music... No matter what the language..that anyone can bring all people together...just like this awesome sport we all share and have a love for...paddling." Be sure to ask her any questions about the great things taking place at Cali Paddler at the next race or paddle you see her at.

Cali Paddler Team Paddler Sammie

Region: Northern California.
Craft: OC1, OC6.

You interested in being a Team Paddler or know someone who would be a perfect candidate? Contact us and tell us about them, their paddling, goals on the water and off and why you think they (or you!) would be a great ambassador for Cali Paddler.

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