Shelby Schweitzer – Power of One

shelby-famThere must be something unique in the water at the Schweitzer home. This closely connected family shares a powerful spirit of aloha and giving to community wherever they are in the world. Elder SUP recognizes Shelby Schweitzer, still in high school, and the way she connects her love of surfing to living a pono life. She truly demonstrates the POWER OF ONE. 

shelbyvheckHelping and volunteering with Thera Surf and Surfers Healing (video) has really influenced Shelby’s adult teen life.  In order to have the time and flexibility to travel Shelby decided to finish her senior year online before heading to college in Southern California.

According to Shelby, ”  Sports, travel, and volunteering run in our family. My father was 18 times windsurf world champion, my mom was a National Champion, my brother Zane is a windsurf, surf and Standup paddle champion, and my older brother Matty is one of the best big wave surfers there is.  We all travel to compete, and every where we go, we give back to the local communities by doing a free Schweitzer Sports– Sports Clinic.  We regularly donate boards, paddles, money, books to the communities we visit.  My family is very close and we love traveling together.”

Shelby starts at the beginning when she was just 13, “My first year traveling to Nationals to compete in the NSSA Surfing event in Southern California I was invited to volunteer at the Paskowitz Surf Camp in San Diego.  It was an amazing experience, and it made me realize that volunteering for others, fills my heart and I get more back than I give!!

The owner Izzy, is such an awesome, inspiring guy, a former pro surfer, who stopped professionally surfing when his child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Since then I have been so blessed to have worked with kids with special needs teaching them surfing with Thera Surf, Surfers for Autism, Standup for the Cure, and our own Schweitzer Sports Kids Clinics.  Every time I volunteer at an event  it is such a spiritual experience!”

Volunteering for TheraSurf in Mexico with my brother Zane, is an another event that really impacted Shelby.  Jimmy Gamboa and his wife Kim have a son with special needs which inspired them to create TheraSurf, an organization takes kids with special needs surfing.  They serve youth that would never have the experience otherwise.

Most of these kids had never been in the water, never mind never on a surfboard.  They end up having the time of their life.  Shelby explains, “The children we taught, in Sayulita, Mexico did not speak my language, but communication was not needed. The look on their faces was more than words could describe. The parents of the children said that they had never seen their child so happy in their entire lives.  That is exactly what we instructors absolutely love to hear. No feeling can compare to the feeling of changing a child’s life.  It was my first time working with children with extreme handicaps, and seeing their faces light up when they are in the water.   I am proud that my brothers Zane, and Matty have done clinics like these all over the world for underprivileged children as well.”

shlkeby-cure1Standup for The Cure is the Schweitzer family’s biggest source of pride.  Their aunt, Judie Vivian founded this organization 3 years ago after struggling with breast cancer.  Judie Vivian and Shelby’s mom, Shawneen,  came up with the idea while on the beach one day. Then Rob and Judie Vivian took the idea and turned it into an annual event that has raised almost  $200,000 to date for Susan G Komen Foundation.  They set a Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Standup paddle lesson in the world!!!.  This year’s event is May 3rd in Newport Dunes, California.  They expect over 1,000 people this year, and will be teaching people to Standup paddle for free all day. 


For Shelby, it’s personal, “I feel so blessed and honored to be apart of such an amazing event. Working at Stand Up for the Cure has given me gratitude for my health and motivation to help others.  Every year we raise over a hundred thousand dollars towards finding a cure for breast cancer, which is important to me since my grandmother and my aunt have breast cancer. We can watch it change peoples lives right in front of us!”

The amazing experience Shelby had working at Stand Up for The Cure inspired her to work with Surfers Healing.   This is a volunteer program that gives autistic, handicapped and challenged children the opportunity to go surf.  Shelby’s life has been changed, “I can’t help but tear up thinking about how happy and joyful the kids are when they are out in the waves on a surfboard with me. And I just keep volunteering.  I love to surf, and I love to be in the water, and I want to be able to share that small joy with people who other wise wouldn’t be able to!”



Shelby’s Bio:

SHELBY’S BIO:  Born and raised on Maui, I have been surfing with my family my entire life and competing in NSSA Hawaii, an inter island  scholastic surfing tour since I was twelve years old. I love flying over to compete at contest’s on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island, and my home island Maui. At the end of the NSSA year, tour surfers who qualify are eligible to compete at Nationals in California. I have had the honor to compete in California three years in a row and I will be surfing at Nationals again in 2014. Its always  fun to surf with some of Americas best surfers. Other California events I have been qualified to surf in were the Jr US Open of surfing. Ten of the top short boarders of Hawaii are chosen every year to compete in it. I felt honored to have been chosen for the 2012 competition. I also am on the invitational listing for the Sayulita SUP Classic, last year was my first time to the country and I loved the experience! Since I am very close with the family who run the HSA and NSSA contests I personally convinced (and politely begged them) to get a standup paddle division in their 2012-2013 tour. I was ecstatic to get an email back from the NSSA event organizers confirming NSSA will have a women’s and men’s SUP division. The first  contest I was the only woman competing for SUP, but it has continued to grow. The 2013-2014 event has grown even more, and I got to watch it grow and grow every contest seeing guys and girls get out and shred on stand up paddle boards.

I definitely know that I, along with the rest of this years SUP competitors, have the honor of competing in Hawaii for the first full NSSA Standup season!  And I am proud to be representing Hawaii to compete at Nationals in California for the Standup Paddle Championships.  I hope to follow in my brothers’ footsteps and be able to travel the world competing, sharing my love of the ocean and spreading aloha where ever I go.

shelby-guitarOther passions of mine are windsurfing, Bikram yoga, singing and art.  I hope to one day have my own line of activewear for yoga and ocean sports for women and as I travel to compete and I can promote my clothing line and music. I have also been featured in Starboard catalogs since I was 11 years old for windsurfing and standup paddling.

I had so much fun competing at the kekei fun windsurf races at Kanaha when I was younger. Free Surf magazine also has featured me both surfing and modeling for my sponsor; Pakaloha Bikinis.

I have also gotten a full page in WSM (Women’s Surfing Magazine) for short boarding, and most recently featured in Sup the Mag on a story about our family.  I am so proud to be part of my family and love being able to be a part of this awesome sport I love so much! I hope I will always be able to share my passions with the world through my volunteer work!

Pailolo Power = Peggy King

As the author of Elder SUP I enjoy talking story with paddlers of all ages. Perhaps because of the name of this blog, a majority of engaging stories come from athletes who have hit that daunting half-century mark.  What’s a common thread? Age is entirely irrelevant to expanding horizons in SUP adventures,

Peggy King is not just "pretty on pink" - she's a powerhouse

Peggy King is not just “pretty on pink” – she’s a powerhouse

One example is Maui’s, Peggy King. As she paddles through her 60’s and is immersed in the pure enjoyment of SUP here’s what she has to say, ”

I hope to make improvements in my times for the upcoming races this year, (2014) including Maui to Molokai (solo)again.”

The Maui to Molokai is a 27 mile open ocean event. Maui2Molokai is sometimes thought of as the little brother of the Molokai2Oahu so to speak. Other than the Kaiwi Channel in the Molokai2Oahu, this race is 10 miles shorter but wind speeds in the Pailolo Channel are known to be the highest in the state of Hawaii.

Simply 60+ and having a blast!

Simply 60+ and having a blast!

Time on the water, a dedication to training and knowledge of winds and currents are just the beginning of preparing for such an event.

photo 3Peggy has a resume documenting just what she needs.  She has put in her training time, plowing through the tough workouts that CrossFit has made famous. And then there’s this: Peggy was a finisher and the oldest solo competitor in the 2013 Maui to Molokai World Cup of Surfing.  

Gnarly stuff, that is! If you saw her in her other hats as an instructor in piano and fitness or in her roles working at various elementary schools on Maui and Valley Isle Fitness Center on Maui you may not suspect the waterwoman spirit you’ve encountered.

From her home in Kula, Maui, Peggy shared some stories about her husband, grown son and her four 4-legged members of the family. It’s natural that she would share her home with her dogs. She has consistently been a volunteer with Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation

I first noticed Peggy’ name in the results page of the 2013 Olukai Ho’olaule’a. Since I was 64 at the time I was hunting peers in the line-up. Peggy nabbed a first place in the age 60 and over division. That’s just the beginning of her 2013 successes: 3rd, 45 and over 14′ fixed fin class at the 2013 Maui Paddleboard Championships(Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor,9.54 miles) and then add her Maui2Molokai.

Photo by Baby Hawaii Photography - blog link

Photo by Baby Hawaii Photography – blog link

I wonder if Peggy’s gift and dedication to playing classical piano enhances her ability to focus and succeed at the daunting events she goes after?   In any event, Peggy defines the power of being SIMPLY 60+ (More about Peggy King)

If Shoulders Could Talk – The “Catch”

After watching the Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club practice in our local Deschutes River and observing the power, speed and fun the OC-1 paddlers generate I had to step off my standup paddle board for a try.

Hooked! After just a few weeks of OC-6 team practices I love the sport – and even more, I love what it has done for my SUP technique. While going fast and training for endurance is important, keeping injury-free while getting the most power from each stroke is a top priority.  Like many of you, I get some training from clinics and pros when possible and make the most of YouTube videos by athletes and trainers we respect.

jennnnnnnI actually had to get a sore shoulder in order to learn some key aspects of the outrigger paddle technique.  In seat 2 one afternoon I sat behind a super strong paddler and a KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele, Jen Kjellesvik (Standup paddle and Payette River Games podium winner). On each reach before the catch it seemed to me that her elbow and forearm set higher than the shoulder – so I mirrored that. The imagery of power I got from Jenn in seat 1 made me feel fast and strong – but my upper arm and shoulder felt fatigued and sore. I chalked that up to using new muscles.

Later when we switched out of the canoe for some dry land training with coach, Meg Chun, we were working on the set/hesitation and catch. One by one we showed our technique – and I showed the way I had done the stroke during practice. “Whoa!,” said Meg. It seemed that what I thought I was seeing from seat 2 was not what was really happening. Jen’s FOREARM and hand were above the shoulder (set-hesitate for that nano-second before each catch) but the elbow floated below the shoulder.

Just as I knew from standup technique, to keep my elbow below the shoulder, the same was true for outrigger. Meg’s training and explanation in the dry land clinic really brought this solidly home. Thinking about setting the scapula, images of bracing with the leg and pulling on a door handle, and repeats of a hesitation before the catch gave muscle-memory to this shoulder-happy technique.

Lisa Jabukowski shows great from (Photo by Dave Chun)

Lisa Jabukowski shows great from (Photo by Dave Chun)

A second lap in the OC-6 gave a chance to practice the technique – but a surprise bonus in imagery came paddling by. Team mate, Lisa Jabukowski, came past in her OC-1. For a few minutes she was off to my right. I watched her upper body through dozens of strokes and noticed her shoulder/back position before each catch and pull. I can’t describe exactly how her rotation was different from what I had been doing but watching her allowed me to make subtle changes. Everything about my stroke was feeling better and nothing was getting sore or unduly fatigued. oc6-1

The next time I was in the water after that clinic I happened to be standup paddling. With outrigger imaging in my mind I kept my bottom arm straight and my upper elbow below my shoulder on the recovery. HESITATION, set and DIG for a solid CATCH. Then using my legs and torso rotation I moved my board forward as the paddle held steady and smooth in the water.

Again and again, 8 strokes per side, for about 4 repeats I went slow and with focused intention. Then it was time to see what a bump in cadence might do.

Sweet! There was an absolutely cool connection between the power in my legs and the rotation of my torso – which moved my shoulders to the proper plane (thank you, Lisa).  I could feel the moment of catch before my legs enhanced by body rotation solidly ooooonched my board forward and past my paddle.

Next day shoulder soreness = NONE!! Muscle memory, great imagery and some solid coaching provided in the outrigger team setting is making a world of difference in my standup technique. If you have a chance to participate in both – give it a try.

Great training video by KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele, Luke Evslin (minute 4:00 was especially an “aha” segment for me.)

Stand Up, Sit Down: Paddle Paddle Paddle

archie-canoeaerila It’s funny, but it was just after the most amazing standup paddle event I have ever done, the Olukai Ho’olaule’a, that I first became seriously interested in the tradition and beauty of sailing canoes. Returning to home town, Bend Oregon, the pull to be a part of the local outrigger team and culture kept growing.

Finally in early April the announcement came: The Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club was having its wash-wax and launch with evening team practices to follow.wash rig

Yup, it had to be windy, cold and rainy – with a few snow flurries during that first week. You have to be tough to paddle in the Pacific Northwest!  But the team spirit was warm and off we went, Ed and I stoked to be in seat 3 (Hut-Ho) and 4, Kialoa hybrid paddles in hand.

The rhythm of the entire 6 was awesome. We did hesitation drills and the lightbulb went on about how important it was to absolutely nail the catch for most power.  We did just under 3 miles before our fingers were freezing – holy cow! I am hooked.

The second practice was 2 days later and the skies had cleared and the temperature reached a balmy 48 degrees. I was in seat 2 behind Jen Kjellesvik – ultimate river woman and powerful paddler (Adventure Fitness Bend – Jenn will be guiding SUP and rafting on the Rogue River this summer – story coming soon).  Mirroring her body position and matching her recovery and set delivered some much-needed muscle memory over the 5 miles we enjoyed that evening.

As the sun set in Central Oregon (smack dab in the middle of the high desert) the Deschutes River became the connection to ages of outrigger tradition. (video here)

In between practice sessions here’s a technique video by KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele, Luke Evslin, that provides valuable insights for newbies and experienced paddlers alike. Standing up or sitting down, paddling seems to bring out the best in all of us! Grab your paddle and get on the water!