Clean Water for Years: For Pennies

No matter how advanced the water treatment systems in most cities might be, as we travel we often come across water that just tastes -ugh! But for the most part, we can be confident that the water is safe to drink.

db2Today 6,500 people will die because they lack clean water. 4,100 of them are children. While we may not be able to help them all, it makes a HUGE difference in the lives of the ones we are able to help. One group actively seeking and delivering solutions helping people with life’s most basis need. WATERisLIFE!  – See more 


db1Far from the third world countries plagued by lack of clean water, WATERisLIFE collaborated with scientists at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia to seek technology that could make a dramatic impact. The result is a revolutionary Drinkable Book, created by Dr. Theresa Dankovich. One book can provide a person clean drinking water for 4 years! Check out this short video demonstrating how the Drinkable Book  will have great impact in the developing world. (Full video below)

db4Important highlights about the book:

  • costs only cents to make
  • each filter can sustain a person for 30 days
  • each book contains enough filters to sustain a person for 4 years
  • bacteria count reduced by 99%, making previously contaminated water of equivalent quality to U.S. tap water
  • filters and kills waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid and E. coli.

Power to Inspire with Malama

The reality is that by choosing to move ourselves across, over and through the magnificent waters of our world via a board and a paddle we have chosen to be self-powered.  That sets the stage for a number of metaphors. Does it inspire you to share your story? Share why you chose SUP or any other power-related tale- we’re interested.

We have one section of this site dedicated to SUP Muses.  We define SUP Muses as a category of SUP influencers whose stories inspire! Do you know a SUP Muse like Candice ApplebyKaren WrennSuzie CooneyHeather Relyea Baus or Brit Oliphant – let us meet them.

dave8SUP Ambassador:  I live in Oregon, home of the paddle family of Meg and Dave Chun and their KIALOA paddles.  I came by my first Kialoa paddle by borrowing those owned by friends.  Over time I have come to admire the technology, feel, strength and lightness of my KIALOA paddle design, but my first connection and commitment to the Kialoa company came from their attitude and traditions. (Design video chat here)

This next piece is from their website: Born on the Island of Oahu in 1991, KIALOA Paddles grew out of Dave Chun’s love for the sport of outrigger canoe racing.   Driven by the desire to build the best paddles in the world, Dave started crafting wood paddles on his parents’ lanai.  Shortly thereafter, he met Meg, a mid-westerner transplanted to Hawaii.  It was a marriage of west and east, island heritage and mainland progressiveness.  The Chuns moved the company to Bend, Oregon in 1992, bringing the Aloha spirit with them.

Against all odds, they started an outrigger club in the High Desert. Nowadays KIALOA makes a full line of stand up, outrigger and dragon boat paddles.  As a KIALOA Paddles E’lele (ambassador) I take my role with a grain of fun and plenty of listening – to all of you!boc1

I believe that as a global water loving “family” we can accomplish our mission to preserve our planet’s waters and help move them to be even more healthy.  One of the cornerstones of the Kialoa vision is Malama: Stewardship.

Wicked Water Problems: Island-style Solutions

bahama3Imagine you are enjoying a cool drink while overlooking the beautiful crystal blue water of the Caribbean and the white sand beaches of the Bahamas. As you think about it, you wonder — where did these ice cubes come from, and where did the water come from that made the punch?

You’re surrounded by the beautiful seawater, but you know you can’t drink it. That leaves a small dot of an island as the only source for your water. More than likely the water in your drink came from a well. But given the small size of the island, the amount of fresh groundwater available is limited.

So the question: Where do tourists get their water? Do they get from it from the same well that the island’s residents do, or does the resort ship in its own water?

A bigger and better question: Could our youngest generation- who will be inheriting such water issues- be inspired to imagine solutions both creative and effective for solving such wicked problems?

(Pause for a moment and watch a video that will inspire and knock your socks off)

More than likely, the resort takes the water out of the island aquifer and treats it to make the water a level of freshness acceptable to tourists. Unfortunately, as the water is drawn from the local aquifer and treated, the fresh water that remains for the Bahamian residents becomes saltier.bahama1

Is this fair to the residents? Which is more important, fresh water for the tourism industry or freshwater for island residents? Is the salty water from the aquifer a minor inconvenience for the residents who can buy bottled freshwater, or is it a social injustice that takes away a basic human right from the resident?

There are no simple answers to these questions. The fact is the residents need the tourism industry to earn money and make a living. On the other hand, the degradation of water quality is a negative impact on the islanders’ quality of life. 

bahamas4Such a dilemma represents a “wicked problem” (Rittel and Webber 1973). A wicked problem represents a conflict between stakeholders (tourists and Bahamians in this example) that has no clear-cut answers and no clear winners or losers. More than likely such a wicked problem will continue over time and never be resolved to either side’s satisfaction. 

Around the world as people gobble up resource, create too much trash, plastic and waste – and as global weather cycles ebb and flow, the need for creative, unique and imagination-rich solutions is becoming more crucial. Did you watch the video about the billboard that makes water?

bahama2 - CopyWe CAN empower our tech-savvy and vulnerable youth who will be inheriting our planet. We can begin with one youth, one school and one community at a time. We can invest in solutions by empowering the very youth for whom we hope to save our global waters. We can begin with a hefty dose of FUN, the SUP kind.

Connecting technology, active ocean sport, resources and fertile ground for nurturing solutions can empower solutions for island communities challenged by wicked water issues. That is the premise of ELDER SUP’s crowd-funding project: STANDUP FOR MOTHER OCEAN. We will begin connecting our support and advocacy in than the incredible Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Want to learn more? FOLLOW ELDER SUP on Facebook


Summer SUP: Hosmer Lake, OR

Summer time and lakes, go together like picnic and burgers, beer and brats, families and fun!

sarongjudy2A drive from Bend OR can provide access to hundreds of idyllic lakes in under an hour. Weirdly, Bend is located in the high desert but the influence of paddling culture and passion is alive and well. Just last Saturday Ed and I put our boards in at Lake Hosmer for a leisurely paddle.  Winds were light and the sun sparkled the gin clear water as trout and (yes) Atlantic Salmon darted underfoot.  We had heard our favorite, Bill Keale, performing just the night before. There seemed like no better song to to accompany the astounding footage of Lake Hosmer than Bill’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow/It’s a Wonderful World,” from his CD, BY REQUEST.

Take a 3-minute tour of one of our favorite high Cascades lakes.

SUP and Giving Back

My “day job” consists of projects and programs geared to engaging members of a community to participate in regular exercise while inspiring others to do the same. Sometime in the midst of helping connect social networks around exercise and health I feel quite sad that so many people do not have absolute joy in their active choices. If you are reading this you know what I mean!

Counting the days, hours or minutes between your standup paddling adventures and journeys only primes you to crave it more. Gathering with friends or heading out for a solo commune with water, sky, wind and nature – it’s all good. Some of you go even further. You design a goal, a journey or a challenge that can do more than simply inspire others. Often a fundraiser or a goal of raising awareness for a cause is at the root of your endeavor. We’d like to connect with dozens of YOUR great efforts here.

We will list your cause and link to stories and websites. Simply e-mail us what you’d like to share and we’ll do the rest.

We want to add your projects, passion and commitment giving to your community and impacting others across generations. If you or a group you know of has made a difference in the lives of others through their SUP and paddling, please share the story with us.

1. Bring Change2Mind: Elite SUP racer, surfer and trainer (among many other areas of expertise) Suzie Cooney has adopted Bring Change2Mind as a cause she supports. You can easily visit their website to take the pledge and start to bring awareness to the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

2. Make a Wish Foundation:  Ocean Minded Brand Ambassador, Cynthia Aguilar, a Miami Beach lifeguard, has completed a paddleboard crossing of the Florida Straits from near Cuba to Key West to raise funds and awareness for the Make a Wish Foundation

3. Courage for Cancer – Karmathon: Elder SUP founder and survivor, Judy Shasek, paddled 33 miles in a day of looping the Deschutes River that flows through Bend, Oregon. Supporting and remembering those whose lives are touched by cancer brought together great energy and karma

4. Standup For a Clean Ocean:  SUP Cleanup Organization’s mission is to remove trash and debris that gets left behind or washed up on beaches.  SUP Cleanup can make our coastal environments healthier now and for future generations.

5. Algalita Foundation-Plastic Free Ocean: Morgan Hoesterey was the first woman to cross the Molokai channel on a stand up paddleboard. Not satisfied she then proceeded to cross the channels of all the Hawaiian Islands to bring awareness of the problems with plastics in our ocean supporting the Algalita Foundation.

6. Stand Up for Diabetes: Stand Up for Diabetes is a single day gathering of family and friends to take to the water with their Stand Up Paddle boards and enjoy time together. STAND UP FOR DIABETES By HDX Hydration Mix Hosted by Ryan Maloney, Alison Riddle and Vipe Desai. One of the fiercest epidemics facing our world today is Diabetes. The facts are alarming. Total prevalence of diabetes Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population

7. Standup for the Cure: Zane Kekoa Schweitzer celebrates winning the distance race in the BOP on a stock board and Breast cancer survivors joined him for a unique free SUP clinic at the BOP


And we hope your story will add to our list. Together we can create a standup network of GOOD.

SUP Perspective – Honoring and Conserving our Ocean

I recently had the good fortune to visit Honolua Bay on Maui. It was quite a different experience from the last time I was there for the Billabong Women’s Surf competition. In early May, the waves were small and the view from Lipoa Point stretched forever. Snorkelers were bobbing over the reefs toward shore, reefs that have enough threats from water temperature changes and need knowledge and protection for their future health.

One surfer had begun a paddle out from the smallish was breaking off the point. He was easily a mile or more offshore. From our vantage point high above the sea we could see a line where two currents and the out-going tide collided. The teeny silhouette of the paddler prone on his board approached the line. Suddenly we saw a consistent movement of splashing. It looked like some huge fish feeding – or a school. Then it got closer and we saw that it was a pod of spinner dolphin. They were leaping, spinning and playing right at the current line.

As the paddler approached he slipped off his board and into the water. the dolphin continued playing, surrounding him while keeping a safe distance. This went on for about 20 minutes, then they began heading further out to sea and around Lipoa Point – with the spinning and jumping show still going full on! The entire experience was breath-taking. The gift of having this area on West Maui is no small thing.

Like most other spectacular places on earth, developers have taken full advantage of deep pockets and real estate for sale. Singer and song writer, Bill Keale tells the story of this in his beautiful way in “Waimanalo Blues” – take a listen.

Lipoa Point is no different. Luckily for the area, there is a strong group of people dedicated to saving Honolua Bay and its unique environment and sea life. I saw a May 30 post on the KIALOA Facebook page that made me very happy. Not the topic (Honolua Bay threatened by development), but the message (youth working with community to make a difference). Please take a look at this video by Joseph Graves.

The “Save Honolua Coalition” has gotten developers’ plans for a golf course and luxury homes retracted for now, but the land is still owned by the developers. The hope is to revitalize the bay and to acquire the land as part of a land trust – using traditional Hawaiian beliefs and practices. The group is very wise in preparing not just to acquire the land but to establish a management plan. Not only is Honlua bay home to many marine species, even a rare breed of sea turtle, but the reefs are fragile cornerstones to all life in the area.

The reefs impact the unique waves for surfers and snorkeling areas – all important to the tourism industry on the island.  Honolua Bay is a state marine life conservation district, but that alone is not enough to save the area.

Please watch the beautifully created video that Joseph created for a school project and please share your ideas or experience in this type of conservation effort – together we can help each other.

Flow-Flow (SUP & Yoga)

I had just finished the 2011 Bend Paddleboard Challenge and was all jazzed and happy to have completed the five miles in fine form – certainly not for speed, just for fun. (Photo by Jill Rosell) Sitting on the beach a bit later, I was watching the few brave souls in the “style” competition. Suddenly all the crowd on the beach noticed someone climbing down the rocky shore with a paddleboard and hop in the river. The next few minutes were absolutely an amazing mix of balance, style, grace, strength – and flow.  Easily winning the event was Kama Blasing, the surprise entry that sparkled the competition.

After that I paid attention to what Kama was doing.  Throughout the summer I heard quite a bit of buzz about the yoga classes available on the wide grassy area at Riverbend Park – both on land and on the water. Inspired by Kama and Shanan Kelley, this series they call “Flow-Flow” caught on quickly.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Kama and Shanan, partners in the unique Flow-Flow (yoga and SUP) classes. There’s no denying the passion and commitment they have for providing this opportunity to their students in Central Oregon. Looking toward warmer weather, they plan to share their skills with many more people this summer.  Whether you have had a long yoga practice or are just beginning, the experience is customized to meet your interest and abilities. (This season’s session begins June 11, 2012) Flow-Flow is available for private group parties.

Some background: In spring 2011, Kama completed her second 200 hour Yoga Teacher training under the care and guidance of Kat Seltzer. Kama also has RYT 200 Ashtanga from 2004 and second RYT Vinyasa Yoga Spring 2011 at MYC. Participating in the Living Yoga program infused her existing practice with Flow. “True creative exploration of the mind, body and spirit though asana….on the mat and off.” It is her hope to share with others the ability to access, feel, and explore the magic of yoga. Shanan recently took her practice to the next level by traveling to the south of Mexico to study Restorative Alignment under Brigitte Longueville’s guidance, in the process earning her first 200 hour Yoga Alliance teacher certification. Returning stateside with a new view on how this ancient practice can enhance one’s life throughout their life.

clarify that Flow-Flow is offered twice weekly June-October Mon & Thurs 5:30-7:30pm

The power of getting into a “flow” state is explained really well by “the father of flow,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Understanding the power of “flow” and gaining insights on how to build more flow to life and work, I have read  Csikszentmihalyi’s work many times. According to Csikszentmihalyi, “the flow experience is typically described as involving a sense of control – or, more precisely, as lacking in the sense of worry about losing control that is typical in many situations of normal life. Flow describes well the sense of seemingly effortless movement”

We can all remember a time, usually back in our childhood, when movement, freedom and an absolutely effortless sense of flow was ours. For me, it was often that barefoot walk in summer-soft grass warmed by the sun. When Kama and Shanan described how they begin their Flow-Flow classes I was like, “Sign me up!” Class begins on the uneven grassy earth with a Vinyasa series that unfolds an amazing connection of breath, movement, earth and nature. After 45 minutes of Vinyasa flow on the grass the experienced is enhanced by taking SUP boards to the Deschutes River.  Each person can choose to simply paddle or to explore yoga moves or postures on the paddleboard. No matter what SUP skill level a participant has, this part of the class is based on committing and staying focused.

“Vinyasa yoga teaches us to cultivate an awareness that links each action to the next – on the mat and in our lives” (Photo by Paul Clark, Black and Red Photography)

Shanan Kelley just couldn’t keep a big grin off her face as she described the basic passion she and Kama have for their flow flow classs. From the beginner to the individual with a more advanced practice, they provide training that helps foster a shift in movement that supports change and is a catalyst for openness. As body tissues are gently coaxed toward opening an awareness of how that is a metaphor of the Flow-Flow philosophy.

Yoga done out in nature adds many dimensions to the practice. Grounding feet is far different done on the grass touching warm earth than similar grounding practiced indoors.  Raising up and reaching toward the sky – and being able to actually see the sky – wonderful! I am looking forward to trying this class.  As Kama and Shanan guide us, I am looking forward to being reminded to find the “okay” spot and being present where I am on that given day.

Life offers us many challenges and a culture of more-better-strive-best.  While Flow-Flow encourages exploration and change, there is something more.  According to Kama and Shanan, “Being a beginner is a treasure.”

If you have experienced Flow-Flow (SUP and yoga) in Bend, OR, please share your comments with us.