RM Paddle: Team USA's Shane Scoggins Up Close and Personal

Our interview with Gaviota Coast's well travelled waterman

If you’ve ever met Shane, you’ll know within a few moments that he definitely broke the mold.  His steady dose of self-deprecating humor is really a cover-up for a super hero of an ocean athlete.  Once you race against him, you’ll soon learn that Shane is someone who strives for constant perfection - to the point of breaking.  He describes himself as a “spotted loud mouth,” but we know him as a waterman, lifeguard, and member of the recent Team USA squad that just returned from racing at the ISA PUP and Paddleboard World Championships held on Lake Granada, Nicaragua.  We caught up with him on his way to work as one of two full-time lifeguards for the State of California in Monterey.


RM: Shane, how was Nicaragua and the ISA SUP and Paddleboard World Champs?

It was incredible to see the progression from Peru to Nicaragua.  Paddling has blossomed in Latin American countries and was awesome to see.  I got to see some bizarre paddleboard shapes and creativity that is sparking a paddleboard renaissance.  The paddlers there can’t get enough money to go race Molokai, but at this event there are local guys getting exposure to international athletes and different training and racing techniques.

RM: You seem to be logging some quality overseas racing these days, how did those opportunities come about?

The first reason was a result of my love of surfing, lifeguarding, and paddling - the perfect trifecta - and a good showing at [lifeguard] regionals and nationals on the board.  I ended up training in Australia in 2009 at Kurrawa and that rolled into my first Wieland Shield.  Getting spankings in Australia helped me improve and I gained a new respect for the effort that guys like Brian Murphy have to put in to make it down there.  That’s where it all started.

RM: With all of your travels and racing, where is your favorite place to log ocean time?

My favorite place is on the Santa Barbara/Gaviota Coast.  It’s hard to explain, but I have this visceral attachment to that zone.  I’m most at peace with the people and that environment.  

RM: What about internationally?

Nicaragua was the most humbling place to visit.  As a privileged tourist, I realized what a luxury it is to do what we do.  It makes you realize - they don’t go for a run, they go to work.

RM: How do you manage to fit in the training with the full time State Parks gig?

Training is very sporadic.  I had a solid back injury, and I’m learning to be more effective with my time.  Cross training is pretty cliche, but there is always a craft for the conditions.  But training doesn’t happen alone very easily.  Paddling is a family sport and I like to have someone that’s going after it to train with.  It’s more about managing relationships and friendships to have someone to train with and that’s pretty cool because I can go anywhere and train with a friend.

RM: Besides paddling, what else do you mix in?  Have you gotten on a SUP?

Lately I’ve been training on the surf ski and 6 man to be part of a team.  I have respect for SUP because it has attracted elite, olympic caliber athletes.

RM: Earlier you mentioned a paddleboarding renaissance, but SUPing has been blowing up for almost a decade now, is it here to stay or do you see a return to paddling’s roots underway?

The thing with supping is that everyone can do it; it’s dry and comfortable.  Paddling is uncomfortable because you’re getting cold and wet so not everyone is into it.  You can’t deny [paddleboarding’s] lineage to surfing, playing in the ocean, and lifesaving.  Try and load a person on a 30 inch wide board and paddle him in through the surf.  Australia is an interesting case study when you make it accessible, it can be popular - just like soccer in Europe and water polo on the west coast.  In fact, if it wasn’t for Joe Bark loaning me a board before I saved up to buy a used Bark stock board - which I eventually parlayed into a custom Bark - I would have never been able to pull it off.

RM: Your fiance is no stranger to the ocean - do you get out there together to train?

She’s on the bowling team so we try to get out there on Tuesday nights.  We got a board that fits her perfectly.

RM: Did you say you’re on a bowling team together?

[laughs] That’s what we call the Harbor Rat crew.  We do the harbor laps on Tuesday nights with a bunch of great guys.

RM: Ahhhh, ha, ha.  That’s a solid crew up there!

Speaking of boards, has Joe Bark conned you into joining him on the Catalina Marathon program yet?   

I would give a digit, probably my pinkie, to do it.  The cause, Callie’s Cause for Addison’s daughter, was amazing to see all those people out there this year.  Unfortunately with work and time it’s geographically challenging for me to get down there to pull it off.  But that shared experience and camaraderie through suffering together - that’s how people build bonds.

RM: What’s next in your race calendar?

I’m definitely not getting any younger or stronger, but I would love to make the World’s team and go to France.  I love training and building the machine, but being part of the team and participating in this is an incredible opportunity.  France?  It will be unreal!  The guys at ISA are the same guys that will be at the World Lifesaving Championship, only instead of board shorts, they’ll all be in Speedos.

RM: Any last shout outs?

The guys at Foundation Training and Platinum Performance Training in Santa Barbara are doing some amazing things and are really on to something.  Surftech deserves credit for making boards strong and affordable.  I’m inspired by the guys who are out there struggling but still going for it - more than the guys that are just amazing athletes.  Thanks to Joe Bark for all the great boards and perfecting the craft.  Pete Stirling, he’s supported me through his companies that he’s affiliated with.  Maui Jim deserves some love for the great glasses.  Jay Butki - for all the time he’s put into these trips and contributing to surf lifesaving races.  Ian Cairns for the USA National Team and ISA.  And guys like Brian Symanski for doing huge things to support the sport through innovation.  Oh, and a big shout out to anyone that was a Rookie in the last 2 years.  I see you and you’re killing it!

RM: Shane, thanks for the time and good luck!

1.9K 224