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Conrad Rojas. Photo: Courtesy
Conrad Rojas. Photo: Courtesy

By Andrea Swayne

Conrad Rojas, 10, of San Clemente is a stand-up paddle racer and stand-up paddle surfer.  Surfing and playing rugby with his team, The Gators, are other interests, but SUP is something Conrad is focusing hard to excel in, hoping to one day compete professionally.

“I started doing SUP when I was a toddler, so like at 3,” he said. “The first time I stepped on a board was at June Lake in Mammoth and my dad taught me. After that I wanted to keep doing it because my dad is really good and I want to be good too. I remember watching him at a race in Tahoe or Utah or something and being really impressed and wanting to do it really bad.”

Conrad Rojas. Photo: Courtesy
Conrad Rojas. Photo: Courtesy

Conrad also loves SUP because of the great friendships he’s gained from training and competing in the sport. He trains as a member of the Paddle Academy team in Dana Point three days a week and is currently focused on building endurance and speed. He would like to thank his sponsors, Riviera Paddlesurf and SUP Gladiator, as well as his sister, mom and dad for their support in chasing his dream.

A fourth-grader at Concordia Elementary, school is also important to Conrad, as he wants to go to college and find a good career.

“I like school because you learn new things every day,” he said. “That’s important because I like learning and I want to go to college because I want to have a good job that I love and become the best person I can be.”

Conrad’s 2014 SUP highlights include taking first-place in his age group at the Stand Up for Clean Water event in Malibu and being among the youngest competitors at the O’neill Donner Lake 6-miler and the O’neill Jam from the Dam and Lake of the Sky 6-milers, both at Lake Tahoe.  In January he was the youngest racer in the Hano Hano Huke Ocean Challenge short course race in San Diego. Feb. 7 marked a great distance accomplishment, when Conrad paddled with his dad from the Newport Back Bay to Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor, approximately 22.5 miles, as part of his dad’s 24-hour SUP fundraiser for Ocean of Hope, an organization that raises money for the Sarcoma Alliance.

Conrad Rojas. Photo: Mike Muir
Conrad Rojas. Photo: Mike Muir

Conrad also credits SUP training and competition with helping to inspire hard work in other areas of his life.

“I like SUP because it gets me motivated and ready to do things, like working for to be a professional paddle boarder and even other things I could do when I grow up,” he said. “Being good to other people is important to me too.”

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