Outrigger to SUP – Seat to Feet

Understanding the basic mechanics and physiology of stand up paddling can increase both motivation and effectiveness of our training.  Recent winner of the Kanaka Ikaika Racing Association Women’s Overall SUP Unlimited Hawaii State Championship in April 2015, Jane McKee (profile article here), has taken the time to share some of her solid insights with us. After decades racing OC1 and OC6, Jane began focusing on training for SUP downwind and events in August 2014.

janemt1Jane provides these tips, “The one thing I noticed immediately after training for SUP is what a huge energy expenditure SUP requires. On my one man I am sitting comfortably on a foam seat, locked into my craft as though I was part of it. On the SUP the only thing locking me onto my board is the bottom of my feet. Every large muscle group comes into play, and in the first month I was completely gassed after about 5 miles. I felt like I was doing squats the whole time, and, well, you pretty much are.

Training Nugget:Technique is a big factor in SUP. Leading with the hip, using the big core muscles and leg muscles to balance and drive the board forward, all come into play.

I found that the principles of the stroke are pretty much the same in outrigger and SUP. Keep the start of the stroke way up front, and finish the stroke by the feet. Because the SUP paddle is such a long lever, triceps, lats and biceps get a healthy workout. I never weight trained for one man, but find weight training to be beneficial in SUP to keep from getting injured. Also I had to train my legs more. It is very much a leg sport. I did notice that after 2 or three days a week on the SUP and I had to cross train. This is when I would get back on my one man. It is a perfect combination to alternate. The one man gives your body relief from the rigors of the standup while allowing you to train similar muscles and keep your endurance training. And you avoid burnout while still getting to be on the ocean.

Training Nugget: Consider weight training, especially the legs and add some cross training to your SUP routine.janemt2

Everyone has told me I have picked up the sport fast. I have to attribute that to many years of training basically the same muscle groups used in SUP, racing outrigger a LOT.  Primarily it is my ability to read the ocean, linking up the waves and finding the path of least resistance. You either have it or you don’t. Some people never get it. It is an absolute must if you want to compete in open-ocean or downwind paddling. When I give OC1 clinics this is a favorite topic. People want to know HOW. I can explain the physics, and dynamics, analyze wave patterns and currents, but you have to get out on the ocean and understand what it is doing that day. You have to really look; pay attention and most of all FEEL the ocean and hear what it is telling you. It is, in my opinion, a gift.

Training Nugget: To read waves and succeed in down wind and open ocean events you need to spend time in the ocean and practicing “reading” all aspects of wind, wave and current. It is a life long practice – and a gift.

janemt3I decided to race SUP this year in the Kanaka Ikaika race series that culminates in the State Championships in April. As I only had my one board, the 17’4 Unlimited, that is the board I raced every race even if it was flat or upwind. People thought I was crazy but I figured if I could push that big board on the flat just think what I could do if it were windy? In the months leading up to the States race I had to really pay attention to not over training by eating well, getting enough rest and learning to say no. Learning to say no if I were tired, even though the conditions were excellent.

Your body repairs itself during sleep. Adequate rest is vital to improve your fitness.

Training Nugget: As an older athlete, recovery takes longer, and I have learned to listen to my body. I could write a book on training as an older athlete, and have learned by trial and error that you can train as hard as your younger competition, but you must recover longer.”

Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with us.  Those few training nuggets could make all the difference this season. Aloha.

SUP Fitness Training: Got Stoke?

candice-ex1Why do we do all of those push ups? Why do we push, pull and lunge through TRX workouts and hit the gym for strength, endurance and flexibility between sessions on the water? Is it to look like Candice Appleby, on the left, as she hits the surf for some weekend waves and fun?

Candice Appleby scores photo of the day and 2014 World Series & Grand Slam event Titles in Huntington

Candice Appleby scores photo of the day and 2014 World Series & Grand Slam event Titles in Huntington

The real answer is: We workout hard and get to the water at every opportunity so that we can get the same stoke Candice enjoys again, and again and again throughout all of our decades. And – whatever our abilities. It doesn’t take many weeks of following the posts elite waterwoman and champion shares to realize that she balances  grit, focus and a fierce competitive nature with an abundance of joy, aloha, sharing and all-encompassing love for being in and on the water. We go to the gym and train hard even when it is cold, windy, less-than-stellar conditions because we want to be ready for “those days.”

Fun wave, new Naish Hokua, cold water, Pacific City, Oregon stoke. First wave in my 66th year.

Fun wave, new Naish Hokua, cold water, Pacific City, Oregon stoke. First wave in my 66th year.

Whatever “those days” mean to you, be sure to reflect on them when they happen. Imprint a mental image and savor the moment. When you hit the gym and notice your abs are missing their 6-pack or the scale registers 10 lbs too many, go back to the real reason you are training. What’s YOUR stoke?

chuck-fun1

Photo Credit: Chuck Patterson from Facebook

Let’s end this article with a quote from the ultimate stoke-meister, Chuck Patterson. FOLLOW him on Facebook for daily energy and inspiration, “”The one having the most fun; always wins in the end”. Always begin and end your day with a smile and your sure to get one back in return.”

Dave Kalama: You’re Gonna Get More Glides

Photo by 808Photo.me

Photo by 808Photo.me

This article contains two powerful lessons from Dave Kalama. If you do down winders, no matter what your skill level,  reading the water and getting your glides are skills you’ll want to hone. 

A big “mahalo” goes out to Dave for taking the time to share these insights. And kudos to four of the Hood River Kalama Kamp who earned medals after their time with Dave Kalama.

Photo by 808Photo.me

Photo by 808Photo.me

Back Story:Did you happen to catch any of the action during the recent, and very challenging, Molokai 2 Oahu (M2O) race?  The conditions were  epic, to say the least. Right at the front of the action was Dave Kalama keeping pace with the young guns, despite pushing 50 years of age.

The focus and confidence Kalama demonstrated in that event was built on decades of pursuing everything that defines a waterman.  Dave’s commitment to putting in the quality miles and hours it takes to compete at this level is well known. What might be less known is his absolute gift of explaining the techniques and insights he’s honed over a lifetime. These insights can be yours.

A lifetime on the water - Mahalo to Dave Kalama for sharing his insights

A lifetime on the water – Mahalo to Dave Kalama for sharing his insights

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or a solidly advanced standup paddler ready to hone your down wind skills, you will be interested in a recent conversation I had with Dave. One take- away, “Ultimately, instruction on reading the water and having a sense of reading wind, waves, current and glides, will make minimal sense unless you are repeatedly in a downwind situation being exposed to each set of circumstances.”

A number of fortunate SUP athletes looking to gain expertise at doing a down wind run will take a Kalama Kamp clinic in Hood River. others whose dreams are filled with tropical oceans and bays will meet up with Dave at Kalama Kamp in the Turks & Caicos and Fiji.

Rather than gaining just a nugget or two, like those in this article, Kalama Kamp attendees will be exposed to the mother lode of advice and experience right in the environment where it can be practiced immediately. Each of the “nuggets” below was something I had heard from Dave, but more impressive, I heard the same thing from Kalama Lamp attendees I have met at various SUP events around the Pacific Northwest.

hoodriverNugget #1: This was shared with me by a recent Kalama Kamp attendee in Hood River, Jared from Tahoe, “I learned so many specific things about my stroke and body mechanics during the ground clinic. We used brooms and it was really cool. But the best part was out on the water. Dave told us specifically what we were looking for. We could see, really observe what we were looking for, Dave told us when to paddle and go for glides and we practiced and got immediate feedback.

The NUGGET: The backs of waves will present themselves to you. You can use the nose of your board as an indicator of when you should paddle.  As the swell comes under your board it will lift up the back of your board. The angle it lifts your board will match the steepness of the swell. A deep trough translates to a steep face.  Pay attention to the nose of your board.  The more the nose begins to lift you can anticipate that the tail will be lifted by the swell a few seconds later. When the nose is up at its apex begin your attack to catch the next swell. Begin with a stroke at 50-60% to initiate the rhythm but go to your max through the next few strokes. By building the stroke early you are building the tension to move your board forward. Be aware of when the nose of your board is at the apex and drop your paddle in then to  gain tension against the water and set your rhythm. BY the third paddle stroke you should be at 100% and enjoying the glide!

At the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge I met some “repeat offenders” who had been to a number of Kalama Kamps and are eagerly looking forward to the Kamp in Fiji. Alex and Ashley from Canada explained, “We are intermediate and beginner level paddlers. (Ashley is just getting into down wind riding while Alex has more experience). The Kamp is equally great for both of us. From the on land work, video, recap and reviews to time on the water, Dave not only refines our skills but he motivates us to learn more and gain confidence.

Nugget #2: A Kalama Kamp (Hood River) participant who has taken 3 Kamps already, also named Dave, shared this, “Kalama spends time with every participant on and off the water. He has a knack of explaining technique in a way that I can understand. I was not using my body to drive the board forward. I gained so much confidence in how I gain speed with better technique.”

The Nugget: This video explains it so well:

Who Knew? Slower Can Be Faster

Super slow motion overview of technique by Dave Kalama

Super slow motion overview of technique by Dave Kalama

Conserving energy, maximizing stroke, honing effective technique. We all work on these a lot of the time if the number of articles and how-to videos out there are any evidence. When we can’t get to a clinic, it’s terrific to be able to access local coaching and online video tips.

Then it comes to getting on the water and paddling. Often, we prep for a race and discover that  we’re working our hardest and giving it all with high RPMs and effort – but it just doesn’t feel FAST!

 

Dave Kalama looking strong mid Ka'iwi Channel (photo by 808Photo.me)

Dave Kalama looking strong mid Ka’iwi Channel (photo by 808Photo.me)

Distressed Mullet recently posted a very short and “to the point” video with some tips from Dave Kalama (now just a few days after his 6th place solo finish in the 2014 M2O against paddlers 2-3 decades his junior – Yay Dave!) The video is below and well worth taking a couple of minute to internalize Dave’s simple, but not obvious, message. “Go slow to go fast.”

Butterflies, Big SUP Event and Breath

Anticipation or fear of the "what if" in an event might de-rail our joy and anticipation

Anticipation or fear of the “what if” in an event might de-rail our joy and anticipation

Each day we have a choice as to how to spend our time and energy.  Often our time is planned so that we can fulfill responsibilities and carve space for our “my time.” When we choose to include a SUP event as part of our practice, we set goals and design a training plan. It seems clear and straight-forward, right?

There’s always something that comes up – our time can get segmented, pulled in many directions and we might procrastinate away some paddle opportunities because of (fill in the blank).

We might spend the months before an event we registered for with great anticipation and excitement being influenced by less than confident thoughts or fears,  It might not be a lack of time, focus or discipline that de-rails our intention. We might simply need a reminder  to inhabit each moment, rather than being led around by our thoughts and focus on our fears.

Training to the next level is attainable when we are present - and aware of our breath

Training to the next level is attainable when we are present – and aware of our breath

Framing an event as an opportunity to “learn” rather than being forced into expectation or agenda can be refreshing.  Yes, when we stay in our comfort zone or wander away from challenges it is much easier to live in the moment. The real opportunity for learning or growth comes when you reach and stretch, when outcomes could be way different from what we would have chosen or preferred.

Plan a training session, plan something that will lead you toward your goals and set out to do it. During that session be aware, be present. Do you want to flee when things get tough? Do you fear you can’t complete a speed, a distance or a challenge? Notice when fear takes over your ability to be present.

One of the best tools that can help us stay more present is our breath.  When we are stressed or in our fears, our focus is most certainly not on breathing.  We often hold our breath when we get anxious or frustrated.

Take a moment to return to your breath and awareness when needed

Take a moment to return to your breath and awareness when needed

It is fine to interrupt a training session and bring your attention or focus back to your breath. Something happens when you consciously bring your awareness to each and every breath.   This has an amazing way of shifting our energy and bringing it into the present…even if that moment is very challenging.  You may still feel your fear or whatever it is that took you out of the present, but you are taking action to return to being calm, strong and present.

You will discover what you need in order to focus on your breath. You will develop a stronger mind-body connection. One way might be to close your eyes and shift your attention to your inhale and exhale.  Allow them both to lengthen.  Keep your focus there for as little as 20 or 30 seconds and see how that changes your energy.  Many of the POWER OF PRESENCE SUP (P2SUP) audio programs provide a meditation designed to hone your skills for being present and focusing on breath.  These are powerful tools for both training, competing and – life.

Image by Melanie Weidner (http://www.listenforjoy.com/)

Image by Melanie Weidner (http://www.listenforjoy.com/)

Train Smart – Train Safe: Annabel Anderson

Annabel trains smart - and it shows. Photo © Ben Thouard :  - www.benthouard.com

Annabel Anderson trains smart – and it shows. Photo © Ben Thouard : – http://www.benthouard.com

That sound when the catch just doesn’t catch, that “gurgle.” That, “Ouch,” when your neck, traps, lower back or shoulder lets you know something is tight or off in your technique.

During standup paddling, as we work on technique, getting the “reach and catch” solid is a direct driver of our speed and power. While  a great coach and lots of water time can provide improvement, really refining the catch is a long term commitment. In order not to get bad habits, consistent feedback is a must.  When the feedback is discomfort or pain, you know you need some technique tweaking.

I FOLLOW many elite standup paddlers via their Facebook, blogs and the great publications that allow us to gain information. A recent interview with Annabel Anderson (Starboard) by SUP International was packed with exactly the sort of information we need to train smart and avoid injury. (Full article here)

Preparing for SUP demands with balanced training is key. © Ben Thouard :  - www.benthouard.com

Preparing for SUP demands with balanced training is key. © Ben Thouard : – http://www.benthouard.com

Harry at SUP International asked Annabel,Can you talk about signs symptoms that a paddler should look out for that would suggest they are over reaching?
By over reaching I am assuming you are meaning that the entry point of the blade is too far out in front? A stroke that does not engage power as soon as the blade touches the water may be suffering from ‘over reaching’. There are many different philosophies associated with perceived ‘stroke technique’ in this sport. Due to the lack of credible and biomechanically sound information people have sought refuge in references from the internet.

Annabel Anderson (Starboard) connects advice to experience - to our benefit

Annabel Anderson (Starboard) connects advice to experience – to our benefit

Annabel advises, “Be careful as to who you reference information from if it is from a free source. My suggestion is to ask yourself what and who the source is where the information is from. If you’re in pain or are feeling uncomfortable, something is likely not as it should be and if you continue to do it repetitively, you will do damage over time.”

Great insights – very relevant for me. How about you? Take the time to read the entire interview with Annabel . You might just save yourself from an injury and the resulting “down days.” Each step of the stroke is important and needs to be practiced.  Good reach and catch are important before applying the power.  A reputable and experienced coach and reliable online information can help us all train smart and reach our goals.

 

Be Present and Breathe

The abundance of SUP Yoga classes provides a wonderful opportunity to take your yoga practice outside, beyond the walls of your studio – and possibly beyond the walls of what you think you may be able to achieve in your practice.

SUP yoga is asana practiced on 10- to 12-foot-long boards in an ocean bay, a glassy lake, even a slow-moving river. Water-loving yogis have embraced SUP yoga as a practice that brings a sense of joyful freedom to an otherwise earth-bound yoga practice.

In Power of Presence SUP (P2SUP) our mission is to connect a physical practice, standup paddling, to a non-physical practice that can guide you toward cultivating true presence.

In the Western world many think of yoga as purely a physical practice, or a fitness routine.  The word “yoga” has many definitions, among them “to come together,” “to unite,” and “to tie the strands of the mind together.”  In The Heart of Yoga, TKV Desikachar (son of renowned yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer, and scholar, Tiramulai Krishnamacharya) discusses the physical and non-physical aspects of yoga, which we use to cultivate true presence.  By focusing inwardly and connecting breath with movement, we unite our mind, body, and breath.

P2SUP can guide you to be more present with your moment-to-moment experience.  Rather than getting lost in thought or exertion, you will begin to experience SUP as a moving meditation more fully.

zenP2SUP will guide your training so you will be able to focus on the breath. Without a certain level of awareness, your mind will follow thoughts around haphazardly as you paddle. It’s through the breath that we cultivate our ability to stay present.   P2SUP can elevate your paddling experience. Too often we are on auto-pilot. P2SUP will cultivate your ability focus your awareness.

When your awareness is not powered by “presence,” you miss out on many important and helpful messages from the body, because you aren’t “here” to receive them. Presence and breath are the core components of P2SUP. If you want to learn more, CONTACT US here.