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Stand up paddling changes Joshua Riccio’s life

By BY WALTER CHIHARA - | Apr 9, 2021

Joshua Riccio enjoys surfing, stand up paddling, hydrofoiling, wing foiling — anything on the water. PHOTO BY EMILY SKIBA PHOTOGRAPHY.

WEST MAUI — For as far back as he can remember, Joshua Riccio has found enjoyment at the beach and in the ocean. Growing up in the sand at Bradenton Beach, Florida, he surfed, wake boarded, went fishing and played constantly in the waves while actively competing in all manner of sports.

Halfway through his college days at the University of Northern Florida, Riccio visited a friend at U.H. Maui. Game over. The allure and aloha of the islands complemented perfectly his heart for the ocean and the shoreline.

He moved to Maui, continued to surf and found other ways to satisfy his relentless desire to blend with the water. Riccio joined Napili Canoe Club and paddled with the organization for over a decade.

He also started stand up paddling in 2013 — a move that would change his life immeasurably.

“I decided to put my time and energy into SUP for competition and races,” Riccio related last week. “I competed in the 2013 Maui to Molokai Race and finished third, and things have taken off since then.”

Indeed they have. Racing in the iconic Molokai to Oahu Kaiwi Channel Race six times, Riccio has won the SUP Stock Division three times and set the record in the 32-mile event in 2019 with a time of 4:12.8. He competes in ten to 15 events a year and is able to make a small living from sponsors Flying Fish Board Co. and Werner Paddles, as well as working as a surf instructor.

Riccio travels the world to compete, including trips to Europe, California, Oregon, Florida and North Carolina. His calendar is highlighted for the end of July, which is slated for this year’s Molokai race.

He complements his ocean activities with the practice of traditional martial arts with the Lahaina Dojo of the Japan Karate Shotokai.

Riccio also works for Maui Surfer Girls as an instructor, he recently signed on as a surf team coach at Maui Prep, and he is diligently preparing for the Maui Fire Department Recruit Training Program.

But perhaps most important of all, Joshua is engaged to marry Victoria Chadsey in the near future. A rich and golden life indeed!