Tag Archives: Jeremy Riggs

Do It! – Your Bucket List SUP Event

Have you got that SUP dream, that event that fuels your dreams and motivates your training? Do you have what it takes to make it happen?

Got a dream? Let's talk story with Steve Gates, GM Big Winds and coach
Got a dream? Let’s talk story with Steve Gates, GM Big Winds and coach

We’ve heard it before, “Access to success is through the mind,”  – but for Steve Gates access came through the heart, spirit, absolute grit and gumption, as well as the mind! I had a great conversation with Steve, GM of Big Winds in Hood River and coach of the JET team, yesterday. We chatted about his recent three-person team crossing of the Ka’iwi Channel at the 2014 Molokai2Oahu (M2O). Rob Dies, Gregg Leion and Steve made a plan to do the Molokai to Oahu – and they did it! But let’s back up just a bit.

I first met Steve, now a strong, tall, fit guy sharing smiles and stoke, in August 2012 at the 2012 Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. That event was his baby. A health issue had him terribly underweight but he was working hard and cheering on his JET team even though he was almost too weak to stand. By December he was fighting for his life. In June of 2013, about six months after Steve had been frighteningly close to death’s door,  we went to Hood River for a down wind clinic with Jeremy Riggs. As we grabbed our glides and rode the 8 miles of Columbia River from Viento to Hood River there was an “energy bunny” paddling ahead and back, from paddler to paddler, joining Jeremy in on-water coaching with relentless grins and technique tips – Steve Gates.

According to Steve, “I was still denying the physical limitations of my body and was running on enthusiasm and joy just being out on the water and paddling.” And here’s the story  too cool not to share. Six months before, in December of 2012,  when Steve was too weak to either hold a paddle or stand he articulated a dream. As we rang in 2013, Steve shared his dream of doing the Molokai 2 Oahu in 2014 from a hospital bed while continuing his battle with a dire health situation.

Big Winds JUnior Elite Team (JET) loving their tough practices and huge stoke
Big Winds JUnior Elite Team (JET) loving their tough practices and huge stoke

As a life long water athlete and coach, Steve never asked others to do what he would not do. Ask any JET team member and they will tell you that they didn’t mind the early morning summer practices (well, not too much) because Steve was always there and he did what they did. He sweated with them and panted after a tough interval – and he made it fun. Steve always asked his team to follow their dreams and aspire toward what they really want – and so he did the same.

In early 2013 Steve, Greg and Rob were making plans for an escort boat, for local support they would need for M2O and for a training plan that would let them reach their dream.

A powerful moment - Photo by 808Photo.me
A powerful moment – Photo by 808Photo.me

There were plenty of ups and downs. One bout of dehydration nearly dashed all hopes for Steve to get to the physical level of strength and endurance he’d need. “Access to success is through the mind, ” and in Steve’s mind he was at M2O – and by July 2014, he actually was there.

According to Steve,”The morning flew by and before we knew it we had finished all preparations and were at the start point on the beach ready for the start.  Soon, I was in the water, sitting on my board next to Connor Baxter. Neither of us knew what the day would hold.” For Connor it was a record-breaking win, for Steve and his team it was the culmination of a long journey from the start of a 32-mile paddle across the challenging and treacherous “channel of bones.”

Rob Dies, Gregg Leion and Steve Gates just before the start of M2O
Rob Dies, Gregg Leion and Steve Gates just before the start of M2O

The conditions did not deliver the usual tradewinds and nice push toward glides the paddlers dream of. In fact the swells were smallish and every glide was the result of hard work, sometimes against both wind and current.

Greg Leion getting a glide Photo by 808Photo.me
Greg Leion getting a glide Photo by 808Photo.me

Steve, Rob and Greg made their changes in and out of the escort boat. Their escort boat captain, Jeremy Wilmes and his helmsman and first mate Josh made everything possible. Steve shares, “You couldn’t ask for more, these guys are as good as they come.”

Rob Dies making his way past the China Wall
Rob Dies making his way past the China Wall

The hours flew by and they were at the China Wall and final legs of the race.  Rob Dies put the hammer down and pounded past the gnarliest area of the race. The changes came more often and before Steve realized it was his time to jump in, get on board and paddle to the finish.

We all watch events and the competitors launching toward the finish. Sometimes we wish that we were competing or accomplishing some long dreamed-of adventure. Imagine, if you can, the enormous wash of emotion, satisfaction, happiness and awe that had to encompass Steve as he made his way across the finish line for the team.  The journey had been long, and often seemed impossible.

A happy Steve Gates crossing the finish line for the team at M2O 2014
A happy Steve Gates crossing the finish line for the team at M2O 2014

From that day when simply standing was a challenge to this moment paddling strong across the M2O finish line. Steve was standing, tired and beat, but never beaten. Got a dream, got a goal? Think it is impossible? It’s there for you if you put your mind, heart, spirit and the support of friends and family into the mix. Now – GO FOR IT!

 

Saving the Best ’til (Almost) Last

Peggy King in the M2M (Photo by 808Photo.me)
Peggy King in the M2M (Photo by 808Photo.me)

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 808Photo.me 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.

Molokai 2 Maui: Train with Peggy King

Peggy King has put in the training and downwind miles needed for the downwind racing season
Peggy King has put in the training and downwind miles needed for the downwind racing season (photo credit: Jeff Chang)

July 12, 2014 – Peggy King will be on the  starting line ready for the Maui to Molokai SUP race. This event, which begins in Honolua Bay, covers a stretch of water often described as “The Best Downwind Run On The Planet.” With her 60th birthday in the rear view mirror, Peggy King’s M2M training had been well-planned and solid. She feels ready for her second solos M2M.

We had a blast at the 2014 Olukai!
We had a blast at the 2014 Olukai!

I ran into Peggy at the start of the 2014 Olukai Ho’olaule’a. She looked fit and with 20 fewer pounds on her lean frame she was an inspiration to me! Curious about her training (and ready for some lean muscle and more endurance) I asked her to share some details.

Peggy King’s Training Summary:  My training for this event was planned and actually started way back in September of 2013. My main focus was on improving my overall fitness and accomplishing some weight loss( 20 lbs since July 13!) The strategy included attending classes at Crossfit Upcountry Maui 3-4x per week.

I am not a nutrition expert, I simply used common sense. For example, my diet plan began with the eradication of a favorite –  Triscuits and cheese. It was the start of a few habits changes that made a big difference. Diet was rounded out with meats,veggies fruits, and what we all know is important, less sugar, processed food, and alcohol. Portion control is the magic.  Athletes need water – so I was more conscious of that.

pk-hawaiikai1
Time on the water is Peggy’s favorite training routine (photo credit: Jeff Chang)

My XFit class formed a training base that I supplemented with SUP surfing, uphill walking with my dogs, and some double exercise sessions to mimic the time and intensity of  e what is required on a double Maliko Run.  It was important for me to include scheduled rest days! When I’m tired I overeat, am clumsy and risk getting hurt! Noooo! I do not want an injury.

Paddle season is upon us now- I did some of the Kahului Harbor circles in calm water- not fun! I am aiming for a double Maliko run at least 1 x per week. Since February, I have been doing downwinders to the Kahului Harbor(not just ending my Maliko runs at Kanaha) 4-5x per week.

Falling during the M2M not only wastes a lot of time, but also energy. Paddling upwind into a body of water in the nasty wind is important- and a skill required for M2O( I’m not doing that one!) and M2M.  After paddling 26 + miles of open ocean when you are tired it is necessary to have a solid base of skills and endurance.

Jeff Chang from the Wet Feet company took Peggy on the Hawaii Kai Run while she was on Oahu last week
Jeff Chang from the Wet Feet company took Peggy on the Hawaii Kai Run while she was on Oahu last week

Jeremy Riggs has helped me with my down-winding and paddling skills for 2+ years now,”being my chaperon” when conditions were really windy and nasty. As a result,my confidence has improved tremendously. I also sought out some wonderful coaching on my paddle stroke from David Kalama. I love and respect both these guys so much!

Since paddle/ downwind season has started, I’ve been challenged with the tiredness overeating/ training syndrome,but it’s getting better as my body adjusts to this workload! This is not easy for a 61 year old post menopausal broad like me.

I’m feeling both anxious and excited now as M2M approaches. I want to improve my time and qualify as a finisher sooo bad. They let me through last year at 5:34 although  I fell a lot the last 5 miles. I did a fair race. This means I didn’t cheat by going to my knees or sitting down.

I am much more prepared mentally and physically this year. Who knows what the conditions will bring. It could be light or 45 mph! I could be “yard sale” falling across the channel! I’d like to think with all my training and weight loss I’ll do better than that! Fingers crossed and hope for the best.”

We wish the same for you, Peggy!  (Note from Elder SUP- I have taken a clinic from Paddle with Riggs and you can too! Launches your skills to an entirely new level)

 

SUP Addiction: The Glide

Innocently, you join friends and fellow competitors for your first down wind SUP adventure. River, lake or open ocean – when the wind and the bumps cooperate the experience is incredible.

There’s so much to think about – paddle stroke, wind and wave direction, safety around rocks, channels, tankers or current and your own stamina and ability.  Whether your first run was 3 miles and easy or a kick-your-butt challenge, it’s likely you emerged from the adventure a different person.  Perhaps, like so many of us, all you can think about is doing it AGAIN! Yup, you’re hooked.

In between opportunities to do down winders, SUP Magazine has an online series that can provide tips and insights any time.  Take a look at the Glide Guide.

Some take-away tips from the video (see below) of Jeremy Riggs training Justin Gordon include:

The key thing keeping up your momentum.  Shorter rapid paddle strokes keep momentum going – keep speed up

Don’t go right up the back of the wave in front of you – that will slow you down and you paddle UP.

Look for the place to keep the momentum going, a place to guide the board into the trough where you can catch the next bump – and have tons more FUN!