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5e3da5_5f7c50dc4b20487b8784136cc78ded5e.jpg_srz_630_630_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzJust caught up with our JOPRO Paddleboarder "Charger" Carter Graves this week, whom just got back from SUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Nicaragua and wanted to share with you her experience. "Just a week ago I was blessed with the opportunity to represent the United States in the 2014 ISA Paddleboard and SUP World Championships in Nicaragua. It was only a dream as a kid to think of ever being able to represent the red, white, and blue, and there I was with a whole team to work together and compete for our country. What I found was that paddling and sport in general became so much more than just racing and competing. I learned several things in Nicaragua, but the most important lessons I took away were that of teamwork, friendly rivalry, and the the art of being content with what God has given us. In a primarily individual sport, racing on a team especially that of Team USA was incredibly rewarding. Competition became so much more than just that of me doing well, but working my hardest to help the team and represent the country in a positive manner. I made friendships on my team that will last a lifetime as we really bonded together as one team despite competing in three distinct areas including SUP surfing, SUP racing, and prone racing. I also learned the beauty of friendly rivalry and competition as I was blessed with the opportunity to race who I would call the best in our sport, Jordan Mercer. Jordan has always been a huge inspiration in my paddling and ocean athletics and being able to form a lasting friendship with even my greatest competition in Jordan and Australia was even more rewarding. Throughout our own teams and between countries I was blown away by the connection we all found in the ocean. This unity through the water was an even greater feeling than winning any race as it made me remember that medals and glory will always fade, but relationship and love will last eternally. Finally, I was reminded that paddling was only a small part of a much greater calling in my life as I saw people in Nicaragua just struggling to live off the bare minimum every day. Although sometime I complained about having a big competition in a developing nation where clean water and familiar foods had to be sought out, the experience in general outweighed these small details. I learned to appreciate the blessings God has given me in ocean sport and to remember the reasons why I race and pursue being my best. Not for the glory or the recognition, but for the pure joy or being on the water with friends and family are joined together through our love of the ocean. LOVE Charger" THANKS CHARGER! Keep killin it for us!

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