Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Congratulations! After reviewing your profile and resume, you have been chosen to represent GoPro at the highest level for the upcoming season. You seem to have what it takes to BE a HERO and have the qualities and characteristics we look for in a support athlete.

Sweet deal from GoPro, I look forward to being a HERO for them in the upcoming season!

GoPro produces the famous HD HERO® line of wearable and gear-mountable cameras and accessories, making it easy for people to capture and share their lives’ most exciting moments in high definition. GoPro’s products are sold through specialty retailers in more than 50 countries and online.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm a diabetic and I wear flip flops......

I grew up wearing flip flops. When I was a kid in the Philippines everyone wore flip flops. I’m pretty sure it was the national foot wear, of course unless you were Imelda Marcos who made international news with the stories about her massive shoe collection. But I bet even she had flip flops. I also lived in Hawaii for almost 5 years on the Big Island, where flip flops or slippas were definitely the norm. I still am not happy unless I have a decent pair of flip flops.
So here’s the gig. When I was diagnosed with diabetes a number of years back the doctors and the diabetes educator’s told me that I could no longer wear flip flops or go bare foot ever again.
O.K., let’s talk about this; I am a surfer, swimmer and pretty much all around beach bum. This was not something I wanted to hear. It was not a big deal when they said, “don’t eat a lot of sweets or drink sodas”.….never have, no big deal that they said “you will have to take snacks with you every wear you go”.…..I like snacks. But don’t wear flip flops? were they out of their minds!
If you Google feet and diabetes or bare feet and diabetes or even just diabetes you will be bombarded by stuff like, diabetics should never wear flip flops, diabetics should always wear protective footwear, even the slightest injury to a diabetic’s foot can cause a wound that is almost impossible to heal.
O.K., I’m all freaked out again. This is real and yes there is truth to this information. But, let’s think about this. If I am taking care of my diabetes and have a reasonable A1C, I eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and I am not suffering from any signs of neuropathy can I then wear flip flops?
I’m not a doctor, but if this is the case with you I suggest you ask your doctor what he or she thinks. And make your own decision based on the facts.
Now here’s my take, I spent nearly 25 years on construction jobsites. And I spent a lot of time playing as a kid and I grew up exercising and eating a healthy diet.
When I was a kid you pretty much went barefoot from the last day of school all through the summer until the first day of school in the fall. And after you have stepped in enough piles of dog poop while running through the yards in your neighborhood you learn very fast to look where you step.
Construction jobsites, there are lots of nails and sharp objects that you learn to avoid stepping on and this is usually done by trial and error. I have had a ton of tetanus shots over the years.
My parents did not allow myself or my siblings to eat junk food or drink soda's. I basically was raised drinking water or milk at dinner and eating lean meat, chicken, fish and a lot of vegetables.
So these were just a few things that prepared me for wearing flip flops as a diabetic, I learned to watch where I stepped. To be aware of what will or could potentially cut, hurt, damage or make my feet smell bad and to eat a healthy diet.
So if you do choose to wear flip flops like I do watch where you step and if you happen to cut your foot, hopefully by exercising and eating a healthy diet you will have improved your circulation and have greatly reduced the odds against the cut not healing properly.

“If you’re faced with an obstacle in your life don’t let it stop you. If you hit a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to get over the wall, go through the wall or find a way around it.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summer’s paddle celebration on Alamitos Bay at the LBCSUP Grand Prix

"The secret is out, Long Beach is now becoming a destination for paddlers and water enthusiast,"

Paul Zacharias - 3rd place SUP Stk.

This is an overview of the event in Long Beach, CA. The sun was out and so were the crowds! I can remember doing swims in the bay here almost 20 years ago with the Long Beach City College Water Polo Team. We would swim from one end of the bay to the other and run back along the sand. Coach Hank Vellecamp had us do this over and over. The race today was a little more fun.

Brian Hagg and myself, pre-race photo. Brian is 19 years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about a year or so ago. (I might be wrong on his age and how long he's been a T 1, but I think I'm fairly accurate). Brian is an exceptionally talented stand up paddle racer and SUP surfer, this guy rips and is fast! It just goes to show that even when diagnosed at an early age or in your teens you can still participate in athletics and be competitive. Brian finished 4th in the unlimited division.

The start!

The pack took off and turned left as we began the race around the Island.

I'm right in the middle of this....not my best start.

This is like half way. Billy Kho and I finally dropped those two on the 14's and traded on and off through out the remainder of the race.

Billy finally pulled into the beach and I went around the bouy....smart move on his part. Billy Kho 2nd place, PZ 3rd in the SUP Stk. division.

The finish sprint up the beach! As I look at this photo I'm thinking that maybe I should have paddled harder and finished better than 3rd......cause I obviously have way to much energy left!

Ah! Just chillin' in the water after the race. Cheering on the other competitors as they finished.

Thanks to my sponsors H2O Audio, OnIt Pro, Hint Water, Kaenon, SportMulti, GoPro, Indo Board and Kinesys for your support!

Drinking some of my Hint Water and sporting my Kaenon Guage sunglasses post race. Great event, had an awesome time, can't wait for the next one!

SUP and Diabetes : Managing To Balance

Paul was born in the UK and has lived in the Philippines, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii and SoCal. Always the athlete, Paul has been active in swimming, water polo, surfing, scuba diving, skiing and triathlons. Since taking up competitive SUP racing 2010, Paul has been steadily moving up the ranks.

California Standup

Roland Baker just published an article about my experiences with Stand up Paddle racing and managing my diabetes.
Training Section

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another day, training and dealing with diabetes.....

I woke up this morning and based on my training was due for an aerobic paddle, 1.5 Hrs. at 70-80%. So I grabbed my 12’6 and headed over to Tidelands Park just across the street from where I live. As I pulled up this is the view that greeted me.  What an awesome morning!

This is the new board bag. It’s an FCS, picked it up from Paddle Surf Warehouse in Dana Point, CA.  http://www.paddlesurfwarehouse.com/    these guys are super helpful and have tons of stuff. They are a Stand up Paddle specific shop.  

Out of the board bag and ready to go! This custom 12’6  Hobie carbon fiber stand up paddle race board  is sweet! It is super-fast and handles pretty much all kinds of conditions.

How awesome is this view? Board and paddle placed down at the water’s edge. There was zero wind and plenty of sunshine! I decided to head out under the Coronado Bay Bridge there in the back ground and head south for 45 minutes and then turn around and come back. An easy 1.5

It was just another epic morning here in Coronado…classic conditions. I couldn’t resist adding another shot….. looking out at the bay.

This is a result of exercise induced hypoglycemia. It was about 2 hours after my training paddle. I had gotten busy running around and let my blood sugars go low…..no worries, I usually eat and/or drink enough right after my paddles so this doesn’t happen. But as you can see I had the goods handy to reverse the effects. I try and reduce my Lantis to counter the effects of exercise induced lows and I reduce my short term insulin amounts prior to any kind of workout by about 50%. This typically works for me, but sometimes the body just does what the body does. 

 The medal I received from my 2nd place finish in the 10 – mile distance race at the 2011 Tahoe Nalu . It’s the epic conditions and being on the water along with the little things like this that make all the paddling and sometimes the rare exercise induced hypoglycemia  all worth it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On It Pro - Xtreme cream

On It Pro Xtreme cream is sweet, definately faster than a sanded finish board!
Thanks for making me a part of the  On It Pro Team.

We have a core belief as a company to give something back to surfing and to hold a responsibility to enhance the way we live our surfing lifestyle by being committed to keeping our environment clean and healthy for our children so they can enjoy this beautiful planet the way we have throughout the years! All of our products are biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

OIP Application video.

George Zacharias - Who Dares Wins

George Zacharias

November 20, 1957 - May 28, 2004

Am I just too rough around the edges?
I have read and looked at a number of articles, blogs and various stories regarding diabetes and a lot either have confused me with all kinds of technical mumbo jumbo or made me say “what were you thinking”?
I’m not a professionally trained writer or a medical professional. I am just a guy that has type 1 diabetes and an athlete with a passion and a desire to share my experiences with others.
I just want to let other type 1 & 2 diabetics’, pre-diabetics and or anyone who is facing an obstacle of their own not to give up!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again……”you need to control your diabetes, don’t let your diabetes control you”.
KISS –Keep It Simple Stupid
I saw one picture on a website where this type 1 diabetic was going on a trip and had posted a picture of their “medical supplies” that would be needed. There was so much stuff; it was intimidating to say the least. I’m sure that for some situations you might be forced to take more supplies and equipment than most, but if you can try and keep it simple.
I have traveled all over the freaking place and all I take is a test kit and pen. I have a little zip lock baggy with all of my extra stuff like more pens, test strips, needles, and my Lantis. But that’s it. This works for me personally,  
Unless you’re going to be somewhere that you will be isolated from civilization, diabetes is pretty much everywhere, which means that most diabetic supplies are readily available. But of course if you are hooked up pump with all kinds of bells and whistles you might not be able to get what you need, so you will have to travel with a small cache of equipment. (Pumps are good, but you don’t have to use them).
I was freaked out when I was diagnosed and was told all kinds of scary stuff by the Doctors and “educators”. I was able to figure it out pretty quickly, as I think (hope) most diabetics do. (Trust me there was some serious trial and error along the way).
But back to this small diabetic supply company this individual was putting together for the vacation. I think as a young person, young adult or even parents with an infant, if they saw all this stuff piled up and thought this is how as a diabetic you have to roll, most would freak out and say “there’s no way”!
There is a way. And please I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. Nor am I trying to minimize the seriousness of diabetes. It has to be dealt with and needs to be attended to properly. But it’s all good and life goes’ on. There is nothing that a type1 or type 2 diabetic can’t do!

Who Dares Wins
Maybe all this, and the way I think and how I deal with my diabetes has to do with my older brother George Zacharias who was born on November 20, 1957 in Kinglynn, England. George was severely deformed and had only one kidney, and a million other things that were wrong with him. The guy never walked a day in his life; he was confined to a wheel chair blah, blah, blah. George eventually lost his kidney and had to have it removed. He spent the last 25 years of his life on dialysis before he passed away May 28, 2004.  But he never bitched about anything, not once.
Mind you this was during a time when most of you were either not born yet and don’t know what I’m about to say, or you were and don’t want to remember. Back when my brother George was a kid and for most of his life people referred to him as the “crippled kid”.
There wasn’t any handicapped parking or ramps anywhere when he was a kid and into his young adulthood. Nothing was really accessible to the physically challenge.
George may have been physically disabled but he was absolutely brilliant. Smart as a whip! But for the longest time the schools where we lived would not allow for him to attend with the “regular kids”. He was picked up every morning by a short yellow school bus with a bunch of kids that were mostly mentally challenged. Finally with enough bitching and complaining by my parents George was allowed to attend public school with the other kids.
But remember, this is also when most of America and the world thought it was o.k. to get a sun tan and to drink water out of the garden hose. Kids rode bicycles and skateboards without helmets, and for god’s sake we would climb trees hundreds of feet up into the air and build tree forts.” I cannot even remember the last time I saw a tree fort”? I mean come on now, I see mothers with leashes on their kids, and I think it’s a law here in my town that if you’re under the age of 18 you’re required to wear a helmet when riding a bike or skateboard.
 Neither we, nor George ever thought for a minute that he was different. We drug George everywhere and did everything just as if he were absolutely like us. We and George were forced to adapt to the various situations and figure out a way around anything that came up and for the most part it was on!

I could and will probably write more about my oldest brother George. He was and will always be inspiration to me. And I know if he were alive when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes he’d a said, “shit happens”. And would have never even batted an eye and he wouldn’t have felt sorry for me. I’m sure he would empathize with me, but even that I’m not sure of. The guy was tough as nails I tell you. George had the Special Air Service (S.A.S.) Winged Dagger along with the   SAS motto “Who dares wins” tattooed on his forearm.
I guess the whole point to this post is that even though I and a lot of others out there that have type 1 & 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic or might be facing another type of obstacle in their life? I just want to say even though at times it sucks; it’s going to be o.k. Just remember…….
“If you’re faced with an obstacle in your life don’t let it stop you. If you hit a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to get over the wall, go through the wall or find a way around it.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Kaenon Polarized was born from intense passion and a clear desire to never compromise.

 I am so stoked to be a part of the Kaenon Pro Team
Thanks Kaenon
For helping me with my passion and clear desire to never compromise in my quest show people that even if faced with an obstacle in their life to not let it stop them, to never give up!

I love my Gauge sunglasses they are off the charts when it comes to providing protection from the sun!

2011 Hennessey's-WPA World Championship Qualifiers

My name was recently added to the list of qualifying men's paddlers for the upcoming WPA World Championships.
On Sept. 17 the Hermosa Beach Pier in Hermosa Beach, CA will be the site of the 2011 Hennessey’s-WPA World Championships of Paddling. The event will include both SUP and paddleboard divisions and be the first SUP world championship while continuing the Hennessey’s legacy of supporting paddleboarding around the world.

I am so stoked to have my name included on this list. It's an honor to be amongst some of the worlds greatest Stand Up Paddle racers in the world!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

HINT Water is Clear and Simple.

I am happy to make known officially that HINT Water would love to sponsor me for the 2012 Stand Up Paddle Racing season.

The idea behind Hint is simple: pure water, nature's original refreshment, accented with a hint of natural flavor. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners: Hint is a refreshing alternative to sodas, juice and other sweetened drinks and it tastes great.

As a type 1 diabetic and an Elite Stand Up Paddle Racer it is so important that I stay hydrated while I train and during my races. Hint is perfect for this purpose! I can drink HINT and not have to worry about my blood sugars going through the roof. During my longer races I can ingest a specific measued amount of carbohydrate mixed with HINT and it's all good. Thanks HINT for something that works!

I look forward to a long and successful relationship with HINT.

2011 Ta-hoe Nalu Paddle Festival - 10 MILE DISTANCE RACE - 2nd place SUP Stk.

Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."

I love that quote, it kind of say's it all. Thing's have not always been as good as they are right now. I am smiling and having fun this morning, the day of the 10 mile distance race. But as a type 1 diabetic I have struggles that alot of the racers don't have to deal with. But that's why kinda why I created this blog, for people that have to deal with obsticales that have been placed in their lives. Don't give up, I know that it may seem really hard and you may feel like every time you try and get up something else knocks you down.....but I believe that when one door closes another one opens.

My life is far from great and I still deal with all kinds of stuff......but you know what? "You gotta keep your head up, and it'll turn out fine"

It's not only about overcoming challenges, sharing dtermination or getting across the finish line, but to try and inspire hope and possibility.....

Focusing on what I need to do during the 10 mile race, visualizing everything from the start to the finish.

The race starts at a little after 9:00 a.m., I was worried about my blood sugar being to high and/or too low. I loaded my hydration system with some water mixed with a carbohydrate type syrup that will dissolve in the water and not settle at the bottom of the reservoir. During races over 6 miles I will typically deplete the glucose in my system, sometimes sooner due to the fact that I'm racing and exerting 90 to 100% of my energy. So I not only have to hydrate, but I also have to ingest carbohydrates or risk bonking....or passing out and, well it's never happened so I don't really know what will happen. (I have bonked during a race, just never passed out).

Little specs on the horizon. That point in the distance is called Dollar Point, the bouy is set just off the point.....just keep paddling, just keep paddling!

I am about a half mile off the beach and have been chasing down the 14's and I am pretty sure that any of the other 12'6 stk. SUP guys are behind me. So I am going for broke trying to catch the 20 year old kid who is also on a 12'6 Stk. and is ahead of me by about one minute.

The wind is picking up and has been blowing at our backs. So I try and do what I call the "Conner Baxter" and it works....holding the paddle like this seems to allow me to turn over a little quicker and gain some speed, wich allows me to catch a few of the bumps!

I am pulling with all that I have left in the tank. The guy on the 14' had been drafting on my tail for like about a mile after I caught and passed him. To have a 14' pull in behind your 12'6 stock and draft off you screws with your head. But I was able to shake him and finish strong!

O.K, the run up the beach and through the finish line...need sugar!

Kings Beach, CA.

2nd place SUP Stk.

1:59:47:52 Paul Zacharias M 47 Coronado, CA. Hobie

2011 Ta-hoe Nalu Paddle Festival - 6MI STAND UP PADDLE ELITE 14'

The main event of the year happened this August 13 & 14 on the shores of North Lake Tahoe.

The Main Event of the Year
2 days of events for all ages & skill levels
SUP / Prone / OC 1 Divisions......$ 20,000 i cash & prizes
Learn to Paddle from a Pro - the Ta-Hoe Nalu SUP Experiance

Erik Nordskog of On It Pro was hooking the Hobie 14' up with Xtreme Cream, a high performance bottom coating.

Throwing the Shaka prior to race, so stoked to be a part of this event!

Moments before for the start, last couple of words of encouragement with Elite womens paddler Suzy Strazzulla.

Love this Photo...many of which were taken by my good friend and fellow paddler John R. Goodman.

And were off!

This is awesome, we are all bunched together going into the first bouy turn. That is South Lake Tahoe in the distance. Middle of August and there is still snow on the mountains. You gotta love it!

Back on the tail and pullin' hard trying to get the Hobie 14' around the bouy.

Getting ready to set my paddle, feeling the effects of the altitude.

Look at the clarity of the water! I am pulling some water here, trying to catch the guys in front of me. This picture was taken by Kristin Thomas, an increadible WaterWomen. Kristin raced earlier in the 5 mile open race where she took 1st place!

Coming off the last bouy turn and heading into the finish.

As I hit the beach at the finish, no matter what place I am in I always try and finish hard!

That sand is feeling really heavy. And you want to look like it's no big deal...there are hundreds of people watching!

Immediately after the race talking with Suzy. You can see by the look on my face water and air.....good thing.

Me and Talia Gangini. She was right behind me on the 3rd lap and the final lap. I was determined to hold her off and not get passed. Your probably thinking, "come on Paul she only a young girl". Talia just raced in the Molokai 2 Oahu 32 mile paddleboard race last month where she placed 2nd in the female unlimited class! This girl can paddle.

Group photo after the race. This group consists of pretty much the fastest SUP racers in the world, both men and women. I was increadibly lucky to have had the oppurtunity to paddle and race against them in Tahoe.


22nd place Paul Zacharias M 47 Coronado, CA. 14' Hobie