Santa Cruz Local: Covewater Rules

We love to explore new surf spots when we visit the coast. Recently we got a bonus in Santa Cruz.  After grabbing some fun waves at Cowells and Indicators – skipping Steamer Lane – we spent a flat day in town.  Off on Water St we discovered Covewater Paddle Surf, a shop fully dedicated to SUP.

covepaddleWalls of the brands that innovate and lead SUP design line the walls, including the Kialoa GL Hulu paddle. Accessories and apparel are neatly displayed – with a vast array of choices.

We were fortunate to meet Olivier, the store owner – enthusiastic, knowledgable and eager to connect with the community – both locals and visitors.

When asked what’s the most fun about taking groups on SUP trips to local beaches, Olivier had this to share, “It’s all about sharing the passion of stand up paddling. The most fun is like when you have new paddlers who really get stoked. They realize that’s all they want to do now after taking a class with us . One by one they become part of the SUP community.”

coveshopdesignI spotted a great design on a sweet, vibrant colored hoodie and immediately inquired about the Polynesian inspired design.

Olivier filled me in, “We wanted to refresh the logo and the identity of Covewater. I have a lot of interest in Polynesian art and culture that is very oriented to the ocean.

From there I had a chance to start working with James de Leon at 57 Design. James aka JD was the perfect person to work with on this project. He has the same passion as I do about stand up surfing but also about the Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and art.

We both really enjoyed this  project that included a new logo and also a full new website featuringthe Covewater apparel. “olivier-design1

 

Take some time to learn about the history and culture of Covewater Paddle Surf, a history that brings the entire team pride in what they do.
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Power of Presence: SUP and Meditation

As more and more attention is given to the practice of meditation, we come to realize where the magic begins. The power within meditation begins with breath awareness. Have you had that moment in a yoga class when you follow a breath all the way to an open heart – and that still moment at the top – then followed the exhale with full awareness? That’s just one opportunity for the power of presence.

SUP Meditation: Presence on the water

Traditional meditation practiced while seated provides a rich opportunity to calm our mind-body and bring a new mindful presence and balance to life.  For those of us who find a sense of meditative calm while on the water, a unique practice called “Power of Presence SUP” or P2SUP can allow us to meditate while enjoying our favorite pasttime. cropped-p2sup_logo_v2_vert_250-300x300

It’s easy to head out for a paddle and become scatter-brained and defocused. Thoughts of work/relationship/life problems, busy-ness and plans chatter through our mind. With P2SUP guided meditations, anyone can enjoy a mindful and present meditation practice while standup paddling – from the very first session. (Learn more here)

Have you ever started out on a paddle ready for calm and realize you’ve got a monkey-mind along for the ride? The monkey mind bounces around from one thing to another. It is as if we are on an out of control horse, heading to the nearest cliff.  Our senses and emotions become reactive, not reflective.

 

Breathing Meditation: Enjoy a P2SUP experience (give us 15 minutes)

pc201522The goal of meditation is to diminish the self into focus and mindfulness so we can be free, compassionate (with ourselves and others) and discover stress-free calm.

 

SUP has a great effect to calm the mind. Even while paddling our ability to pay attention is sometimes degraded by the fast pace of our modern world. Before a training paddle, or one that is simply being out on the water, taking time to pay attention and practice a p2SUP meditation is the key to this end. Our sport provides us with many opportunities to meditate. p2SUP can be your guide as you develop your own practice over time.

Explore More:

We invite you to Live Presence and Share Presence.

Introduction to P2SUP

The Basics of P2SUP

How Do I Begin?

Why Walk On Water?

7 Reasons to P2SUP

The Birth of P2SUP

Explore, “All SUP is Yoga.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day: SUP Magic

The day before we planned to head off on a 3-day camping trip – a trip with rain predicted at 90% the entire time (and 50 degrees) – I took a yoga class. This was not just any yoga class. It was the noon “Rejuv” taught by the brilliant, cool and gifted Cynthia LaRoche (GrooveYogaBend).  As she does so well, Cynthia led us through our restorative poses with wisdom and humor. Somewhere in the midst of it all she said something to the effect, “let what you don’t like be the teacher.” That was not the theme of the class, or even a large part of the message – but that is what resonated for me. clear4

I was going in to three days of camping in the rain with an attitude as bleak as the weather report.  For the most part, i do not like rain. Give me those blue sky days any time.  I was the prime example of what Sorine Cerin (Wisdom Collection: The Book of Wisdom) said, “Rain drops are not the ones who bring the clouds.”

clear5It was time for me to switch gears, be grateful for the opportunity of three days with friends, in the outdoors and in an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It was time for me to be open, to learn from what I basically did not believe that I liked.

Dana Arcuri says it so well, “The more you are grateful for what you have the more you can live fully in the present.”  That is my life journey, so practicing gratefulness and celebrating the present moment whatever it might be became my roadmap for the weekend. clear-lake-spring

What a gift!  In a 43 degree drizzle I dropped my husband and two buddies off to play golf and headed to Clear Lake, OR for a morning of paddling.  The experience was beyond expectation (what a truth) and a powerful lesson.

As Louise Erdich said, “I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms.”  From the light mist that welcomed my first paddle stroke, to the chilly downpour mid-paddle. Solitude and stillness, lush greens and every imaginable blue created magic.clear2

And guess what. The sun actually came out!

This post is a re-post of my story originally on my “Power of Presence” blog – meditations for SUP and Walking. Much mahalo to KIALOA and Sweet Waterwear for supporting P2SUP from the beginning.

Enjoy the video of the experience here: If you want to enjoy our P2Walk meditation, “Walk with Gratitude” explore this link.

Driftwood: SUP Film Review

From ski movies to films about surfing, SUP, cycling and wilderness adventures, I love to vicariously travel and experience sports stories. While I work in words, music and images presented in films can impart an energy and immersion like nothing else.  Last night I had the pleasure of viewing a film envisioned and produced by Jim Brewer. The film is Driftwood. Directed by Peter Trow and narrated by Shaun Tomson, it carries the viewer on an extraordinary journey.

driftwood1 Driftwood is more than simply a film about paddle surfing, but equally about culture and discovery. Surfers Sam George, Noah Yap, Ammy Naff, and Jim Brewer travel to Sri Lanka, Iceland, and Colombia, among other places, on their quest to paddle rivers and oceans around the world. In a conversation with Jim Brewer, her shared, ” I had an idea to make a film that focused more on the places we visited rather than the travelers themselves. It was my job to capture details for each location. Hopefully, the viewer will get a sense of the experience of the many different locations and cultures.”

In my mind, the team did exactly that! While I have no aptitude for music, I couldn’t miss the dance between breath-taking local images and the rhythm and style of the soundtrack. Jim explains it like this, “I put an incredible amount of time into finding the soundtrack for the film. I wanted the music of the film to be representative of locations we visited and help to create a feeling for the country and our adventures there. For me, the music is the most important part of the film so I put a lot of effort into finding tracks that help to highlight the images.”

They nailed it! I read a review of the film by Glenn Dubock and couldn’t agree more with his description of the Driftwood experience, “Imagine yourself free floating in a liquid Technicolor world; here, you interact with locals and wildlife in places that haven’t seen anyone ply their waters on a craft quite like yours. This is exactly what the creative Jim Brewer and Peter Trow so masterfully captured in high definition during their globetrotting adventure on standup paddleboards. “Driftwood,” as Brewer clearly states, is not a movie about SUP—SUP just happens to be the watercraft of choice that allows Brewer and Trow to enter into some very far off places and become involved with some very far-out people.”

Put your passport away and grab a beer and some popcorn – the adventure comes to your home.  Enjoy a short trailer here, then grab your copy of Driftwood.

DRIFTWOOD from Jim Brewer – Santa Barbara on Vimeo.

La Ventana Classic – A New Champion

We love to watch elite SUP racers vie against the wind and current, gliding far on bumps and waves in a challenging down-winder.  In the January La Ventana Classic a champion rose from the local community on a waterlogged board that floated ashore as ocean debris and with a paddle he constructed from scrap metal and blue paint. You may be scratching your head, “What?”  Me too, but then I got the story from the top female racers in the week long event, Terri Plunkett and Bonnie Fromm. (Featured image by Matt Treger Photography)

Terri shared, “La Ventana Classic was a magical event with down-winders similar to Maui. The El Norte wind powers down the beautiful Sea of Cortez.  While all that was amazing, I was most touched by the local community and the cause this event supported. All proceeds went to send high school kids to school. The cost is $300/kid per year, but let me put this in perspective. During the week we were there the Mexican government announced the minimum wage was raised – to $4.50 (comparable USD) per DAY.  No wonder the tuition is beyond the reach of most families.

Over 13,000.00 was raised and instantly distributed to selected students based on the student’s willingness and motivation for education So many are so poor. I really felt and saw the poverty first hand. Just giving your hat to a local kid made them so so happy. But the generosity, the sharing of food, talent and smiles indicated to us all how rich the community was in spirit. They had parties every night with local bands
Many groups of children performed and danced for us at the event site. The K and 1st graders being over the top adorable! The locals made and sold homemade tamales, cerviche and burritos every day. We had board caddies to cart our boards around for us.”

Who was the local champion?

julioBonnie Fromm completed Julio’s story, “One local father paddled from town on his soft top board (yes, the waterlogged 50-pounder) and chewed up, homemade paddle to join us! Julio was an inspiration to all of us in his determinAtion to finish all five races. After one race we were able to loan him a solid board and nice paddle. He finished every race with a huge smile. I asked him how he got in such great shape to paddle so well and he pulled out his rosary beads, kissed them then said ‘strength for our kids’ in spanish! In the end he was awarded a new paddle for being so inspirational.”

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Julio and his hand crafted paddle

Julio Caesar Locero ended up as the Town Hero. It was a challenge for even seasoned racers to do all 5 races. The “down-winders” ranged from 5-15 miles and were often side wind in large chop and surf. His desire and courage was contagious! No one wanted to see Julio out on the water on the waterlogged board he found washed ashore. Anthony Vela  rallied the vendors and eventually Julio was loaned an F1 board to use.  Rather than raffling off one of the paddles, the race manager presented it to Julio. Cheers and great energy came every time he was on the podium. Terri and Bonnie agree, “We all learned that racing is about heart, friends and our shared love of SUP.”

There is a lot more to this story:

Read More, “Buoy Crash = Friendship”

Oregon Coast: Gotta Go Fish

pc20153We packed our trailer and headed out from Bend, OR in mid-September with iflatables for cruising adventures and a couple of boards for SUP surf. Pacific City – here we come. The weekend kicked off with the annual Longboard competition. Saturday offered up some sweet waves, glassy and chest to head high. Riding a swell all the way to shore in the shadow of beautiful Cape Kiwanda on a warm sunny day is just about paradise.pc20151

In spite of dozens of trips to Pacific City and a few days catching salmon in both the spring and fall runs, we had never paddled the branch of the Nestucca River that flows east from town all the way to the inlet where the Pacific comes roaring in.

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Screenshot (152)On our first trip we knew we were paddling out on an out-going tide. With a spinning rod on Ed’s board and my net strapped to my board we planned to fish at the inlet where all the boats seemed to have the most luck. After a few hours of fishing, the tide would be incoming, making the paddle back a breeze.

We put in at “Guardrails,” just across from Bob Straub State Park. The trip was idyllic – seals sunbathed by the dozens on untracked sandy beaches, forested cliffs reached high to the south and the closer we got to the inlet the more clear and marine blue it became.pc20159

Currents swirled with plenty of energy as we approached the south side of the inlet. Absolutely wear your PFD and use a leash. There were so many combinations of eddies, waves and powerful current that it took concentration to get from the inlet area to the pocket beach we founf on shore – but was it ever WORTH IT! pc201522

After about an hour of casting, Ed hooked in to a HUGE salmon. As it leaped, guys in the 16 boats fishing the inlet gave a thumbs up and the fight was on. Just as Ed was about to get spooled, the fish began to turn. Then, unawares, a boat cruised across the inlet and cut the line. We lost the fish but gained some friends among the fishermen.

A few days later we were back for the third time and one of the guys from the first day – the BIG fish day – offered to put Ed in his boat and take him out for a salmon. They had caught their limit and had to admire Ed’s presistance. I also think they admired our trips up and down the river stretch paddling our SUPs in all kinds of conditions over the week.

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The one day that an incoming tide couldn’t match the 20-25 mph headwind on our return home was something we would not like to repeat. Even the best laid plans come up against good old Mother Nature. Be prepared, know your waters, tides, winds and currents and stya with your paddle buddy.

pc20157Our last night in Pacific City with fresh grilled salmon, a beach walk at sunset and a local brew could not have been better.

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SUP 11-City Tour: Inspiration and Grit

First and foremost a focused and passionate paddler

First and foremost a focused and passionate paddler

I am pleased to recently meet, Valerie Hirschfield,  the mother of three boys who will kick off Fall with the September SUP 11-City Tour in Holland. The Tour is an ultimate challenge and also a unique experience in which paddlers travel 220 km (136 miles) in five days with weather conditions varying from windless and beautiful to sunny, or cold and rainy.  Ultimate challenge is exactly right for Valerie, who lives her life with zesty energy, a powerful attitude, tenacity and the ability to inspire. You will notice in her photo that Valerie standup paddles with a challenge that might daunt most.

While 200+ paddlers race and cruise past open fields with windmills, cows, and sheep and encounter  eleven historical cities Valerie will be unique in that she is the first to participate in the event after the loss of a leg. Most of us would have trouble simply standing with a prosthetic leg, but Valerie has dedicated her love of SUP to finding the right training that will allow her to reach the skill level she wants and needs for events like this.

Elder SUP asked Valerie, why do you do a race like this, and Valerie explained, ” i love a challenge.  I also believe that one has no limits and can do anything that we set our minds to do.   I’m not doing it to come first, but i also don’t want to be last.   I’ve seen handicaped men taking part in challenges but never women, so i think its time a female did something.” valh1

valh9What is it about SUP that captured Valerie so completely? “I love the sea, love a challenge and its the first sport that I did with a prosthetic leg.   I think finding this 11-City Tour challenge just made it more enjoyable.   I do other sports too – my favourite is wheelchair tennis.”

Many elite water athletes have participated in the Tour including Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer, Marc Raaphorst, Donna Raaphorst, Eric Terrien, Bart de Zwart and Byron Kurt , Karen Wrenn, Jenny Kalmbach and Anne-Marie Reichman. After tennis, climbing – and even the challenge of walking, Valerie made the commitment, entered the event and is enjoying a summer of specific training.

Valerie’s husband will be making the trip and following the race, but not on a board. But Valerie could use some more help – not often, but we can help her for this event and beyond. Valerie is hoping to get a better knee so that she can compete, inspire and empower through her events. Valeries shares, “All the people that are sending me funds are helping me too, as i will be able to compete with a better prosthetic knee which will make a big difference to me.”

Click the image to reach Valeries website and lots more stories and information

Click the image to reach Valeries website and lots more stories and information

You can help too, Click to reach her non-profit organization page for information. You can help by simply SHARING  this post on your Facebook. Here’s a bit about Valerie. She’s about to be 51 years old, mother of three sons, wife, girlfriend, diligent and persevering sporty, beautiful and brave … beyond any test. Many decades ago she had to wage her toughest fight against a disease that took her leg but not her will to survive and thrive.

Valerie looks forward to meeting you all and sharing the Holland 11-City Tour through photo updates on her site.