Gnarly Buoy Turns = SUP Racing Friendship

The La Ventana Classic ended its race week with a 5.5 downwind race from the Hot Springs to Baja Joe’s. Overall rankings were announced at the end of the day with Bonnie Fromm, Terri Plunkett and Dianna Steven taking first, second and third respectively for the Wahine class. While by no surprise, Anthony Vela, who has dominated all of the week’s SUP races, took first followed by Jeremy Vaine and MacRae Wylde.


New friends and winners – Bonnie Fromm and Terri Plunkett

Better than trophies, Terri and Bonnie met while inadvertantly crashing into each other at crazy, gnarly buoy turns in Race #1 – the course race – and being gracious about it all. They easily connected and became fast friends. Terri shares, “Race # 1 sucked. The course race was insane for me because paddling upwind on an inflatable is so hard.  My inflatable ULI board was incredible in the down wind events, it really took off in the wind! The best part of the course race is that it was when I met Bonnie Fromm. Good PEOPLE that Bonnie Girl and she is strong and fast!!”


Terri’s KIALOA HUlu paddle and her Uli inflatable powered her through amazing down wind runs at La Ventana

Bonnie set the stage for our story, “Terri and I competed in 4 out of 5 events: a course race, a 4 mile downwind, La Cruces 10mile, and El Norte 5 mile downwind. We both skipped the island crossing as it was 11 miles of cross chop and would have made the final races too much. The final El Norte was my favorite as the wind was great and the waves coming  into Baja Joe’s were a hoot.”

The Downwinder Sprint is an 8 mile coastal Downwinder sprint from Rancho Las Cruces- paddlers race downwind breaking free in the La Ventana swells with the wind at their back. It was the most challenging race of the event. It was meant to be a down winder  but the waves and wind both were on shore with wave reflection from the cliffs. Bonnie gives us some insight, “We had the rare opportunity to start our downwind paddle race from Las Cruces, the private playground for Bing Crosby and the Ratpack! It was eight miles of pristine coastline in wild waves that challenged every balance muscle! Incredible experience with Awesome people! We paddled cross wind through huge washing machine waves for about 7 miles before rounding Puento Gordo and turning downwind. It was BEAUTIFUL but some of the most difficult water I have ever been on. I was thrilled to remain standing and dry with only a few tumbles to my tush.”

terripbonniegroupTerri told us that the drive to the start of the La Cruces race took 2 1/2 hours through dirt roads across a countryside that was surreal and spectacular. A key was needed to get in to the gate, a private access to the start. The start was in the middle of no where – and once the horn sounded the racers were split apart by wind and waves. Terri explained, “I felt very alone. Back on shore no one remained after the start. I paddled past incredible, pristine beaches but it was also a bit eerie, no buildings or support.

I was connected to my board, the only means of support, by a thin leg leash. Once we passed Puento Gordo the experience could not have been better.  Las Cruces. Baja Mexico. 10.5miles of paddling along this magical pristine coast line with winds blowing us furiously toward the finish line. What a rare and amazing experience. Another gift paddling a SUP has given me. Along with a new friend.”


Anthony Vela had a great week with friends old and new – and winning La Ventana Classic

On Facebook, Anthony Vela posted, “This was the start of the Tres Cruces Downwind race in La Ventana. Such a beautiful place to see, thank you to everyone at the La Ventana Classicwho helped with the many logistics to make moments like these possible. Over 50 miles of paddling last week 

After the awards were announced, Tim took the mic to announce the final sum that was raised in support of the local school kids. All money, beyond costs of running the event, will go directly to the Amigos de Alumnos group, to contribute to high school scholarships and help local students in La Ventana/El Sargento continue their education. The grand total of $12,666 dollars will allow 42 kids to continue high school! 

Although the cost to attend high school is only $300 US annually per student, this cost is a roadblock for some Mexican families and stops many bright and motivated young people from attending high school.

Training Tips

Terri couldn’t say enough about winner of the Classic, Anthony Vela.  Back in CA, Anthony leads Performance Paddling (Dana Point, CA), for adult racers. Terri tells us, “The drills that we practice with Performance Paddling I used in every event, particularly the 11-mile side wind island crossing. ‘Bracing,’ ‘One sided paddling,’ ‘Step back & brace,’ ‘Lean turning,’ ‘Stop back brace and stall’ and the ‘Quick change drill.’ So many things we practice every day are applied to open ocean paddling.”

terri plunkettlaven

KIALOA ‘Elele Terri Plinkett plays at training with a smile.

Bonnie had been in Baja for 4 weeks and had done numerous down wind paddles. She trains by doing,  trying to paddle a few times a week throughout the year. She’s stoked by the performance of her Amundson 12’6″ TR-X, “my saving grace in the wild seas.”


Bonnie Fromm gliding fast in her “happy place.”

Cross training is part of Bonnie’s program, “I’m off to the Northwest to ski and hope to enter my first skate ski race! Paddlewise I will probably not compete again until  The Rose City Races (Portland).

 Big thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers at the event— without them it would not have been possible! The mayors of local towns, Los Planes and El Sargento, were both in attendance and were incredibly thankful for everybody’s support.



Some history ……… Las Cruces, Baja MX  – Rancho Las Cruces The exclusive property of Las Cruces is located approximately 30 road miles south east of La Paz, capital of the State of Baja California Sur, Mexico Rancho Las Cruces Baja Resort The start of the 11mile downwinder Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, was told about a great Island filled with gold and pearls of wonderful size and color. Determined to find the source of such impressive riches and to claim the fabled island of pearls for the Spanish crown Cortés sent various expeditions. On one of these Cortés himself set forth and landed on May 3rd, 1535 on what was thought to be an island. In commemoration of his landing he placed three crosses on the land he baptized as Santa Cruz. Stone replicas of these crosses still remain in the site where Rancho Las Cruces now stands. Part of the land known as Santa Cruz by the early Explorers would later be named Las Cruces. Although he found no gold, Cortés did find pearls of astonishing beauty.

Abelardo L. Rodriguez Montijo & Lucille Bremer Down the centuries the shores of Las Cruces and the islands of Cerralvoand Espirito Santo were renowned for their fabulous pearls but a decline in the pearl oyster started as early as 1900 and by 1929 the pearl industry of Baja belonged to the past. Standing where Cortés once stood more than 400 years earlier, Abelardo L. Rodriguez Montijo watched the rising sun cast its array of magnificent color on the tranquil sea. He saw the remains of thatched huts, water wells and aqueducts that once irrigated beautiful tropical orchards and native palms. He realized then, that although depleted of pearls, Las Cruces could still provide treasure. He believed that the enchantment of ten thousand acres with more than five miles of private sea coast would be gratifying to those who must face maddening crowds and churn through congested traffic. In 1948 he and his beautiful bride, Lucille Bremer decided to turn Las Cruces into a small luxury resort.

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.

Live Like You Paddle: Jaimie Kinard

jknew1 jknew2jknew3

It’s always great to hear from KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele Jaimie Kinard.  Beyond her exploits in and on the water she is always reaching for ways to share her time and talents.

In June, Jaimie and two friends started “In Her Element,” a Hawai’i-based women’s outdoor adventure and lifestyle blog. One of the friends, Britt Harris, is an ER nurse at Wahiawa General, an avid surfer, trail runner and general fitness enthusiast. Taylor Nelson just graduated from UH and is a talented, graceful longboarder. None of the three claim to be experts in fitness, health or nutrition. In Jaimie’s words, “We are just three regular ladies who wanted a safe space to share, motivate, and encourage other women.”

Check out the blog for for workout ideas or to read/comment on/subscribe to the interesting and insightful blog posts. Jaimie invites you, “We welcome positive feedback, comments, questions, etc as we scoot along on our journeys! Come along to encourage and be encouraged!”

jknew4Other news from Jaimie include quite and adventure with her Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) recruit classmate and dear friend, Sanja du Plessis. They embarked on four days and three nights on the Kalalau Trail on the island of Kaua’i. It was a challenging 11 miles to Kalalau Beach plus an additional 4 to check out Hanakapiai Falls.jknew5

Jaimie was set on seeing the Na Pali coastline from land as she had previously only seen it from the water, paddling by in an outrigger canoe. Jaimie shares, “It was definitely harder hiking the coastline with a 47 pound pack than paddling it, but I was frequently rewarded with jaw-dropping views along the way. I wouldn’t have traded the sweat, muscle aches or lost toe nail for anything.”

Make a Wish: Jaimie and HFD fire fighter Kama Ortiz  volunteer as Wish Grantors for the Make a Wish foundation. They were lucky enough to get a friend/fellow HFD fire fighter’s son as their Wish Kid. He was just recently cleared as NED (No Evidence of Disease) from osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone) and continues with physical therapy three times a week and medication for pain management. On his 11th birthday they presented Kalā Peter with his Make-A-Wish wish.He and his family will be attending the PAX Seattle in August, thanks to Make-A-Wish Hawai’i. Sharing, caring and embodying the many attributes found in her sponsor company, KIALOA Paddles, Jaimie inspires us all.

Be sure to check the In Her Element blog for more.

At KIALOA We Live Like We Paddle

We strive for excellence in our product and our service through the pursuit of innovation and commitment to quality.
Our employees,our customers, and our business partners – We are all in this together.
We honor the traditions of the past and dreams of the future by caring for people And our environment.

Saving the Best ’til (Almost) Last

Peggy King in the M2M (Photo by

Peggy King in the M2M (Photo by

Over the past month we featured SUP athlete (and pianist, and much more) Peggy King as she prepared for the 2014 Maui 2 Molokai race. While she  finished 2nd to last with a time of 4:50, that was a 40+ min. Improvement over last year’s 5:34. Peggy was the oldest competitor- and was recognized for that by Rodney Kilborn at the event.

This is not a story about age, rather a recap of the respect and camaraderie the field of competitors at the M2M have for each other. In Peggy’s words, “I was grateful that all paddlers acknowledged me and were friendly- no one told me ‘You don’t belong.'”

Friends, camaraderie and a love of down winders

Friends, camaraderie and a love of down winders

And “belong” Peggy did. She put in the time, got solid coaching from Jeremy Riggs and Dave Kalama, so she was ready. Those who know the Pailolo channel know how it when it is somewhat side shore. That can be  a bit difficult. For Peggy, it wasn’t  that bad.

She explains, “My Garmin read outs were slow and a I fell a few times. That had me thinking to myself that the boat captain would probably think I’m a kook. With the falls at first I even thought, ‘I ain’t gonna make any time requirement at this rate.'”

But things got better as Peggy shares, “As I turned the corner to Molokai, the wind picked up and things really improved. Paddle-paddle-surf-glide- and soon I was getting good Garmin readings and no falls!”

The musician in Peggy sang out, “It was like a good piece of music I didn’t want to end! As the J Mac race committee boat approached me I told them that I was enjoying myself. As the harbor shed approached I had to tell myself not to get too excited. But I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh boy,my time is favorable. OK, don’t fall or blow it!'”

Go Peggy! (Photo by 808Photo,me)

Go Peggy! (Photo by 808Photo,me)

Then the time came for Peggy King to finish and she did it in a legal time. Happy, happy person! ) She said, “I felt strong, my nutrition worked, and I had the  energy to do the M4M race the next day. I even got a finish line photo from photographer !”

Peggy did M4M the next day and knocked 1/2 + hours off her time for that one too! According to Peggy, “It was the most fun SUP weekend experience,ever for me!

As far as Future Goals for Peggy King? “I hope I can stay healthy and fit to do this one again! I’d like to do M2O as a 3 person team- time will tell!”

Special thanks to Rod White, Garfield King and Lindsey Taylor who helped out on the boat and drove me to start line. Props to Jeremy Riggs and Dave Kalama for the coaching.

SUP Play: Turns and Practice

A few decades ago a friend of mine raced Ferraris – as a hobby. He trained hard and practiced often. Somehow the strategy for making an “S” turn came up and he explained, “The fastest way through an ‘S’ turn is a straight line.” So often in sport, the most effective approach isn’t always easy to execute. I filed that away until recently as I tried to negotiate a few buoy turns in a local race. The leaders made a turn shaped like a sharp “V” – At buoy, quick tail turn, then past buoy. Just like that!  The slower buoy turns, like mine, looked more like a huge looping arch – widely past the mark and inefficient. T needed a new strategy and technique.

A few weeks ago I saw a clip of a TV show Candice Appleby taped just after her prone division win at the 2013 Surftech Jay Race. Candice took Ali Fedotowsky of 1stLookTV (New York) out for a SUP lesson – and tons of fun. They were joined by Chris Aquilar (cinematographer) – Video link

At just about the 3-minute mark in the video, Candice easily and gracefully performs a tail turn. Out of the entire TV clip that scene stuck with me for weeks.  In between, we had a few races around the area. It was obvious that the paddlers who had perfected their tail turn – with accompanying paddle technique, foot-work and balance – made up time at every buoy turn.  We all work hard to perform at our best in events – maybe we should take a page out of Candice Appleby’s book – her “play book.”

Photo by Gail DeSoto DeMarco

Photo by Gail DeSoto DeMarco

I have never seen someone do so much hard work and practice all with an amazing sense of joy and play.  This is just one example of fun times at Race the Lake of the Sky during the “Sweet Moves” contest presented by Sweet Waterwear. Credit to Gail DeSoto DeMarco for capturing the photo.

A few other photos shared by Candice on her Facebook page continued to inspire me to take some risks, take some time and go play at tail turn practice.

candice tailturn1  candice-headstand-wild

The headstand – I am still just 20% of the way on that one. But on a warm sunny day last week the tail turn played along with me and I began to get the groove.  Practice – I did a few dozen but it’s obvious that hundreds will be executed before I have a bullet-proof turn. Can’t wait to get on the river this week and hunt down something to turn around – a buoy, a rock, another paddler – whatever can make it a game! Thanks for the inspiration and sense of absolute play, Candice!

Summer SUP: Hosmer Lake, OR

Summer time and lakes, go together like picnic and burgers, beer and brats, families and fun!

sarongjudy2A drive from Bend OR can provide access to hundreds of idyllic lakes in under an hour. Weirdly, Bend is located in the high desert but the influence of paddling culture and passion is alive and well. Just last Saturday Ed and I put our boards in at Lake Hosmer for a leisurely paddle.  Winds were light and the sun sparkled the gin clear water as trout and (yes) Atlantic Salmon darted underfoot.  We had heard our favorite, Bill Keale, performing just the night before. There seemed like no better song to to accompany the astounding footage of Lake Hosmer than Bill’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow/It’s a Wonderful World,” from his CD, BY REQUEST.

Take a 3-minute tour of one of our favorite high Cascades lakes.

Summer SUP – Winter Training

Sitting here in the wintery world of ski-season, quads wonderfully shredded from 3 days finding off-piste fun, I started thinking about some compression tights to wear pre and post exercise. I remembered that Karen Wrenn was wearing something when she visited one of our river races last summer so I took a quick look at her website to determine what brand was good for SUP. Bummer, I can’t tell from this photo.  No problem though. I had the chance to explore Karen’s website and blog – great information right when I need it.

Just in time for paddling season this year I will be turning 63 (for real???) and staying ready to paddle in races and long tours is a priority. I “enter” races but I don’t “race.” While every stroke is the strongest I can muster at the time, and the camaraderie of the race is so much fun, I am usually the last to cross the finish line on my 11’3″ Amundson.  Occasionally I borrow a race board, most recently from Dave and Meg at Kialoa, but my agenda is all about the paddle in the water, the connection between heart/lungs/muscle/sights/sounds and friends on the water. Training for all that is important.

Reading about Karen’s busy life as mother of three and the off-season whether she deals with in Portland was inspiring.  She suggests ways to stay motivated and carving out the 45 minutes or so needed to stay in shape.  Especially interesting is her explanation of her cross-training routine.

On her blog, Karen explains,  “Circuit training is great because you can get your heart rate going, build muscle and muscle endurance. I will first do something that elevates my heart rate followed by a couple exercises that include strength and balance. For example, I might do 20 double jumps (or you could do 100-150 single jumps) with a jump rope and then move right into 20 kettle ball swings (from a squat position swinging the kettle ball to shoulder height coming to a standing position) and repeat. Then I would move into a plank position with elbows on a ball and roll the ball forward and back for 20 reps. I would do this circuit 3 times and then move on to another circuit.

Another idea of a circuit is to do 15 split jumps on each leg ( and then 20 tri-cep dips then 20 reverse crunches ( and repeat this circuit another two times. Basically, come up with some circuits of three exercises. Have the first exercise of the series be something that will elevate your heart rate ( jump rope, running stairs, sprints on a rowing machine) add a strength exercise ( kettle bells, push ups, tricep dips, pull ups, etc…) then add in a core exercise ( reverse crunch, plank, medicine ball sit up and throws). After you finish one circuit of three then move on to another.

Bye, for now! I am heading to the gym and then to the trail. SUP season will be here before we know it. How do YOU train off-season?

SUP Spectrum: Colors

A recent post on the Kialoa Paddles Facebook page caught my imagination (and made me really want a new paddle!) Their 2012 line reflects technology and tradition with a SUPer dose of awesome design.

That collage of color reminded me of a shot we took back in the summer of 2009 when the Central Oregon sport of “sarong sailing” was (maybe) invented on Hosmer Lake.  Local artist, Cristina Acosta, had created exuberant designs on silk. It was a sunny day and we had a few of her sarongs with us as we headed out for a paddle/picnic day. As we entered the widest part of the lake, coming into view of Mt. Bachelor we were chatting excitedly about how the snow melt we were paddling on had been sweet spring snow under our skis just a few months before – when suddenly the wind picked up! Ed, the most dedicated sailor among us, wished out loud, “Too bad we don’t have sails to harness this breeze!”

Coming at us from the side it was perfect for a broad reach. Without a moment’s hesitation, Cristina whipped out a few of her sarongs, which immediately caught the breeze and shot us forward in a blaze of color and design.  Greens, blues and yellows filled the sky – along with giggles and woohooos.

During our lunch in the middle of Hosmer Lake we had a chance to hear about the silk-screen process Cristina used to create her variety of silk sarongs. We debated the pros and cons of possibly refining methods for attaching the sarong for more technical “sailing.”  That idea quickly went out the door by the end of the afternoon. The pure casual ability to take a sarong from around our waist and hoist it into the wind for a few minutes of “wind-surfing” won out. Ed crusied toward his favorite ski mountain while Cristina and Judy tried the “catamaran” method. 

Not long after our day at Hosmer, we took a SUP along the Deschutes River at Sunriver and paddled into Spring River, a cold and clear finger of exploration opportunities.  The day was sunny again but as afternoon approached the wind turned brisk. Of course we had our sarongs.

Isabella and Cristina harnessed some breezes – what a picture! We probably took 30 shots of the reflections of color and paddle boards in and below the crystal clear water.  

Counting Crows

A decade or more ago, my teenage kids played a lot of Counting Crows and when I could understand the lyrics (yes, I have trouble with that) I got into a lot of the songs. One, “Nothing but a Child” was a favorite, mainly for this first line,
“Nothing but a Child Glass upon me walking on the ocean
Sun upon me walking on a wave ”

(PS That is NOT me in the photo below!)
Back then it had to have been about 30 years since I’d surfed and quite a few years before SUP became along. But, ocean people (you know who you are) find the sounds and images of the sea resonate and attract. What could be better than walking on the ocean?
Over the past 3 months as summer blew into fall and darker wintry days, I re-connected with my yoga practice. Hot Bikram and some ventures to another studio, “Groove Yoga.”  Over the past year I have been meandering at various goals because, to me, this is a very unique year.  On June 2 (6/2) I turned 62. How cool is that!

All summer I had noticed people enjoying yoga on their SUP boards, in the river and in the ocean. Triangle, Warrior, Headstands and hand stands – and that seemed incredible, strong, balanced and wonderful.  So returning to yoga this Fall I had some goals.  Last night – I gave up those goals. Not in a negative way, but in a manner full of new awareness.

I want to do a head stand on my SUP board – friends, family and ElderSUP readers have been hearing that message. Last night in a packed room at Groove Yoga in a class led by Gerry Lopez I finally heard what I should have already known. In a calm voice that guided our practice, one of the first things Gerry mentioned was that the goal is not the pose.  It is our intent and willingness to listen to our own body and relax, with strength, into what our body can do right now that matters.

How many times have I heard something similar – but for some reason, with my focus on “getting to a head stand” I had forgotten.  During the class breathing, relaxing, focusing, awareness and intent guided my practice. At the same time I continued to mull over the new awareness that the “practice” is everything.  So it went throughout the class. Then as we were winding down Gerry announced that it was time for practicing inversions. Most of the class seemed to immediately hop into a head stand  and handstand, some needed a small tutorial from Gerry or others helping in the class.

I place my hands and head on the floor – oops, a minute later I was sitting up. Whew! That was difficult. Everyone else still inverted, so I gave it another try.  I heard a voice say, “press into the floor, engage your core.” Oh, OK, I thought. Arghhhhh!

I was up and sitting again. “How can you say that doesn’t take strength?” I implored. Several people nearby gave knowing smiles (from their upside-down vantage point).

By then I had attracted the attention of both instructors and Gerry.  With a calm series of guiding instructions I was back into an equilateral triangle made up of my two hands and head on the mat. Listening and working toward pressing into the floor, using my forearms and engaging my core I was sweating and muscles trembled (apparently i was working too hard at it).

“Let go, walk your toes toward your hands and lift your toes off the floor. Knee onto your elbow.”  I gave it a try. Collapse. Again – and one, then the other toe lifted off the floor and for two milli-seconds I was in Crow posture.

And for a milli-second I got how it was supposed to feel.  Now I cannot wait to practice that again – and again. Not for the eventual headstand, but for the awareness of “I am at this stage now but I can move to the next stage.”

What does this have to do with an Elder SUP article? Knowing the self  as a being rather than merely as an athlete or surfer or paddler or racer, is a genuine kind of knowledge.  That sort of knowledge usually gets lost in the rush of activities and push of goals. The value of discovering one’s self and of enjoying one’s self as it is, rather than as it is going to be, is a treasure. Have you had an experience similar to this? Comments or e-mail, we love to hear your story.  Join us on Facebook. for short comments and links to your stories.