Save Our Ocean: Carolina Cup

The 13-mile Quiksilver Waterman Carolina Cup lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest races going, but this year it was hailed as even more fun than ever. A course reverse allowed for some calm flatwater and downwind bumps that added excitement.

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Zane Schweitzer book signing with NC Coastal Federation Board member, David Cignotti

A different sort of excitement was playing out at the North Carolina Coastal Federation. As the non profit and featured recipient for funds raised at the event, Catherine Snead, who has the role of development for the Federation, decided to get creative and connect with Zane Schweitzer for a unique collaboration. For each book, Beneath the Surface, sold at the Carolina Cup, $5 would go to the Federation. nccf-booky

Catherine arranged for a life sized poster of Zane to be at the booth so people could have a selfie “with Zane.” The most fun was when Zane spent time at the booth chatting with readers and doing what he does best – sharing stoke and the Zaniac way of doing things.

You can get your copy of Beneath the Surface directly from Zane or on AMAZON. (ebook or print version)

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Sweet -Race Jersey Next Generation

sswjer-proIf you followed the inaugural 2015 Pacific Paddle Games you may have noticed everything about it was bigger than life, from the oversized waves to the above-average temperatures. The best was the creme de la creme athletic talent that showed up from every corner of the world to compete for the biggest number of all: a record-setting $55,000 prize purse. With all the photos and live coverage of the event, one other thing that literally stood out – was the bright Sweet Waterwear jerseys worn by the athletes – from the world’s top Pro paddlers to the XXS groms.

With many more top athletes enjoying the performance of Sweet Waterwear jerseys throughout 2015, it seemed like a good time for Elder SUP (ES) to go behind the scenes of this unique specialty Hawaiian brand based out of Honolulu. We were fortunate to have this chat with Sean Sweet, founder and visionary behind the brand.

ElderSUP: Sweet Waterwear was the official PPG race jersey on the estimated 450+ Open & Elite racers at the 2015 Pacific Paddle Games, the successor to the Battle of the Paddle. What a format and what an event for the inaugural year!  How did this all come about?    

SweetWaterwear:  As soon as news broke about the PPG I approached Andrew Mencinsky (Marketing director at SUP the Mag & race organizer for PPG ) early on. Andrew has known about Sweet Waterwear & the high quality of our gear for quite some time.  He knew many of the top SUP racers already use and swear by our gear. He’d also seen our Men’s Nirvana Race jersey at other prominent races and from team jerseys that we’ve done for many of SUP’s top board brands.  Andrew and the team at SUP the Mag & TEN (The Enthusiast Network) really wanted to step things up at PPG. They were quite determined they were not going to just follow in the footsteps of the Battle of the Paddle. They wanted every aspect of PPG to be “Bigger & Better.” One of the most obvious “on-screen” ways to do that was to upgrade and outfit ALL of the athletes in beautiful custom PPG jerseys. (video teaser here)

Andrew wanted different colors by gender and group. We are one of the few companies that was large enough to do that and still be flexible enough to produce within a somewhat tight time constraint. For all these reasons, Sweet Waterwear was an obvious and easy, quality choice that met all their objectives.  

ES:  The vibrant colors on all the Sweet Waterwear jerseys we saw at PPG were exceptionally bright and highly visible in varied ocean conditions, at a distance & on the webcast. 

SW:  Stepping out of the box and pushing the bright colors was key essential goal for PPG.  I’ve had these colors available – but no Race Director had ever ventured out of the color norm with us, before PPG.  Fortunately Andrew knew well the live and telecast value of adding bright colors to the mix was far more than just a safety consideration – he recognized that the bright colors would really “pop” on the webcast providing a much richer and vibrant visual experience.

ES:  We noticed right away that the Women’s jerseys at PPG were trimmer and a different cut.  What brought about your developing a women’s specific race jersey? 

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“Our constant goal at Sweet Waterwear is to raise the bar in fashionable, functional activewear,”

SW: With the huge success of our Men’s Nirvana jersey, it was a logical extension for us to make a (literally) “more fitting” Women’s paddlesport tanktop.  Women are far more fashion, fit and style conscious. We realized that wearing a downsized boxy men’s jersey just wasn’t really cutting it.  The difference is more than just color. It fits better due to details like binding versus wide trim along with subtle, but noticeable, hourglass shaping.  Now, the ladies look more flattering and feel better about how they look in our Sweet Waterwear jerseys while enjoying the same ultralight breathing performance of the Mens jersey, but in a more feminine, fashionable tanktop.  

ES: Everyone performed to the max at the 2015 PPG but  looking for the true stars of the day, they were also some of the smallest. The future of the sport is growing up on waves around the world, and we got to witness it during the Grom and Junior Pro races.

SW: Absolutely, as the PPG event showcased so very well, the future of our sport is a powerful field of youth. And for the first time ever, we made sure they had race jerseys designed specifically with the smaller sizes in mind.

sswjerkids The kids were not an afterthought (as they often are at most other races).  We offered size XXS jerseys for the first time ever to accommodate the keiki (children). With the kids we made the Boys Red and Black while  the Girls had Red and White. It was subtle, but still made a perceivable distinction.  The kids were super stoked to have their “very own” special kids jerseys.  We were equally stoked to provide the kids with something “just for them” to enhance their performance and the PPG race experience.  

These custom PPG jerseys have become a proud keepsake and talking point long after the race has been over.  The kids are especially proud to wear their PPG race jersey at other races and while training no matter where they may live and paddle.  We often refer to the robust “Retention Value” of our high quality race jerseys that get “great mileage” of exposure long after the event is over.  sww-kids

ES:  What is your background and how did you develop the Sweet Waterwear brand from your past expertise? 

SW: I have 30 + years in the apparel industry, most of it in casual and active sportswear. Shortly after moving to Hawaii it was quickly evident to me (as a new paddler) that the SUP market was very much under-served, especially on the Women’s side. I had just come off an 11 year stint at well-known Women’s sportswear company. So I knew how to bring a lot of technical fabric and sourcing expertise to the table.  Being based in Hawaii helps enormously. We can test year round. I have access to all types of wind and watersports, as well as, all  levels of paddlers including several of the world’s elite racers. Many of these elite water athletes  have become ambassadors for our line after testing out our gear.

Since Day 1 – when we launched at the one (and only) Battle of the Paddle Hawaii (in 2010) we have offered a more highly evolved line and more technical detail that both athletes and everyday paddlers can really appreciate – so it stands out in the marketplace.  Our race jerseys are well received by so many elite and fitness paddlers.  Pro racers have the opportunity to wear and try many different styles and brands, but the feedback we get and then incorporate into our designs demonstrates how we are meeting the trifecta or “Sweet Spot” of paddler’s needs in style, function and performance.

ES: How is Standup Paddling gear different than, say, Surf gear?

SW: Stand-up paddleboarding is not like surfing in that it is largely an “on-the-water” activity versus often “in-the-water” like surfing. Tight rashguards don’t work as well. They are skin-tight, which by design will help keep you a little warmer. In stand-up paddleboarding, you are burning calories, and most paddlers want & need to dissipate that heat. Furthermore, you are also fully exposed to extremely high levels of sun when you are standing on the water. The combination of direct sun and indirect sun reflected off the water surface really intensifies your exposure. We are a core SUP brand and have pioneered crafting far more fashionable, superior quality, sun-protective gear specifically made for stand-up paddleboarding and other similar paddle sports like outrigger canoe paddling, kayaking, canoeing, dragon boat, etc.  We are also very proud to be cut and sewn in the US using high quality European spec fabrics. There are hardly any Surf brands that can say that – most all are produced offshore in Asia with cheap labor and heavy “cost consideration” given to margin – which inevitably compromises on garment quality.

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We already have what is perhaps the most popular men’s stand-up paddleboard racing jersey on the market. We offer custom printing and even co-branding opportunities. It’s market that we got into early and one where we have established a high profile & strong presence.  If you happened to catch all the ISA World Standup Paddle and Paddleboard Championship action last May you saw Sweet Waterwear jerseys on Team Hawaii.  Zane & Matty Schweitzer have both declared them “Best jerseys EVER!!” Looking at the Sweet Waterwear ‘ohana I guess that is the opinion of many of the best in the world.

ES:  I have noticed a lot of detail and innovation in your latest styles. like in my Sweet Waterwear Ka’iulani Zip long sleeve performance top with the neck zipper, thumb holes & big zippered back pockets, especially as the days turn cooler here in the Pacific NW.  How did you come upon the name you chose for that style? 

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Check out the bold print on the back of the Ka’iukani (also available in white-sky-turquoise)

SW:  Ka’iulani loosely means, or implies, ‘rich in health, spirituality and prosperity.’ The meaning resonated with me because, in my opinion, so many standup paddlers seem to reflect these qualities and values.  Further Princess Ka’iulani was/is an important historic figure in Hawaiian history & culture. The Kaiulani is our our top-of-the-line full featured long sleeve so you could also say it’s fit for royalty.  

ES:  What can we expect next from Sweet Waterwear?
SW:  We are driven to excellence, so we will continue to combine high quality performance fabrics with thoughtful superior design & our special “Handcrafted in USA” manufacturing.  We are getting deeper into prints as accents & adding more styles like dresses & hoodies.  Further we are very excited to announce that this summer we will be rolling out a complimentary special collaboration – a new line called “SWT KSS”.  It’s sort of a double entendre & acronym for a limited collection  designed by Kimberly S. Schamber and made by Sweet Waterwear.  Look for the SWT KSS collection to launch in Spring / Summer of 2016.     

The Heart of SUP: Anthony Vela

Anyone who reads the Elder SUP blog is 100% aware of the respect, admiration and down right “Yeah, she’s cool” attitude I have about Candice Appleby.  Over the years of following Candice I have gotten to know Anthony Vela.  He’s got the heart and spirit that connects so many of su who go to sea on a  Stand Up Board.  Following his hashtag (#beachcleanup) and getting into the spirit of looking for ways to make even the slightest difference on our beaches is just one way. Following him on Facebook is a treat! Join me by Following and by enjoying this cool-to-the-max post (reprinted with permission from Anthony).
LOVE! Need we say more?

LOVE! Need we say more?

The reality of this year’s Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle is finally starting to sink in for me. I have the opportunity to see Candice Appleby do amazing things on a daily basis. It may be a long noseride, a sick turn on her sup, or an excellent interval piece while training with the PaddleFit/ @infinitysup crew. But the way in which Candice performed under extreme pressure during this year’s BOP race was one that I will remember forever. As a fan of the sport of SUP, the race between Annabel Anderson and Candice was about as exciting as it gets. First they were both behind, then Annabel was ahead, then Candice was ahead, then they were tied, then Candice was in the lead, and it wasn’t over until the last minute. As Candice’s best friend, training partner, gardner, and board handler it was extremely special for me to see how calm she was the entire race. It had been two years since these two have raced each other at the BOP. In 2012, Annabel’s 1st win, Candice was taken out of contention when a male competitor lost his board into Candice going into the “Boneyard Buoy” at Doheny. This incident prompted the organizers to separate the men and women for the BOP Final, a fantastic decision for the biggest race of the year. Last year Candice did not compete due to injury, so this was their first meeting with no guys in the way at BOP. Neither competitor disappointed the fans. Annabel showed her skills in the surf, and Candice showed her paddling ability and the two put on a show for the ages. Congrats to Annabel on her amazing 2nd place performance. And incredible job by all of the women handling the 20 wave set at the start of the race!

This moment captured by Eric from OnIt Pro is priceless. You can see us looking right into each others face, me with some words of encouragement, and Candice calmly listening for them. I can’t explain how much this photo means to me. Thanks Eric.

Thanks Brody Welte for all you have done for us both. Thanks Dave Boehnefor letting Candice train with us. Thanks Karl Ring for keeping me somewhat calm during this race. Thanks everyone from Surftech SUP, especially Duke for everything you have done to support Candice. Rebecca from Kona Brewing Company you are just awesome!!!! Thanks Tyler from FCS SUP for bringing by an assortment of leashes for us. Thanks Emily from MTI Adventurewear for helping us out with the best lifejackets on the market! Thanks Aaron Napoleon for the Friday night pep talk, and Alicia from Maui Jim for everything you continue to do for us and the sport. And special thanks to Bob, Scott, Dave, Randall, Steve, and everyone at Ocean Minded for supporting Candice for the last 15 years! Thank you Sean and Judy Sweet for being there for Candice always. Thank you Joe Bark, Jack Bark, Charlie and Bark Paddleboards for being our friends! Thank you Jimmy, Lizzie, Hugo, Addie, Sydney and everyone at QuickBlade Paddles for being incredibly amazing! And thanks to Sparky, Pat, Barrett, Kelly, Gerry Lopez Surfboards, Ron, and everyone who helps make this event possible. There are many others I am forgetting, but please know it is by mistake, not intention.

Thank you Candice for inspiring me, and many others!

— with Candice Appleby and 6 others.

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?

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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.”

Power to Inspire with Malama

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

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

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

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

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

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

Candice Appleby – Respect, Love, Karma and Grace

latorche-candiceIn the late 1980’s I had a writing assignment with a tennis professional that was funded by Wilson, the company that makes tennis balls.  It seems that they had developed a tennis ball that could equalize enjoyment of a tennis match between two players of very unequal ability. When the ball was hit hard and directly (as in a shot from a strong player) it would react with a slow and low bounce as it hit the court on the other side. This would give the weaker player an easier shot to return. It seemed an amazing product.

The project lost funding and never made it to the marketplace, but some of the lessons I learned while writing for that project stuck with me.  For one, I learned a very different meaning for the word “compete” than I had usually considered.

The word, compete, comes from Latin competere, “come together,” but in later Latin, it developed the sense “strive together,” which was the basis for the English term. During the field testing of the Wilson tennis ball, when players considered the “strive together” meaning of competition their reported enjoyment of the game and tennis in general was 7 and above (on a scale of 1-10).

Just yesterday I read a post by elite water athlete, Candice Appleby, after a Round 3 loss in the 2013 La Torche Pro surf event in France.   Understandably, she was extremely disappointed with her performance. In spite of a very stacked heat with three of the top women surfing together, she simply and graciously reflected on her own performance and frustration at not putting together a “solid ride” in the heat.

According to Candice, “Every wave I caught, just seemed to reject me and I kept falling. Looks like my Sup Surfing World Title dreams will just have to wait until next year. 2013 just hasn’t been my year I guess. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. Hopefully I can figure out what that is soon. Until then, I’ll just have to keep healing my hand and work on my strengths. Thank you to everyone who has been cheering for me along the way. Your support means so much to me. Next year I will be back and ready to take on the many challenges I set for myself. Congrats to all of the girls who competed in this first year of the Women’sStand Up World Tour. We were all a part of history. Aloha & God Bless.”

We all know that it isn’t easy to report to friends, family and fans after a huge disappointment. To do so with such grace and respect for her fellow competitors is an Appleby trademark.  In my role as content creator for my company, Water Words, I speak to dozens of elite and not-so-elite SUP surfers, paddlers, newbies and racers each week. It is always surprising and cool to hear how many mention a casual meeting with Candice at a clinic, an event or just on a beach. Again and again I hear an anecdote about how she has encouraged and inspired them – often without knowing who they are. Her generous spirit and fun-loving ways just seem to connect again and again.

What I wonder is: How did the performance of the entire group of elite women raise to a collective higher level because they “came together”  in the competition, all striving for their best?

Working hard, training and hoping for a specific outcome or title is natural. Not attaining the goals we set for ourselves in a competition is heart breaking.  Being able to circle back and put together a mindset that embraces the true meaning of compete, to strive together, we are able to frame our future efforts in a new way. The almost 40,000 Facebook friends who follow Candice know her attitude well.  Some of the comments posted demonstrate how much respect and love for our sport and for fellow competitors resonates with us all. I have removed the names from the comments below and have paraphrased them – they are just an example of how the collective “we” reacted.

  • Tough break, tough girl, classy post. You may not have accomplished everything on your list, but your list towers over 99.999% of most people’s. Take comfort knowing you are much-loved & very well-respected around the world.   “Paddle on girl”
  • Losing is just like winning at the top. Being humble and accept what you just got schooled on will only make you better tomorrow, next week and your next event. There is nothing in your world you can’t concur, wins come in many different forms and your friends believe you’re a winner.
  • Love your positive attitude! That’s what makes you a winner! Love and aloha to our SWEET girl!! XOXOXO
  • You are my inspiration.
  • You’re still awesome….I’m sure all competitors were aware of your presence….a true warrior you are
  • You are awesome for being a class act!!! Still holding your head high and not placing blame on anyone. Keep up the professional attitude.
  • Thank you for writing this Candice. It inspires us all to hear how you feel and that everyone, even Candice Appleby, has their moments. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Rest up and see you next year…can’t wait:)
  • Your grace in handling life is a great example…………
  • You suited up, you showed up, you did your best. High five!

SUP Professionals: Amazing Leaders

For Immediate Release

September 7, 2013

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 2013 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.

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

Connor Baxter and his inspiring slogan, “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)

Karen Wrenn
Suzie Cooney
Chuck Patterson
Jenn J. Lee

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.

SPONSORS of the 2013 SUP Awards