The Sayulita JR SUP Team is the product of Head Coaches Javier “Bicho” Jimenez and wife Shelby Taylor’s dream to take what they learned as top-10 world ranked professional SUP racers and create a youth training team for Sayulita where all kids could come and learn, grow, and meet each other in a way that kept them in off the streets and out of trouble. Sayulita, being a tourist town, has a dark side that many people don’t see. One of temptations, drug abuse, lost childhoods, and loneliness. In a desperate attempt to provide a safe place for the struggling youth, Javier and Shelby took a year off the world-tour of racing and focused all their energy and money on the first known season of Sayulita JR SUP team in 2015. After generous support from local families and Cost Verde International School, as well as a personal loan, the couple was able to design and import a fleet of custom made youth race boards and paddles. What started as a small group of 7 children on the first day, quickly grew to 20 by the end of the summer. Children with no experience whatsoever on a paddleboard grew to love the daily practice and through word of mouth, more and more children began to come to training.
New leadership announced:
Sayulita, Mexico, December 18, 2020: Sayulita JR SUP Team, a Mexican based youth paddleboard race training program announces a change in its leadership. The Sayulita JR SUP Team is a grassroots youth organization that aims to provide outstanding coaching to all skill levels while shaping well rounded, confident, involved youth with world-class ocean mastery and knowledge. The training program is one of the most established youth paddleboard programs in the sport and the largest of its kind in Mexico.
The Sayulita JR SUP Team was formed in 2015 by professional SUP racers, Shelby Taylor and Bicho Jimenez. Since then, they have been committed to developing the team and offering local kids worldclass training that has brought program to the the highest profile events in North and South America. In 2021, the couple will step aside to focus on raising their young family and welcome veteran paddler, Rafael “Rafa” Apodaca, as the new Head Coach.
Apodaca has been an assistant coach with the Team for over 2 years and brings several years of SUP racing experience and a lifetime of athletic training to the head coaching position. Originally from Guadalajara, Rafa moved to Sayulita in 2007, where he could pursue his passions for surf, fishing and outdoor recreation.
As the new head coach, Rafa hopes to continue to elevate the profile of the program and garner additional SUP industry support. Rafa says, “My biggest goal for this coming year is to see the Team travel again to competitions outside Mexico and continue building relationships with other young paddlers and JR SUP racing programs”. In the long term, Rafa hopes that a highperformance athletic center is established in Sayulita to cater for ocean sports for the youth.