Standup for the Cure – Positivity

You expect participants in a highly personal, built-for-connection event like Standup for the Cure to be enthusiastic and highly invested in experiencing a positive event. The surprise for me at the November 12 event at Miami Yacht Club was the attitude and absolute commitment of the sponsors. A lot of the praise for that goes to the tireless enthusiasm and work by event director, Dan Van Dyke (shown here leading the prayer circle).

sftcm2Before I go on and on about the weather for the event (absolutely stellar), the course (indescribably beautiful) and the raffle prizes (so many, and all so cool), I will introduce you to some of the many sponsors i enjoyed talking with.

The sun was bright so one of the first people I chatted with was Morgan Parker of Raw Elements, makers of clear and tinted sunscreen made with 100% natural ingredients including zinc oxide. The moisturizer was evident as I applied the clear stick blend to my face. They were at the event because, “It’s a great cause and a natural audience for our mission toward skincare and cancer prevention.”

Speaking of prevention, I experienced the quick and easy breast cancer screening available at no charge to all. In the course of the Standup for the Cure history hundreds upon hundreds of early stage cancers have been detected, with support and followup made available. Each $125 raised by the event is used to support someone in need for screening. With $850,000+ raised so far think of the positive impact the event has had for so many of us across the country. sftcmview

We all love the ocean, surfing and a great cause but we don’t all take action to make a difference. Two local high school students Jacy and Joie started SURF TO THE RESCUE at the end of their 2016 school year. These students donate proceeds to Surfers for Autism, except on Nov 12 all proceeds went to Standup for the Cure. The shirts are top quality and the logos unique – and their hearts are definitely in the right place.

sftcmhatBesides winning a very cool hat at the Ambry Genetics booth (answered questions about breast cancer correctly), I had a fantastic conversation with Jaci Talpash. Few could be more proud of the work done by their company. She shared so much about all Ambry Genetics does and I walked away grateful for all the teams behind the innovations and research.

The team from Cobian Footwear (check out the styles) lives their #everystepmatters message with their participation in causes that resonate.  Grag Tayler shared, “We are national sponsors of Standup for the Cure, so this is not a one time effort for us. They are honored to be part of the effort fighting breast cancer and those working to find a cure.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse fed us well with perfectly grilled burgers on melt in your mouth buns. Kona Brewing Company team froze their hands off reaching into a cooler full of ice to hand us perfectly chilled beer. We all needed it after an active morning. The morning was made more active for many as Andrew Crane representing Starboard  shared Allstar and Freeride boards, paddles, leashes and PFDs to dozens upon dozens of eager paddlers, both novice and super experienced racers. sftcmreeride

The most connected and positive community gathers at every Standup for the Cure event. Smiles were plentiful and awareness buzzed throughout the day. Thanks for inspiring us Shawneen Schweitzer Shelby Kailei Lane Schweitzer Zane Kekoa Schweitzer Matty Schweitzer Judie Vivian Dan Van Dyck and all the enthusiastic and loyal sponsors including
Ambry Genetics West Marine Maui Jim Cobian Kona Brewing Company sftcmona

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Miami Yacht Club

Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter (No single use plastic bottles at the event – tons of awareness instead of tons of plastic).

sftcmsrBe sure to check out the schedule for an upcoming event and be sure to be part of exactly the energy our sport is known for.  Aloha!

 

Mindfulness: Life with Purpose

Sometimes a message just hits home – for me it was a yoga class about 2 years ago. A quote, right timing and a curiosity for “present moment awareness” set me on an adventure I called “Power of Presence SUP,” meditations to hear while paddling. It’s funny – once you become aware, the signs, lessons, energy and path that’s right seem to open wide.

Often on a long paddle the rhythm of the water and the movement set my mind adrift. Other times, it sets my mind on fire. After a fantastic TEDx Women Bend conference last week – it was on fire! Stories are me! And this was a day of harnessing our own story, beginning with, “What is life asking me to do now?” Through exploration of inspiration, intuition and insight we can create the story (and the path) that’s right for us, right now.

Our story can begin much like the conference began – with poetics of authenticity. Krayna Castelbaum dazzled us with poetry selections that left me with this message, “A new beginning of the heart is waiting for you to be ready to emerge.” That’s solid enough to grapple and gnaw on for a 4-5 mile paddle on a sunny day.laird-hamilton-quote

fogturnOr maybe when the surf looks daunting the phrase she shared, “Learn to find ease in risk,” could be very valuable.

Poetry. I haven’t really immersed in the rhythm and wisdom, rhyme and heart of poetry for a long while. My poetry is in the water, waves, currents and wind.

I am inspired to give time to poetry, to the bold words of others stoked on life lived boldly and with heart. Thank you Krayna for sharing. And the next time I get crushed by a shorebreak and finally grab my board to paddle out again I can be grateful with these words resonating, “Courage kindled and you stepped out eyes young again.” jaws-ed1

Mindfulness, meditation and the gift of poetry on the water.

 

Lake Powell Paddleboards: Bucket List to Wonder List

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imageIt’s a tried and true, well-known aspiration – let’s see, do, experience or visit (fill in the blank) and check it off our “bucket list.” Ed and I headed to Lake Powell with our Starboard inflatable touring boards and a bucket list- slot canyon paddling experience in mind. Fortunately we had contacted Joe and Jordan at Lake Powell Paddleboards beforehand to schedule a one-day private trip.

img_0980From the first moment we walked into their shop we knew that Joe and Jordan had created a very special culture and vibe in Page, Arizona. The store was built out of a number of shipping containers, paneled with wood reclaimed from pallets and insulated with environmentally sound materials.

The photos just begin to tell the story.  Joe (behind the counter) is under a custom painted board, just one of many unique, one-of-a-kind objects and posters that tell the story of connection with community and water-athletes.

 

After falling spontaneously in love with the canyons and waters that make Lake Powell, they made a move based from their heart and a passion for standup paddling. Check out their website often. While they have an incredible service-based operation now – they envision so much more Lake Powell exploration and coolness coming in 2017.

img_0998We were so lucky to grab the last full-day adventure of their season. After a long and  busy spring-summer, Joe told us to be at the marina at 6:30 am because the beauty and glassiness of the water is prime at sunrise. No burn out or fatigue from Joe after all those busy weeks – he was no less in awe of the oranges that welcomed our day or the full moon setting as we hopped on the boat.img_0999

We got a “whack on the side of the head” from a day that turned all expectation on its ear. The best words I can use to describe the energy and magic that Joe and the team at Lake Powell Paddleboards brought to the experience are “a sense of wonder.” That and an absolute respect and love for Lake Powell.

We hadn’t motored 100 yards before Joe pulled out a fish net and picked up a floating bag of chips that apparently blew off a boat.  There was very little litter but he nabbed the few we saw. Not a word was said, but the respect was evident. And the “talk story” continued without a hiccup. We learned so much – what a day!

Our destination for the day was Labyrinth Canyon, a spot we could have reached in maybe a third of the time if we zoomed over with a focus on “arriving.” That’s not the experience we got – and for that we were beyond grateful. We meandered up river and learned the names of landmarks and formations along the way.  Boundary Butte and Dominguez Butte became familiar, as did Navajo Rock, Tower Rock and Gunsight. Joe shared so much insight about the water, the rocks, geology and canyons.img_1012

More than what we learned, we connected to the energy and awe in the magnificence of where we were.  Joe couldn’t hide   his enthusiasm if he wanted to.

We arrived as the solitary adventurers at the mouth of Labyrinth Canyon and secured the boat on the sand.

img_1013Yippee! It was paddle time. We got on our Riviera Voyager 12’6″ boards (awesome tracking and glide) and began the paddle into the canyon that became more narrow, incredible and “full of wonder” as we went. Maybe 2 miles into the canyon and it narrowed. The water ended at a small beach with a path that wound into the canyon ahead.

We left the boards and donned water shoes for what would be the most unexpected, amazing experience – again – instilling us with a child-like sense of “WOW!” that increased with every step.

The photos barely do justice to the texture, colors, ever-changing light and shadow. The vibration of the ages seemed to radiate from the twisting and turning serpentine hallways of ancient stone. image

At one point the air filled with a low thumping sound. We looked up and saw a Great Horned Owl swoop up then land on the canyon wall just overhead. As curious about us as we were about him, we enjoyed several minutes of shared stares. What a bonus.

Back to the water we began our paddle out of the more narrow canyon slots to the wider areas where the wind had picked up a bit.  With maybe 500 images captured by our cameras we were still remarking at every turn – “amazing!!!

imageAs we began our journey back to the dock enjoying lunch and “talk story” time we fully expected Joe to be more than ready to close down this final guided trip of the season. Not so. He had a few other spots to share.  We came around one rock outcropping to see a section of sky and clouds that dazzled.

Joe had seen the shot and let us snap more photos. At another area the water was more shades of absolutely clear blues and greens than you could imagine. Yes, it was October, but the day was warm, sunny and we had to leap in.img_1010

As we docked the boat at the end of the trip we knew this was not just a bucket list experience. We had a different spirit of wonder, a deeper respect for the area. Suddenly we wished for more time. You can schedule a multi-day guided experience for you and your friends and family. Don’t miss out.

You may be able to take a guided standup paddle trip in many different beautiful places. But if you are ever in the vicinity of  Lake Powell  don’t miss the chance to gain that kid-like grin, the custom experience and the customer service expertise that comes with a special discovery – Lake Powell Paddleboards.

 

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.

Gnarly Buoy Turns = SUP Racing Friendship

The La Ventana Classic ended its race week with a 5.5 downwind race from the Hot Springs to Baja Joe’s. Overall rankings were announced at the end of the day with Bonnie Fromm, Terri Plunkett and Dianna Steven taking first, second and third respectively for the Wahine class. While by no surprise, Anthony Vela, who has dominated all of the week’s SUP races, took first followed by Jeremy Vaine and MacRae Wylde.

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New friends and winners – Bonnie Fromm and Terri Plunkett

Better than trophies, Terri and Bonnie met while inadvertantly crashing into each other at crazy, gnarly buoy turns in Race #1 – the course race – and being gracious about it all. They easily connected and became fast friends. Terri shares, “Race # 1 sucked. The course race was insane for me because paddling upwind on an inflatable is so hard.  My inflatable ULI board was incredible in the down wind events, it really took off in the wind! The best part of the course race is that it was when I met Bonnie Fromm. Good PEOPLE that Bonnie Girl and she is strong and fast!!”

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Terri’s KIALOA HUlu paddle and her Uli inflatable powered her through amazing down wind runs at La Ventana

Bonnie set the stage for our story, “Terri and I competed in 4 out of 5 events: a course race, a 4 mile downwind, La Cruces 10mile, and El Norte 5 mile downwind. We both skipped the island crossing as it was 11 miles of cross chop and would have made the final races too much. The final El Norte was my favorite as the wind was great and the waves coming  into Baja Joe’s were a hoot.”

The Downwinder Sprint is an 8 mile coastal Downwinder sprint from Rancho Las Cruces- paddlers race downwind breaking free in the La Ventana swells with the wind at their back. It was the most challenging race of the event. It was meant to be a down winder  but the waves and wind both were on shore with wave reflection from the cliffs. Bonnie gives us some insight, “We had the rare opportunity to start our downwind paddle race from Las Cruces, the private playground for Bing Crosby and the Ratpack! It was eight miles of pristine coastline in wild waves that challenged every balance muscle! Incredible experience with Awesome people! We paddled cross wind through huge washing machine waves for about 7 miles before rounding Puento Gordo and turning downwind. It was BEAUTIFUL but some of the most difficult water I have ever been on. I was thrilled to remain standing and dry with only a few tumbles to my tush.”

terripbonniegroupTerri told us that the drive to the start of the La Cruces race took 2 1/2 hours through dirt roads across a countryside that was surreal and spectacular. A key was needed to get in to the gate, a private access to the start. The start was in the middle of no where – and once the horn sounded the racers were split apart by wind and waves. Terri explained, “I felt very alone. Back on shore no one remained after the start. I paddled past incredible, pristine beaches but it was also a bit eerie, no buildings or support.

I was connected to my board, the only means of support, by a thin leg leash. Once we passed Puento Gordo the experience could not have been better.  Las Cruces. Baja Mexico. 10.5miles of paddling along this magical pristine coast line with winds blowing us furiously toward the finish line. What a rare and amazing experience. Another gift paddling a SUP has given me. Along with a new friend.”

terripanthnyv

Anthony Vela had a great week with friends old and new – and winning La Ventana Classic

On Facebook, Anthony Vela posted, “This was the start of the Tres Cruces Downwind race in La Ventana. Such a beautiful place to see, thank you to everyone at the La Ventana Classicwho helped with the many logistics to make moments like these possible. Over 50 miles of paddling last week 

After the awards were announced, Tim took the mic to announce the final sum that was raised in support of the local school kids. All money, beyond costs of running the event, will go directly to the Amigos de Alumnos group, to contribute to high school scholarships and help local students in La Ventana/El Sargento continue their education. The grand total of $12,666 dollars will allow 42 kids to continue high school! 

Although the cost to attend high school is only $300 US annually per student, this cost is a roadblock for some Mexican families and stops many bright and motivated young people from attending high school.

Training Tips

Terri couldn’t say enough about winner of the Classic, Anthony Vela.  Back in CA, Anthony leads Performance Paddling (Dana Point, CA), for adult racers. Terri tells us, “The drills that we practice with Performance Paddling I used in every event, particularly the 11-mile side wind island crossing. ‘Bracing,’ ‘One sided paddling,’ ‘Step back & brace,’ ‘Lean turning,’ ‘Stop back brace and stall’ and the ‘Quick change drill.’ So many things we practice every day are applied to open ocean paddling.”

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KIALOA ‘Elele Terri Plinkett plays at training with a smile.

Bonnie had been in Baja for 4 weeks and had done numerous down wind paddles. She trains by doing,  trying to paddle a few times a week throughout the year. She’s stoked by the performance of her Amundson 12’6″ TR-X, “my saving grace in the wild seas.”

bonniedw

Bonnie Fromm gliding fast in her “happy place.”

Cross training is part of Bonnie’s program, “I’m off to the Northwest to ski and hope to enter my first skate ski race! Paddlewise I will probably not compete again until  The Rose City Races (Portland).

 Big thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers at the event— without them it would not have been possible! The mayors of local towns, Los Planes and El Sargento, were both in attendance and were incredibly thankful for everybody’s support.

 

 

Some history ……… Las Cruces, Baja MX  – Rancho Las Cruces The exclusive property of Las Cruces is located approximately 30 road miles south east of La Paz, capital of the State of Baja California Sur, Mexico Rancho Las Cruces Baja Resort The start of the 11mile downwinder Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, was told about a great Island filled with gold and pearls of wonderful size and color. Determined to find the source of such impressive riches and to claim the fabled island of pearls for the Spanish crown Cortés sent various expeditions. On one of these Cortés himself set forth and landed on May 3rd, 1535 on what was thought to be an island. In commemoration of his landing he placed three crosses on the land he baptized as Santa Cruz. Stone replicas of these crosses still remain in the site where Rancho Las Cruces now stands. Part of the land known as Santa Cruz by the early Explorers would later be named Las Cruces. Although he found no gold, Cortés did find pearls of astonishing beauty.

Abelardo L. Rodriguez Montijo & Lucille Bremer Down the centuries the shores of Las Cruces and the islands of Cerralvoand Espirito Santo were renowned for their fabulous pearls but a decline in the pearl oyster started as early as 1900 and by 1929 the pearl industry of Baja belonged to the past. Standing where Cortés once stood more than 400 years earlier, Abelardo L. Rodriguez Montijo watched the rising sun cast its array of magnificent color on the tranquil sea. He saw the remains of thatched huts, water wells and aqueducts that once irrigated beautiful tropical orchards and native palms. He realized then, that although depleted of pearls, Las Cruces could still provide treasure. He believed that the enchantment of ten thousand acres with more than five miles of private sea coast would be gratifying to those who must face maddening crowds and churn through congested traffic. In 1948 he and his beautiful bride, Lucille Bremer decided to turn Las Cruces into a small luxury resort.

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”

Pacific Paddle Games 2015: Talk Story with Cyril Burguiere

 KIALOA ‘Elele Cyril Burguiere has a passion for paddling. He’s definitely not limited to rivers and oceans in his pursuit of high end training and speed – this busy guy trains whenever and wherever the path leads.
And then there is the day job.  It’s not easy for anyone to get in shape for the dmands of an ocean SUP event. Cyril shares that he came to the 2015 inaugaral Pacific Paddle Games exhausted from a grueling work week. In his words, “I had been to Toronto Mon-Wed with many customers and late nights getting proposals completed. Then work continued late Thursday and a little into the weekend. I actually brought my laptop to the beach. Not the first time – my Payette Games experience was the same (2014). Week prior was travelling too. When I am on the road I use the Exer-Genie exercise tool in my hotel room to keep my pulling muscles working on business trips

Continue reading

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.

pc20154 pc20152

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.

pc201511  pc201500

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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Live Like You Paddle: Jaimie Kinard

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It’s always great to hear from KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele Jaimie Kinard.  Beyond her exploits in and on the water she is always reaching for ways to share her time and talents.

In June, Jaimie and two friends started “In Her Element,” a Hawai’i-based women’s outdoor adventure and lifestyle blog. One of the friends, Britt Harris, is an ER nurse at Wahiawa General, an avid surfer, trail runner and general fitness enthusiast. Taylor Nelson just graduated from UH and is a talented, graceful longboarder. None of the three claim to be experts in fitness, health or nutrition. In Jaimie’s words, “We are just three regular ladies who wanted a safe space to share, motivate, and encourage other women.”

Check out the blog for for workout ideas or to read/comment on/subscribe to the interesting and insightful blog posts. Jaimie invites you, “We welcome positive feedback, comments, questions, etc as we scoot along on our journeys! Come along to encourage and be encouraged!”

jknew4Other news from Jaimie include quite and adventure with her Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) recruit classmate and dear friend, Sanja du Plessis. They embarked on four days and three nights on the Kalalau Trail on the island of Kaua’i. It was a challenging 11 miles to Kalalau Beach plus an additional 4 to check out Hanakapiai Falls.jknew5

Jaimie was set on seeing the Na Pali coastline from land as she had previously only seen it from the water, paddling by in an outrigger canoe. Jaimie shares, “It was definitely harder hiking the coastline with a 47 pound pack than paddling it, but I was frequently rewarded with jaw-dropping views along the way. I wouldn’t have traded the sweat, muscle aches or lost toe nail for anything.”

Make a Wish: Jaimie and HFD fire fighter Kama Ortiz  volunteer as Wish Grantors for the Make a Wish foundation. They were lucky enough to get a friend/fellow HFD fire fighter’s son as their Wish Kid. He was just recently cleared as NED (No Evidence of Disease) from osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone) and continues with physical therapy three times a week and medication for pain management. On his 11th birthday they presented Kalā Peter with his Make-A-Wish wish.He and his family will be attending the PAX Seattle in August, thanks to Make-A-Wish Hawai’i. Sharing, caring and embodying the many attributes found in her sponsor company, KIALOA Paddles, Jaimie inspires us all.

Be sure to check the In Her Element blog for more.

At KIALOA We Live Like We Paddle

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Excellence
We strive for excellence in our product and our service through the pursuit of innovation and commitment to quality.
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Our employees,our customers, and our business partners – We are all in this together.
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We honor the traditions of the past and dreams of the future by caring for people And our environment.

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.