Naish ‘Ohana: Hokua Love Part 2

ed-hokua2Is there any way you can stand before the ocean with the newly designed 2015 Naish Hokua and not feel like an absolute rock star? The moment I pulled my 9’5″ Hokua from its box and bubble wrap, I was IN LOVE!

Seriously, the graphics on the bottom are stellar. It’s light, and almost leaps into waves on its own. Well, now I am just babbling. But seriously, I have never (in 65 years) executed a sharp bottom turn on a head-high wave with absolute confidence and ease – until my sweet Hokua came along.  It was early morning and cold on the Oregon coast in late September. betterbottomturn

The waves had been chaotic and huge for the Long Board Classic the day before.  Sunday found us with a nice swell and the wind was resting (before cranking in hard about 10 am). It was delicious fun!

As wonderful as it is to hit the beach in Pacific City, Oregon wearing a 4-5 ML wetsuit and praying for some sort of order in the waves – surfing Maui is a dream.  In mid-December, just as the shoulder season of rain-sleet-snow-rain is settling into Central Oregon, we will fly off for a sweet week on Maui.  Rather than go through the trouble of shipping our boards or releasing their well-being to airline luggage crew, we choose to “Go Local!~”

Naish Maui Pro Center rocks! Simply, if you want the newest and best rental equipment for your SUP surfing on Maui along with local knowledge of where to surf for your abilities and current conditions – check them out.  Ask for Jay, or Coach – or basically any team member.

Kai Lenny scoring some sweet Maui waves and riding Naish all the way

Kai Lenny scoring some sweet Maui waves and riding Naish all the way

If you are like me, you follow the Naish team riders all race and surf season long.  Their podium finishes are matched only by their absolute love of their sport. It seems that the core stoke and aloha of Robbie Naish permeates not only the corporate structure, but every person involved in the “family.”

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Riggs Napoleon shredding at Huntington Beach

We were fortunate to catch the Positively Kai clinic for groms at the 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge.  All day long Chuck Patterson was in the water, Kai was connecting with the kids on land and on the water. Noa Ginella, Riggs Napoleon and Kody Kerbox never rested for the entire afternoon. (more story here)

This chick is on top of the world with my new Naish  2015 Holua

This chick is on top of the world with my new Naish 2015 Holua

The shape of the Hokua, the awesome graphics, the quality built into every aspect – all good. But there is something else when you step onto a Naish board – the feeling that you are connected. You are part of the Naish ‘ohana. It is no small thing.

 

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.”

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

SUP for Everyone: Naish ONE

Giving it my all in the OPEN Course race - so much fun!

Giving it my all in the OPEN Course race – so much fun!

Last weekend I competed in the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. Compete is not the right word. Let’s just say that I was on my board and paddling in both the downwind and course OPEN class races and having a blast. Energy was high, the elite paddlers were exciting to watch and meet and the wind conditions kept us all on our toes.  The paddlers from the BigWinds JET team were inspirational, and true ambassadors for both our sport and their coach, Steve Gates.

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Bonnie Fromm leading our OPEN Women’s Course Race

If I had to think of one disappointing part of the weekend, it was that I won both a first and second place award.  I had paddled hard and enjoyed catching glide after glide on the Saturday downwind event – and then because there were only two of us in the age 50+ category riding a 14′ board I was fortunate to win (out of two??). Then on Sunday’s course race the real  “win” was showing up and participating. The wind cranked furiously  through the Gorge and made our 4 laps  on the upwind leg and turning at the downwind buoy a mega-challenge.  I remembered to have fun – and I charged out of the water at the end of the event pretty darn stoked!  But placing second out of two (YAY! Bonnie Fromm rocks with the win) in the 50+ age group was no cause for celebration. The participation was the prize.

I was puzzled as to why there weren’t more women in our OPEN classes. What could be done to turn the avid SUP paddlers on shore into participants rather than spectators? How could all the organization, effort and energy of the race management team be shared among more OPEN athletes?  The elite classes were full of amazing, world-class competitors.  What about the rest of us? What sort of race event could generate entries and participation across a more broad bunch of paddlers?

I didn’t have to wait long for the answer.  Steve Gates and the team from Naish had a super-cool event planned.  They had a fleet of Naish ONEs (12’6″ inflatable one-design boards) on the beach and ready for a team relay event – with rules that leveled the playing field for any participants. The Team Relay was a fun four person relay race  contested on a short course right in front of the spectator viewing area at the Waterfront Park (Hood River, OR) . Each Team was required to have at least one athlete under age 16 and one female. The young paddler and the female couldn’t be the same person. Elite athleteswere placed onto teams by the Race Director, Steve Gates of BigWinds. The Relay Race was run all on Naish One boards,

As he announced the rules, Steve Gates explained the fun-factor of the “race, “Go out and have a blast with the Naish ONE boards. They are inflatable and forgiving if you run into each other or fall off. They’re just right for any size or skill-level. This is a fun a event, be prepared to get wet and laugh.” Well, that is exactly what happened.

Elite racer (and overall women's winner) Fiona Wylde and friend ready for Naish ONE fun

Elite racer (and overall women’s winner) Fiona Wylde and friend ready for Naish ONE fun

The elite athletes, as you can see from the photos. were having as much fun as the 10-year-old kids.  Even though the elites had just completed 5 loops in a gnarly, windy course they were back to play. The spectators loved watching. One of the coolest things for me was to see people lining up to have a chance to demo the Naish ONEs once the event was over.  The “have-fun” spirit of the relay event seemed to last. People were paddling, sharing tips, bumping into each other, practicing tail-turns and buoy turns and generally sharing a hefty portion of aloha. And isn’t that what it’s all about? (Click on each image for a larger image)

naishrelay2 naishrelay3 naishrelay4 naishrelay5 naishrelay6

I am looking forward to seeing more events like the Naish ONE team relays. I expect as people gain experience and confidence in that laid-back race venue they will take a chance with an OPEN event or two. Racing, like life, is a lot more fun when we focus on the experience more than the outcome. The next place I know of in which there will be Naish ONE fun will be in Las Vegas in early October – read more here.

GoPro – No Need to Be a Pro

Chuck Patterson, early GoPro sample of awesome! This is at Teahupoo

Chuck Patterson, early GoPro sample of awesome! This is at Teahupoo

The best thing about the relatively lame minutes of edited footage I have been gathering from our last SUP vacation is that they were just that – relatively lame. Sure, I’d love to produce the absolute awesome-ness that someone like Chuck Patterson shares – but it just ain’t gonna happen in this lifetime. (Follow Chuck on Facebook to stay current on his GoPro Hero 3 projects) No matter!

OLur GoPro Hero 3 captured the fun, for sure! In our minds we were charging sets like maniacs, drenching our senses in incredible sights as we paddled long runs in West Maui and experienced cool wipeouts. Like most “my vacation” videos, the footage left a lot to be desired. So, why are we so jazzed about the GoPro?

The Go Pro Hero 3 came along like an unobtrusive buddy, joining in on all the fun and easily capturing the images. Once home, because we can edit out slices of the footage with ease using the free CineForm Studio software, the fun began. Rather than sequestering myself away in my office, nose to the editing grindstone, editing the GoPro footage is good group fun. (Warning: Be sure you have a thick skin. The great stance you believe you display while catching that thigh high swell may seem absolutely hysterical to your kids).

But that’s the point. Seriously, who wants to see a regular “SUP Joe” riding a wave. You are the only viewer for which that experience is incredible. But that funky stance and maybe a few wipeouts later you could have fodder for a short film friends and family will enjoy – and maybe even share. be bold!

So yesterday I sat with a beer (Deschutes Brewery Jubelale, if you’re wondering) and our daughter, son-in-law and my husband, Ed for an editing session.  I watched them watch the clips I had made with the CineForm Studio software. Yup! They found many things hysterical.  We labeled those clips and added them to the “media bin” in the Sony Movie Studio software I had. That software is not exceptional, I just happened to have it. Many people enjoy using iMovie or even Windows Movie Maker. Premeir is also another choice – we’d love to hear what you use for your final film.

Back to our editing fun. We took one wave that was Ed’s favorite and sliced sections of it to play over and over in 5 second repeats. “Ooooh, cool, ” our editing team replied. Then we took a smooth off the tail wipeout that was relatively nondescript and played it about 6 times in a row. It brought a chuckle every time. The resulting one minute 45 second clip was much cooler than the raw footage. With music added it became even more fun.

The point is- without the ease of the GoPro easily fastened to our chest or to our boards we wouldn’t have had any video at all. Instead, we had a great family gathering creating a video project instead of dozing while watching the full (gotta admit it) boring raw footage. I am pretty lame at music, but my son-in-law, Joe, and daughter are great at remembering pieces that might fit well in our SUP films. They promise to share a playlist. The whole experience is cool – and the learning curve is absolutely part of the fun if you play it that way.

Do we have that sweet 20 minute “my vacation” action film? Nope! But after the first view, who watches them anyway. Go get a GoPro and see how much fun reviewing and editing can be. If your editing team laughs at your “talent,” buck up, get a thick skin and be sure to add that to your final project. That’s part of the audience fun and who knows, you might go viral.

What editing software do you like? What have you posted online? What’s your favorite online platform? Share a link to your best effort GoPro film – we’d love to see it.

Connected: Swimming in the Sea

This article is in the SUP equipment category – an odd filing perhaps.  Surprisingly, music we listen to while we paddle has a great influence on many aspects of training and plain old positive vibes.

I go to yoga at Groove Yoga Bend where the majority of the instructors and students are in the age 30-40 range. Predictably, the music played before and during class is usually a mix of Top 40, island/ocean themed artists and great ballads. (Check out Colin Hay’s ‘Beautiful World” for example) I began to notice that I knew all the words to the Top 40 hits. At 63, it has been a lot of years since I had a teen in the house keeping me current on music. Then I realized why the tunes not only were familiar but they immediately created a very happy frame of mind.

My 10 year old granddaughter had made me a playlist during my last visit and the 90 minutes of music included most of the “yoga tunes” I recognized.  I have been playing that mix pretty much on every long distance paddle since July.  Every song reminds me of her excitement and comments as she explained why she added them. I might paddle a river in the Pacific Northwest while she goes swimming in the sea – but we are connected by music.

We’re creating a “share the stoke” playlist, tunes and why you love them – send us your favs.

My granddaughter connects with me across the miles via a shared playlist that gives me energy and smiles

For me, a great part of the playlist from my granddaughter is the connection I feel. I know how much she wants to standup paddle with me, but we live 2500 miles apart. For now she “rides the glide” across and dance floor soaring through the air in dance while Grammie surfs. We have a solid connection in both our love of graceful rhythmic movement and the music that brings a beat to the very practice that enhances our best loved athletic practices.

Candice Appleby’s got her music on at the start of the Gorge Paddle Challenge

Creating a powerful playlist for race days and getting breathing and timing steady for distance races is an art.  The right playlist gets us in the zone and then keeps us firing when the going gets grueling. In a like manner, post race music can chill us out.

Chuck Patterson chillin’ with his tunes

How do you pick what’s on your iPod or in your phone?

Have you got a favorite pair of waterproof earphones or a great case for your MP3 player?

I like to use a standard waterproof bag you can get in most marine or kayak shops. I put my phone, use Nike+ for checking distance and time, and select a playlist easily. The whole thing can be strapped to my waist or clipped to my Camelbak.

Maybe you like to go sleek, like the waterproof iPOD or Nano.

What’s in your playlist may not be as important as the tempo and the order of the music you select.

The effect of music on athletes’ emotional responses and athletic performance has received a good deal of attention from researchers. Many say that pre-performance music played at faster tempi and even at a higher volume induced more positive and aroused emotional states in athletes.

The rhythmicity of music heard is also highly motivating. A track with a strong rhythm whose tempo is similar to that of the activity we are performing can enhance sprint performance, by diverting attention towards maintenance of paddle stroke rate. While many researches say that lyrics have little impact, i find that when i am connected to a song because of an emotional connection, a great memory or an image of power and strength i simply feel like working harder or faster.

A key consequence of listening to performance music is visual imagery,or even daydreaming. Music that brings to mind performance-related images will tend to produce association and transfer. So if you have an amazing training session and can connect that to particular music, be sure to add that music to your race or future training playlist.

The pairing of a music track with extrinsic sources of emotion such as a film, artist’s video or a memorable life event is also an important consideration. Many of these connections happen unwittingly, indelibly pinning a track to a specific point or set of memories in time. Make your own heroic music video. If you have a clip of yourself performing particularly well why not have some fun by adding your own “power song” to the video clip. The surprising connection you gain to that positive music video could just add to your SUP fun! With a GoPro on your head, your chest or your board you can mix up the pace, the spirit and the images – have fun!

BOP Honors – Inspiration of the Paddle

The ultimate SUP “game” envisioned by Gerry Lopez and his buddy Sparky Longley is called ‘Battle of the Paddle.” When the elite racers fall, flail, and maneuver their way around the yellow marks placed right in the surf break it has to look and feel like one huge foamy battle.

The reality of the SUP contenders battling out for top spots in the one-of-a-kind BOP comes through best in other moments in and around the event.  If you’ve ever been to an event when any of the top ten contenders, male or female, for SUP athlete of the year have been present you know what I mean.

In football you never get to sit with the best quarterback, on the bench before a game but in SUP the beach is open to everyone. Interaction with Candice, Conner, Karen, Suzie, Heather, Kai, Jamie, Chuck, Slater, Dave, and many others is easy and quite inspiring. The absolute passion for their sport and water, waves and wind they live by is contagious! They are a no excuses, hard -driving competitive bunch who train like there’s no tomorrow – but will share a pointer, a word, a smile and encouragement as needed. Clinics, blogs, movies – they share!

If you were like me, it was pretty tough to decide who to vote for in the various SUP awards offered to the public for input.  I have a hand full of favorites all with top-spot accomplishments. In the recent 2012 SUP awards by Body Glove tough decisions were made. Candice Appleby was awarded top honors for women while Conner Baxter won for the men.

The one thing that struck me as I enjoyed the stories, tweets and Facebook updates was this quote from Candice, ““I want to thank the other athletes- you inspire me.”

That camaraderie and mutual respect may not be unique to the sport of standup paddling, but it is one powerful, compelling aspect of how the best of the best live their sport.

Gerry Lopez was presented with the SUP magazine Lifetime Achievement Award for his influence on the sport

No matter where you paddle or SUP surf this weekend you can charge or chill with the attitude of those at BOP. Anyone can grab the attitude  of Gerry Lopez who won the SUP magazine Lifetime Achievement Award for his influence on the sport. He accepted his award and said, “I hope it makes a difference in how we all think. Surf with aloha and live with aloha.”

Okay, it’s Saturday! Grab your board, your paddle,and a friend then look for surf and inspiration – wherever you find it.