From Olympic canoeing to dragon boating, DUC Delite (Dallas United Crew) coach, Rich Stewart, has just added a new competitive watersport to his list of accomplishments- standup paddle board racing. We are stoked to have Rich aboard the DFW Surf crew and last weekend he took first place in his first 5K SUP race in Fort Worth.
Q: So Rich, how did your watersports career begin and what does the future hold?
“I began paddling at the age of 13 on a middle school racing team for canoeing and kayaking In Gainesville, GA, where the paddling and rowing events for the 1996 Olympics were held. I competed in my first sprint canoe national championships in 2002 (in the 13-14 year old category) winning several national championships in the 2 man canoe and eventually qualifying for the Junior World Championships in 2005 placing 17th overall. In 2008 I placed 5th in the Olympic trials. My last sprint canoe victory was the 2011 national championships in the 2 man canoe.
During this time, I also competed in dragon boating. I represented the United States in the 2010-2014 ICF world championships. I was a 1x bronze medalist in 2010 and 2x in 2012. After moving away from my hometown to Atlanta, I got the opportunity to compete in wildwater canoeing, placing 4th in the 2013 national championships.
I started coaching canoeing/kayaking and dragon boat in 2005. I’m a USA Canoe/Kayak certified high performance coach and have coached athletes at all levels, from those on corporate dragon boat teams to canoers and dragon boaters on the national team. I moved to Dallas in 2013 and promptly got involved in the paddling community. I currently coach and paddle with the DUC Delite dragon boat team, who placed fourth in 2015 at the dragon boat national championships and had two paddlers compete in the world championships this year in Moscow. After meeting Tyler and DFW Surf earlier this year, I started paddling SUP. I competed in my first race this year taking first place in 5K and am looking forward to getting more experience racing in this up and coming paddle sport!”