Brr & Cold = SUP Fitness Challenges

For a huge part of the world October delivers astounding Fall colors and freezing nights. Unless the palm trees are waving in the breeze where you live, unless you bundle up in neoprene booties, your SUP days are more challenging this time of year.

SUP fitness might be on your mind. You might:

    • Miss the easy whole body workout that SUP delivers to keep you fit all season
    • Want to stay in SUP fitness training so you’ll be ready for next season’s events and fun

This is exactly the time of year to be thinking this way. Fitness is an illusive sports partner – now you have it… and (way too soon) now you don’t. 

A great resource can be found at your local Naish SUP retailer. Often there is a fitness professional available to provide some solid off season training. We have learned quite a bit from  Christian Cook at NRG Salt in Madeira, FL. He’s got a great philosophy about SUP training – get your training on the board or through in-the-gym sessions that mimic the flow and smoothness of SUP. He’s always looking for ways to grab a few fitness (strength, flexibility and balance) moments during a paddle. The last time I paddled with Christian we were grabbing the sides of docks as we passed under them and doing a few pull-ups as we cruised by. Cool factor: not 3 minutes later a huge bottle-nose dolphin rolled across our bow wake. That’s Tampa Bay for you!

We have been fortunate to find Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui and a Naish team rider– 3000 miles across the Pacific Ocean from us, but as close as a quick SKYPE call.  A free SKYPE account and a computer with video capability is all you need for a distance training session. Once you contact Suzie you’ll discover many ways she can enhance your fitness and SUP performance on the water.

How do you train? What’s your favorite off-the-water fitness routine? Have you got some shoulder, back or core exercise that have helped you rehab after an injury – or remain injury-free?

Let us know what inspires your off-season off-water workouts.

Sun-Sea-Sky-SUP-Surf St Petersburg: Christian Cook on life on water

There’s a certain sense of mystical wonder that comes from scanning a view across a fog-laced body of water when the wind is dead calm – ocean, lake or bay.  Walking to low-tide flats of Tampa Bay with a sweet YOLO board the weather was the opposite of fog.  The same sort of mystical was not lost on me or with my paddling partner, Christian Cook.

High noon and glassy calm is not the norm for Tampa Bay. Maybe late season hurricane Rina way south had scooped up all the wind. In any event it was a very cool combination of wind and weather to drop in on.

I connected with Christian of NRG Salt Standup Paddle Fitness (web link coming) through Brody Welte with YOLO boards. There are plenty of SUP business owners who are passionate about the sport, but many don’t connect the fitness benefits of SUP with the pure water/waterman spirit. Christian Cook certainly does! The following images are just a small example of naturally adding strength, core and flexibility to our easy paddle today. 

Let’s back up a bit and follow the path that lead Christian to the soon-to-be-launched NRG Salt.  Always fit and full of energy and purpose, Christian started surfing about 6 years ago. It wasn’t long afterward that he added a paddle to his wave riding.  Sneaking into the peripheral of his awareness from that surfing base was THE CHALLENGE – the Molokai 2 Oahu race. Is that a difficult race to finish – heck yeah! It’s a difficult race to START! As Christian explains, that’s exactly why he chose to do it – twice.

Hopping on his SIC F14 (Mark Rappaport design) race board Christina enjoyed the first 28 or so miles of the 2008 Molokai2Oahu race. It was about 7 hours of 20-30 ft rolling swells that sent the board zooming with crazy speed. The 7-9 ft sides and 40 mph gusts just added to the fun.  That was – until along came China Walls – the rocky coastline at the edge of the Portlock neighborhood of Oahu.

That was the location of the last 3+ miles of the race when “pure honesty” determines who finishes. Every paddle stroke counts in those final miles and each one is more difficult than the one before. Christina shared his “way to finish the race” mantra. Be sure to have someone you love and care about at the finish.  Looking ahead at Oahu during those last miles he knew his wife and sons were waiting to photograph the finish.  The picture I saw tells the story: a big smile through exhaustion.

Christian explains, “I want to be an example for my sons that you can have a dream.  You can look at a star that seems impossible to reach – and you can do what it takes to reach it.” It’s a lot like life, one paddle stroke at a time.

If you travel to the west coast of Florida, to the Tampa/St Petersburg area, and want to jump into a paddle fit class, go for a training paddle on the Gulf or simply rent a board to explore on your own, your connection begins with Christian Cook and his new venture, NRG Salt Stand Up Paddle Fitness.