April Zilg
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World #2 2019
Career Highlight
Year born
competing since
North Carolina
Sponsored by
404, Hippostick, Real Salt Life
ABOUT April Zilg
Born and raised in inland North Carolina, April “found” paddling for the first time in 2011 while completing her Masters of Science in Deep Sea Coral Reef Ecology at The University of North Carolina - Wilmington. She had previously worked as a seahorse breeder and received her undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology and Environmental Science. While she didn’t love the world of academia, it was clear that an ocean-oriented career was definitely in the cards for her. Her love for paddling was swift, entering a SUP race mere weeks after hopping on a board for the first time. Her success in the sport, however, was less swift, and she didn’t finish that first race she entered, but that didn’t deter her one bit. After another year of practice, she went back to face the 6 mile Money Island course at the Carolina Cup. Not only did she finish the race, she placed second. A decade later, in 2021 April achieved the goal she set out for all along winning the Women's Graveyard Race at the Carolina Cup, becoming a paddling poster child for dedication and persistence.  By 2014, she was completely hooked on paddle sports, competing in many SUP races on the east coast (and winning quite a few of those).  Around the same time she also began working at a local paddle company and dedicated her life to the sport.    April wasn’t always an athlete. She didn’t find her love for sport and fitness until well into adulthood, and had spent many of her teen and early 20’s leading a downright unhealthy lifestyle. The sport, and the people she met through it, are what inspired her to make substantive changes to her life. Her first real notable success in the sport came after signing with Hobie and Salt Life to compete on the European race tour in 2016. After a move to California in 2017, she committed herself entirely to training, and began her coaching business, hoping to help others who shared her love for the water.    From 2018 to 2019, April shifted her training focus from high intensity days on the water, and began emphasizing recovery, aerobic base work, and nutrition. The shift worked! In 2018-2019, she won Gold at Pan American Surfing Games, placed 2nd at the Carolina Cup, Women's Graveyard SUP 2019, was the 2019 Gorge Downwind OC1 Women's Champion, placed 1st at Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, Women's Technical race, and was the New York SUP Open Overall Women's Champion.  Finally, she was the APP World Tour, World Vice-Champion 2019.