Karen Mirlenbrink

KAREN MIRLENBRINK has always described herself as a total beach bunny who can’t keep her toes out of the sand. Growing up on the beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast, her idea of the perfect day involves being in or on the water learning from her greatest teacher. “The ocean has taught me about life. I’ve learned that sometimes I can’t change things, but I can go with the flow. I’ve learned to harness nature’s energy and use it to my advantage. I’ve learned not to get in Mother Nature’s way. I’ve learned to listen when she speaks. I’ve learned to respect, love, and celebrate nature and her ocean.”

Movement has always been a necessity for Karen, thanks to her mom, a physical education teacher who instilled an active lifestyle from day one. Finding her daughter always drawn to the water, she enrolled Karen in synchronized swimming lessons, and the obsession began. While competing nationally as a young girl, Karen learned the meaning of hard work, drive and commitment. As an adult, she substituted paddling for swimming and has enjoyed participating and competing in many different paddlesports ever since. She’s an accomplished surf skier (open ocean racing kayak), Hawaiian outrigger canoeist, and stand up paddler with almost 15 years of paddling experience. Her proudest competitive paddling moments include: breaking the record in the 2010 Water Tribe Ultra Marathon with her husband, Rob, in their double surf ski; a 70-mile challenge paddling down Florida’s west coast; and placing second in the 2012 ChattaJack 31, a thirty-one mile SUP race through the Tennessee River Gorge.

Karen found a love for helping others as a certified Pilates instructor, yoga teacher, and wellness coach. She believes a person’s path to wellness is easier than they want to believe, and that small changes in daily life can create big results. Her straightforward, simple approach makes her a successful and inspiring fitness professional. In addition to owning and operating the Dunedin Pilates Studio, Karen organizes charity races and events, teaches regular Pilates and yoga classes on stand up paddleboards (SUPilates.com), leads Pilates teacher training courses to help new instructors become confident and successful, and presents corporate wellness workshops all over Florida.

Karen lives in delightful Dunedin, Florida with her husband, Rob, their two pugs, Baxter and Peanut, and their parrot, Peaches.



  • Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from the University of South Florida
  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
  • PMA-Certified Pilates Teacher and Master Trainer/Course Instructor for the Pilates Academy International
  • Certified Core Power Yoga Instructor & Wellcoach Certified Wellness and Fitness Coach
  • World Paddle Association Level I Instructor
  • Qualified for WPA World Championships in 2011 and 2012
  • One of the only local chicas to go downwind with the boys on her surf ski
  • Traveled all over the southeast for SUP events and races, taking top 5 in most competitions
  • Contributing writer for Stand Up Journal and the Active Network
  • Organizes local charity events that benefit the American Cancer Society, Movember, Feeding America, and the Friends of the Island Parks
  • Sponsored by YOLO Board


  • Learn to SUP Surf (“Can you believe I don’t know how to do that yet?!”)
  • Continue to be an advocate and role model for women in paddlesports
  • Travel to some new races, including the Carolina Cup SUP race in North Carolina, the Battle of the Paddle in California, and maybe the Na Wahine O Ke Kai Outrigger race in Hawaii, and place respectfully in her categories
  • Qualify for WPA World Championships in 2013
  • Continue to improve skill and speed as a competitive paddler, placing in the top 3 at local races

WEBSITE: KarenMirlenbrink.com »