Early each morning, hours before he arrives at Peddie from his home in Brielle, N.J., Will Sodano takes a two-hour trek through ocean waters. Peddie’s assistant director of athletics is training for the Carolina Cup, the annual stand up paddle board race that attracts dozens of the world’s fastest athletes as well as hundreds of recreational paddlers. Sodano has set his sights on placing in the top 10, elite male class, at next April’s event in Wrightsville Beach, N.C.
He’s been stand up paddle boarding for almost ten years.
The sport was hard to pick up. The equipment was not good back then. But I was determined. I fell a lot. I got a lot of bruises. But I figured it out. And I’ve been doing it ever since.
He considers the Carolina Cup to be the most difficult challenge.
It’s much harder than the Iron Man, century ride or the Boston Marathon. You have to deal with changing conditions … wind, tide and surf.
He gets up at 4 a.m. Even in the winter.
By the time I arrive at Peddie in the morning, I’ve put in two hours on the water. January and February are the hardest months. It’s cold, and I’m paddling in the pitch black. I have to wear a headlight so I don’t get run over by a boat.
Family time is important to him.
We go out and paddle together. It’s our version of a family bike ride. My son loves it. We’ll fish off our boards and on the Fourth of July, we’ll paddle out and watch the fireworks together. It’s a great way for us to connect.
He gets a completely different view.
I love being connected to the energy of the ocean. As I step on my board and push away from shore, I get this feeling that I’m leaving everything behind. The worries and woes of life disappear and I can relax for a while.