A paddler, 20 Questions with Reta Boychuk

This weeks twenty questions paddler blog brings us to Reta B.   Chances are, if you’ve been to any whitewater event in Alberta involving SUP you’ve seen her, ripping down the river on her Badfish SUP.  She’s an avid SUP paddler and competitor, she has podiumed numerous times in 2019 alone, with 4 first places finishes last year including 1st place at Go Pro Mountain Games in Vail CO. as well as first place at the 2019 Toby Creek Event.   Aquabatics is stoked to have her on board this summer, assisting and leading different SUP courses with Aquabatics in both Calgary and Edmonton. If whitewater SUP is your thing, she’s definitely worth paying attention to.  If SUP is not your thing, it should be.  River SUP is blast and provides a different perspective then your boat when running down a river or across a lake.  You can find some links to her pages and courses at the bottom.  Without further ado I proudly present 20 questions with Reta, one of the best SUP riders Canada has to offer.


Reta lookin steezy at the Trail Wave -photo Credit to Ashley Voykin 

1.Who the heck are yeah?

  Reta Boychuk - whitewater sup addict, I mean athlete. 

  1. Where yeah from?

Originally Edmonton, currently Nelson BC and escaping to the van life by the river each summer so I can lead clinics and paddle. 

  1. When did you start paddling? 

In 2010 I took canoeing and kayaking 101 in the Grant MaCewan swimming pool.

  1. Why SUP when there’s so many other ways to get on the water? 

While raft guiding I also started flatwater stand up paddling and before I knew it, I was SUPping on the lower Slocan applying all of my pervious whitewater knowledge and skills. I am hooked on the freedom of the SUP and the ability to like a rock star even in smaller water! 

  1. Do you remember what your 1st River SUP was? colour? 

Lime Green hard Badfish MVP 9’ 

She makes this look so easy. Say hi to Reta, photo credit to Jackie Zelt

      6. If you could build the perfect SUP what would it look like? 

Have you seen the Badfish River Shred! That is currently the money board for rivers. This board has helped me progress so much I don’t even know how I could imagine changing it!

  1. Where’s your favorite place to paddle, well one your comfortable sharing with the world anyway?

The Kananaskis river holds a giant piece of my heart. It is has something for everyone, every level, every mood, well, as long as the river is on.  Something about the icy blue water and the variety of playful features make every trip a magical experience.

  1. What's the longest commute you’ve made for a weekend of paddling?

Have you herd of LIKELY BC? I was in taking a course in Tofino, drove 12hrs to Likely, and then I rolled on to Edmonton another 12hrs.   It was an UNLIKELY river festival and you are likely to have the best time in your life! 10/10 I would recommend to all my friends!

  1. Do you enjoy paddling competitions? Why?

Yes, I love them! To be honest it’s because I really just want to go fast!  But the energy that is created by the passionate paddlers, curious spectators and cheering fans is what keeps me coming back and having the best time! River events to me are about growing a community, trying my best and laughing so hard I forget its a competition! 

  1. How are you pushing yourself on the water?

Right now, my current push is to develop into a stronger more confident river surfer on my SUP and on a short board. Over the winter I will be doing some balance training working on flexibility and position for surfing! I also plan to spend a bit more time on my snowboard to work on fore and aft balance for flat spinning on waves. 

  1. Any tricks or runs your currently trying to dial in?

I really want to be able to enter the wave fins first and shove it around to be surfing normally. I need to get a little lower to maintain my balance as I start to spin the board and remember to engage my paddle. 

Dry Suits were made for these conditions!- photo credit to Jackie Zelt

  1. What would you say your worst wipe out was?

That’s a tough one I normally get back on my board pretty quick and ride it out on my knees if the run is just too much, using my canoe skills if needed. However, when I was pretty new to paddling on rivers I wasn’t accustomed to expecting and preparing for my fin to hit. I remember floating along casually chatting and abruptly getting stopped by my fin which launched me forward into shallow water like superman, the landing could have been worse suffering only some bangs and bruises. I did hit my head and I was so grateful for my helmet.

  1. Do you do any type of winter training?

I get out on the water paddle mostly flat water because it’s hard to find paddle buddies, hit the gym to ensure I keep my shoulders, core and hips strong, and my favorite is ski touring and crushing laps at the ski hill .  Paddle season starts in March typically with the Trail wave and icy waters, so the winter never feels too long. 

Always time for another run - photo Credit to Jackie Zelt

  1. What’s your dream run or trip?

There are so many but I would love to make it on the Grand Canyon raft supported with all my favorite river people! With the right crew ever river trip can be a dream trip!

  1. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen while paddling?

 On the Upper Quesnel at Unlikely Paddlefest there was at least 10 giant bright red Coho salmon

swimming in the eddy below my board, there were Bald and Golden eagles perched and soaring in the treetops, and the clear icy huge whitewater, WILD is the best word I have to describe this SUP experience. 

  1. What’s the best advice you would give to someone brand new to SUP?

Come out for a clinic. Start on the flat-water learn all the stokes practice moving your board around and moving around on your board. Get on an intro to river course and be prepared to fall in the water and in love with a new sport! There are so many different rivers you will find a level where you feel the most confident paddling and progressing. 

  1. If you could go paddling with anyone in the world past or present who would it be?

My ancestors including Nicoli Rosychuk, the story has it that my family along with the neighbors used to horse and buggy to Fort Edmonton where they would trade farm goods for supplies. Once trading was completed, they would then use trees and ropes to build a raft and flow from Fort Edmonton to our original homestead near Brosseu Alberta navigating the one big rapid. This is a journey that’s on my list to recreate in the future although the rapid is now be washed away!


Surf S'UP, -photo credit to Jackie Zelt

  1. Is there anything you would change about sport?

I would love to see more people starting in clinics and keeping a strong focus on safety in all of their paddling adventures. Every safety practice you add to your personal paddling helps set an example and keep a positive safety orientated community!


  1. what qualities do you look for when picking a favorite cartoon character

I’m all about the classic all arounder, smart, outgoing, and extremely funny.

  1. Is there anything I missed you wanted to add?

I’m always excited to meet new paddlers or people that are keen to learn! Don’t be shy and shoot me a message SUP has a spot for everyone! 


Big thanks To Reta, for answering my questions and providing us with some pictures.   She’s very approachable, and would love top chat SUP, make sure to say hi when you see her at your next event. 

For tonnes more info on SUP, Retas adventure, and competition I suggest you check out the following sites

Thanks for reading


Questions By Andrew W , Questions answered and photos by Reta B


Click the SUP or INSTRUCTORS link to see courses Reta is running with Aquabatics here

Check out Retas web-page here Retasups.com

Check out the Badfish Boards at Aquabatics here