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.

Kialoa Paddles: Po’okela, Laulima and Malama

Over the years Elder SUP has shared stories about people, places and events. We have enjoyed adventures and “talked story” with some incredible athletes and SUP-pers. For me, each outing on the water was powered by one KIALOA paddle or another – from the Gerry Lopez designed Hulu GL race and surf, to the Tiare adjustable (designed specifically for women) and many more. Recently, as we developed the “Power of Presence SUP” (P2SUP) program of guided meditation for SUP, we needed great boards to share with participants. Fortunately, our timing coincided exactly with KIALOA Paddles’ launch of two great new inflatable boards. (Spoiler Alert: One of the coolest videos you will see is at the end of this article)

KIALOA has built innovative Outrigger, Dragon and SUP paddles for over 24 years. Their mission, according to Jim MIller, KIALOA’s director of new business development, has expanded as ,”producing the best products for paddlers through innovative design, selective materials and a lean manufacturing process.” This summer they unveiled the inflatable Waikiki and Napali which join the initial soft top Aloha.

clinic5As we build our newest business here at Elder SUP we looked for sponsor support from companies with a mission and culture aligned with ours. We were fortunate to have the support of Sweet Waterwear – and KIALOA Paddles. We admire and respect the way KIALOA employees live like they paddle following the guiding principles of their core values: Po’okela (excellence), Laulima (teamwork), and Malama (stewardship). We aspire to have these same qualities drive our decisions and actions as we grow P2SUP.  Just as the KIALOA team appreciate those who have helped them along the way, we appreciate KIALOA and wish them all the best.

julia1stMeanwhile, it’s time to get out on the water on our 12’6″ infalatable KIALOA Napali. My favorite young paddling buddy, Julia, joins me on the Aloha soft top. We are out to have some “clean up the river” fun. IMG_2856[1]

This article would not be complete without a story from KIALOA’s own, Meg Chun. Here is the story that goes with this amazing video example of the spirit that drives the people and the company.

TEAM KIALOA 2015 from FocalBoxProductions on Vimeo.

Positively Kai: Family, Attitude and Aloha

The Lenny family enjoys a close connection to the ocean - and to each other. Aloha, dreams, hard work and smiles.

The Lenny family enjoys a close connection to the ocean – and to each other. Aloha, dreams, hard work and smiles.

Martin Lenny told me a story once, it was a story that started with family – a family connected to the ocean.  In the early days as Martin and Paula were working double jobs while raising their family, they recognized that their son Kai was active – super active. Kai, whose name means, “ocean” in Hawaiian was happiest in the ocean.The best way to feed his need for action was to top off each day with time at the beach – doing whatever ocean sport was suitable for Kai’s age.

Fortunately, his family recognized that Kai had more than just a love of the ocean, he also had a passionate dream. Kai learned how to surf at the age of 4, windsurf at 6, stand up surf at 7 and kite surf at 9. Learning how to do these sports all happened naturally, and from it grew his love affair with the ocean and the waves. Mentors have been integral to Kai’s ability to soar toward his dream.

The early days’ mentoring from Robby Naish has evolved into a lifelong friendship.  Few his age have enjoyed training with not only Robby, but also legendary watermen like Laird Hamilton,  Dave Kalama, Buzzy Kerbox and Chuck Patterson.  Kai eagerly adopted just about every sport that involved water, wind and waves.

Traditional prayer circle lead by gerry Lopez before the Positively Kai Grom clinic - huge turn out

Traditional prayer circle lead by gerry Lopez before the Positively Kai Grom clinic – huge turn out

A common thread among his mentors and his family has inspired Kai as he has become a champion, a leader himself: Give back to the next generation by mentoring and consistently sharing aloha. It was exactly this sort of mentoring and inspiration that helped Kai continue his life journey toward his own dream. It is very obvious that the entire Lenny family lives this commitment to sharing with the next generation of standup paddlers.

In the spirit of mentoring and giving back, Kai has created a series of clinics for groms (young surfers) called, “Positively Kai.” Yesterday in Hood River we enjoyed watching the free clinic supported by sponsors (Naish, Hurley, Red Bull, Nike, GoPro , Turtle Bay Resort, Vertra, MFC and others).

DSC02549The clinic began with a prayer circle created by three concentric circles of hundreds of groms, family and friends holding hands and following the words of Gerry Lopez. Soon afterward, the groms were organized by age group and taken for more land instruction by the Big Winds JET team riders and many elite standup paddlers like Connor Baxter, Kody Kerbox, Chuck Patterson, Noa Ginella, Riggs Napoleon and more.DSC02666

DSC02723 DSC02696Age group races were an exciting part of the clinic but the real stories happened on the beach! One group of 8 year olds pow-wowed on the sand as the one more experienced paddler shared confidence and some words of wisdom to his peer.

A mom sent her 5 year old out into the windy bay with a grin. Why? She explained, “When she was 18 months old she began going paddling with me, sometimes napping on the board and sometimes falling off. But she has always loved being on the board with me. Now that she’s 5 she begged to come to this clinic and learn to paddle on her own.”

One exceptional paddler, Estani Bori age 10, had some obvious experience, skills and maybe that same passion that once fueled Kai when he was 10. He flew around the race course, then ran down to the beach to help collect the boards from the other racers as they finished. He was on the water doing tail turns and sprints all afternoon. I caught up with his father, Pablo.DSC02704

“Why did you travel all the way from Tahoe for this clinic,” I asked. Pablo didn’t hesitate a bit, “Once I saw that Estani lives and breathes this sport I had to help him follow what he is passionate about.”

That sounds like something Martin Lenny said, back in the day.  Pablo continued, “Estani goes to sleep watching his SUP heroes and he wakes up wanting to paddle, paddle, paddle. Once he started doing races it was great. The travel and the paddling is something we can do, father and son.”

Again and again all day long that is what stuck – the number of kids and parents, entire families smiling and sharing the stoke that is SUP. The energy of more than 400 people through the dance-off, the dinner of yummy burritos (Kai’s favorite) and the awards was stellar.

We ended with this from Kai, “I am inspired and stoked to see so many groms of all ages charging and having fun. You are the future of SUP and this is the best time to be a standup paddle athlete. The sport is young and has room for you to make your dreams happen – in SUP or whatever it is you dream. “DSC02670

2014 SUP Awards: Insights

For Immediate release: August 2014

SUP water athletes are pioneers in a young sport that’s growing exponentially each year. Almost anyone of any ability level or age can find success and SUP adventure on almost any body of water.  Over the past decade standup paddling, surfing, exploring and racing has grown from unknown to a sport followed by millions. Leading the culture, training, story and growth of the sport are a handful of elite athletes.  Some of these men and women have been nominated for the 2014 SUP Awards. The categories you can vote for between now and September 11 are:  Top 3 Male Paddlers, Top 3 Female Paddlers, Movie of the Year, Top Philanthropic Effort and Top Expedition.

Connor Baxter #1 SUP Male Athlete 2012
Connor Baxter #1 SUP Male Athlete 2012
Candice Appleby #1 Female SUP Athlete 2012
Candice Appleby #1 Female SUP Athlete 2012

Take a look at the nominees and explore the bio of each – SUP is fortunate to have a field of leaders this deep and diverse.  Examples of leadership include addressing issues around racing, professional compensation and equality in the sport. Take a look at the discussion and insights from one group of female athletes that took place during the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge in Hood River, OR in 2013.

Over the years Elder SUP has showcased a number of the nominated athletes.  After you check out the field at you may want to learn more by checking out the articles.

Connor Baxter and his inspiring slogan demonstrates an attitude that pervades the sport and connects athletes of all abilities, “Always have fun and never give up.” Connor Baxter was awarded #1 Male SUP Athlete in 2012 (video here)

Candice Appleby – Candice Appleby was awarded #1 Female SUP Athlete in 2012 (video here) Both have been persistent in reaching the next generation of SUP athletes. Performance Paddling is just one example.

Karen Wrenn

Suzie Cooney

Danny Ching

Travis Grant

Jenn J. Lee

Kody Kerbox

Andrea Moller

Anabel Anderson

The list is above is just the tip of the iceberg – do yourself a favor and read the online bios of the athletes leading our sport. Then take the time to let your voice be part of the decision.

Inspire Clean Rivers: Youth Video Voice

Got video camera, phone or GoPro? Want to go to the Jack Johnson concert in Bend, OR on August 24? Well here’s a contest that get you in the running for TWO FREE TICKETS!

If you love the water – oceans, bays, lakes and rivers – you want to do what you can to keep them clean and healthy. Your 1-2 minute video can show us all how YOU’D keep the Deschutes River clean and clear of beer bottles, flip flops, cans, and any sort of trash.  Many groups have organized around the goal of keeping rivers and streams healthy.  In Central Oregon we are exceptionally fortunate. We have had incredible river restoration, monitoring and youth education driven and inspired by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC). Now the UDWC has a contest that let’s YOU be part of the solution.

How would YOU inspire others to keep the Deschutes River clean - video ideas? Jack Johnson tickets? Yeah!

How would YOU inspire others to keep the Deschutes River clean – video ideas? Jack Johnson tickets? Yeah!

Hosmer Lake Shasek

The annual impact of their educational programs is beyond measure in terms on connecting youth to the environment, culture and sense of place our local waters provide. “The staff and volunteers continuously create programs and youth opportunities that celebrate every aspect of learning about our rivers and streams from writing to science to the arts.

Now for the FUN PART! Here are links to the UDWC “Keep the Deschutes River Clean” video contest. Be serious, funny, cute and clever in a 1-2 minute video, submit before August 1 and you have a chance to win 2 tickets to the Jack Johnson concert. PARENTS – you know you want to go to this sold out concert as much as your video-savvy kids do – so light a creative fire in them, take then to the river and hand them your iPhone – it’s gonna be fun.

The contest is open to all ages, read the rules and start filming, singing, dancing, cleaning the river, floating, paddling, fishing and making a great story.

Video Contest Submission Form and Rules
Video Contest Flyer 3

“Times Like These” by Jack Johnson
(We can change “what will be” by inspiring a clean river!)

In times like these
In times like those
What will be will be
And so it goes
And it always goes on and on…
On and on it goes

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!

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!