"When I step foot on the river I feel so connected with everything surrounding me, I love that feeling of flowing with the current, or dropping into a big wave."
Christian first saw whitewater standup paddling in a SUPTheMag article and knew she had to try this! There is an incredible amount of rivers and creeks in Western New York where Christian and her husband Kevin Cullen live. With a great Class II-III river right in their backyard, the couple started charging rapids right away!
She heard the Ottawa River was amazing and found out there was a SUP Whitewater Festival being held there in August 2014. She took 1st place in the women’s whitewater contest. While at the Ottawa River, she met Todd Caranto - owner of Pau Hana Surf Suppy, who quickly became a close friend and mentor and offered Kevin and Christian their first sponsorship. “The best part of the whole trip was running the river at 9 feet on the SUP and going through the Coliseum and seeing the Big Kahuna Wave right before it swallowed me hole.” That’s where she fell in love with the culture of the river and the spirit of the sport.
Christian’s biggest accomplishment is running the Gauley River on a SUP. “That river is Gnarley and exhausting and the memories going through ginormous rapids are ingrained into my memory.”
Whitewater SUP has literally swept Christian off her feet. “When I take a big wipeout I still have a perma smile while swimming through huge rapids. I love the people and the culture of paddling, especially the River Life.”
Christian’s philosophy is to ‘give more than you take’, and her goal is to share standup paddling with more people. So together with her husband Kevin, they opened a SUP lesson, rental and guide service in Buffalo, NY and continue to share their passions in their hometown and around the world. “I love introducing people to the sport and seeing their reactions standing up for the first time, or going through rapids for the first time. It’s a great feeling when you teach someone a skill set they didn’t think they could achieve.”
Christian and Kevin love to travel, so when they are not competing or teaching, they plan adventures to explore diverse places around Western New York and beyond. Follow them at WNY Expeditioners.