Meet Tyler Backus
Tyler Backus is the team lead for #TeamSUP, who will be traversing over 30km from Long Point to Port Dover on their Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) during the #LakeErieChallenge.
Tyler has been an avid paddler since his first paddle in Australia 11 years ago, where he also completed teacher’s college. Since then, he has fallen in love with the sport and now coaches children—the next generation of SUPers. He has competed in a number of long-distance races and even in some 24-hour events.
He's not just in it for the adventure and thrill of being on a board, though. He has paddled to draw attention to different social and environmental issues that he believes are not getting the attention they deserve. Previously, he paddled to raise awareness about intellectual disabilities, and now he is excited to paddle for a healthy Lake Erie.
Tyler is particularly concerned about harmful algae in Lake Erie, his home waters. “It is important for people to be educated about the algae blooms in Lake Erie,” Tyler explained in a phone call. Through this challenge, he wants to encourage the public to get proactive about freshwater health and advocate for a cleaner environment.
In preparation for the #LakeErieChallenge, Tyler is working on building up his stamina and strength. He likes to paddle in adverse conditions and to follow up on that training with mountain biking. “This helps me push through when the water isn’t completely still,” he said.
Instead of relying on rescue boats, Backus likes to stay on top of his game for all emergencies by bringing all necessary items onto his board. He explains that this makes him “more self-sufficient so [he doesn't] need to worry about a GPS not being able to locate [him].” Backus does his best to stay well-nourished prior to his events to keep his energy levels high.
Inevitably, on long-distance paddles, Backus does feel fatigue at certain points. Despite harsh conditions and long distances, he is determined to keep going. “I just need to not think about it, and do it,” he said.
Backus enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes with long-distance paddling and revels in helping to raise awareness for a cause. He believes that “it is important for everyone to be able to enjoy the Great Lakes and rivers in Canada.”
Backus is excited to be back in the waters off Long Point and Port Dover for the #LakeErieChallenge, a route he's paddled many a time before.
“I’m looking forward to some nice weather,” Backus said. We're wishing him all the best for his 30km crossing!