Naish: Organically Cool Culture

Marti'n grabs all the board sports with gusto

Marti’n grabs all the board sports with gusto

In early December, Ed and I went to the Naish Maui Pro Center to get a couple of SUP surf boards.  We planned to mix up our water fun as we already were loving time on the Naish Glide. We were greeted by a warm smile and limitless expert help from Martin Verrastro. In no time, we felt like old friends as he showed us various boards, inquired about our abilities and where we’d be surfing. By the time we drove happily away with two Naish Mana 9’5″ boards on the roof of the car we’d learned so much about all the cool Naish options. Martin provided one more example of the sort of watermen (and women) who are part of the Naish culture.

Naish team riders come to mind when we think of “the face of Naish,” but it’s the entire Naish team from corporate, to store, to the water that live and share the vision and mission.  I’d like to introduce you to Martin, as an example.

First and foremost, Martin is a windsurfer who loves watersports, including Stand Up Paddle boarding, kiteboarding, surfing. Back when he learned to windsurf in Buenos Aires, Argentina, SUP and Kiteboarding didn’t exist. But even back then, according to Martin, “like most of the windsurfers at that time, Robby Naish was our big Hero. I still remember I used to call my windsurfers friends “Robby” to make them feel important and to motivate them when they were trying new tricks using a big long board. I’d say ‘good job Robby’ or ‘Robby, the wind is up, let’s go windsurfing’ when I called them by telephone. It was fun.”

Marti'n with Robby Naish and Dave Barral

Marti’n with Robby Naish and Dave Barral

In May 2009 as a network engineer at an IT company in Orange County,  Martin felt it was time to follow the dream he had when he first began windsurfing – to teach windsurfing and Kiteboarding in USA like he had during summers in Argentina.

martincruisIn May 2009 Hood River Oregon seemed the “perfect place” to start his adventure. There is no mistaking the excited amazement Martin had as he shared the story, “I called Jak Wilberscheid, owner of Hood River Water Play. He offered me the chance to teach during the summer of 2009 for his school. Judy! Let me tell you, when I discovered the beauty of Hood River  while working  at Jak’s school, that experience changed my life.”

I heartily agree with Martin’s  wish that I might meet Jak one day. I have no doubt he’s as an amazing person as Martin described.

The Gorge is where Martin discovered SUPing. Many events take place at Waterfront Park on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.  He used to paddle with his friends from the event site, in the Oregon side to the hatchery in Washington side when the wind was off.

By the end of September along the Columbia River as the weather changes to Fall, wind conditions aren’t so stellar. The changes sent Martin back to California full of great memories and experiences. He set his sights on Hawaii and teaching windsurfing and kiteboarding  for “Action Sports Maui” owned and operated by the training director of IKO “international kiteboarding association” David and Suzie Dorn. At the same time he did fiberglass repairs for Kanaha Kai, a windsurf and SUP, surf shop in the north shore.

Martin explained, “In September 2011, “Coach” Jeff Hughes, manager of Naish Maui Pro Center  offered me the chance to work at the shop. Of course I accepted. Naish has the highest standards and is by far the best company in the world  in windsurfing, kiteboarding and Stand Up Paddle.  As a watersports instructor I’m pleased that most schools around the world are using Naish gear and of course, that is what we use in our school.”

martinteach

Marti’n has the experience, passion and personality to make a windsurfer from a “newbie. martin3

The icing on the cake, Martin says, “Robby Naish is my personal hero. It’s easy and enjoyable to work for someone for whom I have so much respect and admiration.”

Marti’n’s Favorite Naish Products:

Windsurf:

For Beginners, when I’m teaching

Board: Naish Kailua 230L

Sail: Naish Scout 2.5 SE

In Marti’n’s opinion, this gear should be the standard for entry level windsurfing in all the schools around the world because it makes learning windsurfing really easy and enjoyable.

When Marti’n winsurfs he uses:

Board: 80L Koncept

Sail: 5.0 Force

Harness: Moto 2012

Harness Lines: 26”

Boom: CB wave pro 140-190

Kiteboarding:

When I’m teaching Kiteboarding and when I’m riding myself I love the new ride. It is an all-round, entry level kite that offers great low end, effortless water re-launch and has a 2-strut design. Kiteboard: Naish Gun 6′ 2012 (Full Carbon Sandwich Construction) is my favorite.
It’s the perfect board for the Maui gusty winds and waves, it offers outstanding control in strong winds and choppy water with excellent stability.

Stand Up Paddle (SUP)

Board: Mana 10’0 wood sandwich (bamboo)

Paddle: Kaholo 9.0 fixed SDS (full carbon)

I really love the Mana 10’0, for small surf and flat water. It has an exaggerated tail rocker  for great turning performance. It’s wide and easy to maneuver, has 210 Liters, and a single-concave bottom shape.

For a downwinder when I’m doing t the “classic  9 mile Maliko Run, from Maliko Gulch to Kahului Harbor” in the northshore of Maui,  I prefer  the Nalu 11’6.

“As a watersports Instructor, I know that when I  ride a Naish, I am not only riding the best, I am riding with the best. Naish No Ka Oi. Aloha!”

Right Name – Excellent Initials

Sometimes fate seems to send a subtle message in ordinary observations. This time it came from a name and the resulting initials – Suzie Cooney, SC.

Ed and I are in week 8 of our “Eddie Will Go on the Olukai Ho’olaule’a” race – comeback from extensive shoulder surgery. Week 8 is the best one yet. We are actually in Maui and are SUP surfing and doing sweet down-winders every day on our Naish 14′ Glide GX. Last night we had dinner with our trainer-from-a-distance, Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui. IMGP0149

There’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation over ono burgers at the Fish Market Restaurant in Paia, especially after all the support we’ve gained from Suzie over the past months. How did two 63 year olds from Oregon come to be trained by Suzie Cooney on Maui? That’s quite a story.

We were casually playing at down-wind riding while on vacation in Maui in May 2011. Hearing that the Olukai Ho’olaule’a offered a “fun race” of just 4 miles we grabbed our rental surfboards and registered. The day of the race we were all butterflies and doubt.  Ed was having shoulder surgery 4 days later and we were second-guessing everything. Then the announcer gathered us all for a pre-race warm-up, and we met Suzie.

suzierace_00001With a warm smile and ultimate encouragement she talked and moved the nervous group through breathing, stretching and a warm-up. Surprisingly, by the time we were done the group had a relaxed and solidified feel. Then we were off for one of the most exhilarating fun-runs ever. We decided that when Ed was able to train after his surgery, just seven weeks ago, we would start training with Suzie. We set a goal to do the 8-mile run from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha. Suzie’s regimine has been just what Ed needed.

Meeting up with Suzie last night confirmed it, she has the absolute best initials for her spirit and talent:

  1. SC – Sincere compassion: Ed is coming back from an injury and Suzie’s compassion for the struggle is obvious. It takes quite a bit of digging to gain the information that might attribute to that. Suzie is no stranger to injury, rehab, set-backs and the value of dedication and solid training. She has walked the talk, and then some.
  2. SC – Social commitment: Much like Olukai, the sponsor of the Ho’olaule’a, Suzie has always had a strong commitment to her community and sharing her expertise and talent. We love that and it sets the same tone that we go for at Elder SUP
  3. SC – Strategic communication: Suzie is about the busiest person I know. There is no place for the luxury of time wasted. When we use SKYPE or e-mail to gain insights and training strategies Suzie is always ready to communicate, but to the point and with disciplined replies.  It is a great way to allow her expertise from Paia, Maui to reach out to wherever clients are.
  4. SC – Solid collaboration: Suzie spends time with a diverse group of peers from both the fitness and surf/SUP/paddling disciplines. She’s an avid listener and seems to have an uncanny ability to tweak out information and then share-collaborate easily. These skills are obvious if you cruise her website, see the photos, read the articles, and watch the well-edited videos.
  5. SC – Sea Connection: Suzie is a waterwoman and is undeniably connected to the sea. Her stories, grins, and passionate dedication to sharing this connection is a gift. We are better at our SUP dreams because of her inspiration. Better yet, we are determined to return home and make the most of the next 5 months before we launch into the sea from Maliko Gulch.

Please share your training, come back and dream-event stories with us.

Crush on a Hero (GoPro)

There was a time when golf was not a televised sport. Logic had it that watching a bunch of golfers whack a little white ball around a golf course, no matter how beautiful the course, would not be entertaining. Millions of rabid viewers later, the power of a great story woven into well shot images made all the difference.  We engage with diverse characters (pros) developed across their careers whether we play or not. Watching golf is adventure and drama when the story and filming is exceptional.

With the amazing digital and video tools available we have a chance to “film life.” We can see the images and become engaged in stories of all types created by pros-and people just like us. As in golf, some are going to gain a huge audience – others, not so much. For example, put the best set of golf clubs in my hands and bring the best video team on site to film my round of 18 holes, no one would care to watch. There’s no way I could deliver the shots or drama viewers need.

Similarly, I actually do own “the best” in equipment – the GoPro. Based on my skills and needs I selected the HERO3 Silver Edition. Armed with chest mount and surfboard mount I set off to document an 8 mile flatwater paddle down the incredibly beautiful coast of west Maui for my first Go Pro experience.  Ed and I took off, taking turns paddling the Naish Glide GS 14 where we’d mounted the GoPro surfboard mount.

The best equipment can’t counter boring footage and inexperience. We had a chest strap to mount the GoPro – but didn’t use it. The surfboard mount can be turned to face the surfer – we didn’t do that. We aimed the GoPro forward and simply let it run for 90 straight minutes of mostly downwind paddling.  The Go Pro Cineform Studio software is easily learned, even by a techno-phobe like me.  Thanks to lots of YouTube and online experts sharing insights every question that came to mind had an easy to access answer. All of that couldn’t make up for my relatively boring footage and lame editing skills.

View from the nose - first wave caught on the Naish Glide GX 14'

View from the nose – first wave caught on the Naish Glide GX 14′

Do I mind? Not really. No matter what, I have documentation of that very first, massively exhilarating ride I got on a chest high glassy wave on the Naish 14′ Glide GX in the few seconds before I bailed out. It was nearly dead low tide and a reef loomed too close to the surface. Editing that first set of Go Pro footage is the start of a cool new hobby. Priceless – and day one on my learning curve.

Connecting Across Generations

For the third time in as many years, Kai Lenny has won the overall title on a Waterman League World Tour.  Battle of the Paddle Champ Danny Ching calls Kai, “the best paddler in the world,” for his prowess in both wave and race competition. Lenny wrapped up his Standup World Series overall win this past October at Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu during the Standup World Series Finals.  Kai Lenny dedicated his first ever sup race world title to memory of Naish’s Harold Iggy whose unexpected passing last January saddened all who knew him. 

Iggy has made boards for over 50 years. He was behind many of the best known Stand Up Paddleboard shapes in the world today, including race boards like the Naish Glide and Javelin. There is about a 50 year span in age between young Kai Lenny and his mentor and friend, Harold Iggy. Connecting across generations is a strong tradition deeply embedded in the Naish culture.

Anyone who’s ever ridden a Naish SUP board has probably seen his unique signature right above the fin.
In a few weeks we will be heading to Maui to do some downwind and surf training, looking forward to the Ho’olaule’a in May. We will be fortunate to have Naish Glides for the week. We may even have the chance to try the Javelin 12’6 LE – that would be fantastic.  It is no small thing for us to be using boards designed, shaped and modified with input from the extraordinary watermen and women of the Naish team. Seeing Iggy’s mark on the boards will be a reminder of the traditions and connections across generations that influence excellence.

“The surfing world lost an icon, a legend, and a friend to many, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a mentor.”
said Randy Naish, who was with Harold on the water that tragic day.

No matter what your skill and experience level might be, having the best equipment and personal mentors always make a positive difference. Our skills, our confidence and our experiences over time all contribute to our connection to standup paddling.  In like manner, who looks to YOU for mentoring and inspiration?  No matter what your level might be, you can connect generations and reach new levels of confidence like Kai Lenny does.

There were times when the conditions at Turtle Bay were more than challenging.  Kai used his experience to move past any mental block that might have generated, “If I can handle Jaws mentally, and I feel super scared out there, I shouldn’t be scared pushing hard out here!” said Kai, who attributes his experiences at Jaws to helping him win that series of races. The mentors and powerful influence from Naish team riders added to that experience.
Experience, mentors, reflection and connection make all the difference. It’s great to observe a team like the Naish Team, and build those same traditions in our own “SUP TEAM.” We’d love to hear how mentoring or having a mentor has shaped your SUP experience.

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.

Pockets of Pain = Feeling Good

 

Pockets of pain during specific training can make you “hurt so bad” and soon feel so good, according to trainer Suzie Cooney. With a great blend of physiology, expertise – and some humor – Suzie shares a great training session that can re set the muscles used in SUP. You can watch the video here – better yet, view it on Suzie Trains Maui’s website for this video and MORE!

The one piece of equipment suggested for use is the 6″ Self Myofacial roller.  The video has three segments:

  1. For the lats, which help[ the paddle and blade enter the water and pull the body and board forward
  2. A segment for the back, shoulder and rhomboids
  3. A surprising bit of attention to the calf (actually two muscles) which can help when feet fall asleep and to improve the “pump” in the legs for improved blood circulation

Enjoy the video here;

 

Core Summer SUP Fitness

Staying in top form and being prepared to ride big waves and glide big down wind runs is a full time job for elite athletes in our sport of SUP. For Suzie Cooney, there is another aspect to her professional role as a leader in standup paddling. She’s taken her solid background in fitness training and has translated it to an online resource for thousands. Of course, for those fortunate enough to book training time with her on Maui, that’s the best option. For those of us an ocean away, we’re glad she takes the time to keep her blogs and websites rich with resources and information.

For anyone who has taken a video that’s meant to tell a story or to teach a skill, you know how tough it is to get the right shots, the right editing and best end product. It takes skill – and TIME. In a busy world, doesn’t it always seem like the busiest people take the time to pursue their passion and share their expertise.  Without benefit of Suzie‘s blog and videos bolstered by some SKYPE “distance training sessions” I know that the expectation of being fit and ready for our down wind adventures in Maui next May wouldn’t be what we’re dreaming of.

 Ed and I are in week 2 of our 36 week “Journey to Maliko and the Ho’olaule’a.”  (You can arrange for your own distance learning session with Suzie by scheduling a SKYPE session.) Here’s our plan for this week:

We are stocking our “home gym” in the garage with a balance ball and have arranged a wide variety of weights, a spin bike and some balance equipment. Since Ed is still not released for “real life” training, he will continue with his shoulder PT exercises. I am joining in on that series. My thought process is that I may as well keep my shoulders as strong and flexible as possible. I

It’s still great paddling weather here in Central Oregon, so water time will complement “gym” time for now.

Ed and I both watched Suzie’s session planned for one of her clients. You can watch how Suzie integrates both TRX and INDO board into the workout. We’ve got both of those items on the “wish list,” and hope to have them ready to use by mid-October when Ed should be good to go shoulder-wise. Take a few minutes to watch this video. If you don’t have some of the equipment, like the INDO board, it’s easy to click from Suzie’s site and get first class customer service for your purchase from INDO Board.

If you haven’t tried TRX training you may want to locate a class in your town. While the average gym class doesn’t focus on standup paddling needs specifically, you can get a good idea of the training philosophy behind that equipment.  We are looking forward to moving in that direction. According to Suzie, Naish team rider, “You’re really going to feel the power in your stroke from the deep obliques!”

YES! That’s what we want. We can’t do everything from week 1 or 2 but we will start where we are right now. Beginning today, we’ll be using our balance ball with focus on balance and core.

Suzie Trains Maui – and Eddie!

Back in the day – 1966-1970 to be exact – Ed and I were playing at surfing the mushy calf-high waves we had in balmy South Florida. We were the Beach Boys-era sweethearts. From 1970-2007 we didn’t surf, using our ocean time to sail, scuba, windsurf, fish, finish college and raise the family.  2001 found us moving life to Oregon, and by 2007 we discovered standup paddling and were back in the surf 4 decades later!

In the natural progression of things, two diverse events influenced our Summer 2012 activities.  One was Ed’s second rotator cuff surgery (yes, he was brave enough to go through that torture twice) and our trip to Maui to try the short version of the Ho’olaule’a event. Four days after the coolest downwind adventure either of us had experiences poor Ed went under the knife. But not before we were hooked on downwind, open ocean fun!

   

In the pictures above, it’s easy to see we are still the happy ocean-loving “kids” we were back in 1967 but it’s also easy to see that our abs are a bit worse for wear at age 63. Fortunately, just before the start of our event, Maui local and globally respected standup paddler/athlete, Suzie Cooney, provided a pre-race warmup. That gave us a chance not only to meet Suzie but to get to know a bit about her dedication to training a diverse group of clients from the casual paddler to elite athletes. As Ed went from wearing a sling to hefting the 3 lb weights he’s now using in PT we both made a commitment to getting into our best functional fitness over the next 8 months.

As much as we already know about exercise and nutrition, we realize that insights, motivation and programming provided by a respected professional is mandatory, especially as we embrace our seventh decade. Over the summer, Suzie Cooney has been kind enough to listen to our plan to follow her training “at a distance.” Nothing can replace actual time at her training facility with her customized training delivered face to face. Just the same, we have made a decision to glean as much as we can from her blog and conversations.  We have a solid goal in mind. We plan to be at the start line on May 11, 2013 ready to enjoy the full Olukai Ho’olaule’a downwind run from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha.

“Pie in the sky” – This Saturday I plan to join other hopefuls as I buy a couple of lotto tickets – would be cool to win $5000 or so. We’d probably jet off to Maui in November and prepare for Maliko at Suzie’s upcoming clinic. Meanwhile, training in Oregon is underway. The “training table” is becoming ever more healthful and an Indo Board is on its way to our home.  The digital age could very well allow us the best connection with our partner in preparation, Suzie Cooney. Most watched film this week – this training session from the Suzie Trains Maui blog. YES! We want endurance, core strength and balance. This is an excellent overview of some training options. Bring it, Suzie!

SUP Leaders Grinnin’ and Givin’

KIALOA paddles and Naish team rider, Chuck Patterson and his signature smile

Perhaps every sport has its heroes, good karma ambassadors and experts eager to share their time, skills and experience with newbies – but SUP seems to have more than its fair share.  As with most categories of leaders in most any field, the busiest seem to be the most eager to share.  Chuck Patterson and Karen Wrenn gave clinics at the 2011 Bend Paddleboard Challenge. Before and after their clinic they shared freely with any paddlers hammering the questions their way – and always with a smile!  Karen is a busy mom and competitor, but like Chuck she’s and incredible ambassador for our sport.

When my husband and I were in Maui last May for the Olukai Ho’olaule’a race, we tried the shorter course from Paia Bay to Kanaha – rather than the full Maliko Gulch run.  Local SUP trainer and world class athlete, Suzie Cooney consistently gave of her time and experience before and during the event. The absolutely amazing spirit of the team for Olukai and the encouragement from Suzie infected us with a focus on getting prepared for the 2013 Maliko Gulch run as part of the Olukai Ho’olaule’a. We plan to learn from her online training tips and some actual training runs over the next months. If she hadn’t been so willing to share from her first meeting with two old SUP downwind “wannabees” we might not have had the confidence to complete training enough to compete (term used loosely – LOL)

KIALOA paddles team rider, Brit Oliphant

Most recently I have had the good fortune to know one of the younger leaders in  standup paddling, surfing, and all types of racing, Brit Oliphant. We share the same home town, and often cross paths on the Deschutes River that flows through town. As Brit offers training to all ages in groups large and small the constant is enthusiasm and a great smile. Day after day! Just out of high school, Brit has a love of life and maturity that’s rare at any age. While disciplined training has provided the fitness background needed to compete at the highest levels, an absolute love of oceans and rivers adds a special something else.

So, as I wavered in my commitment to watch-participate-watch, maybe, or participate (should I?) in the upcoming 2012 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge I went out for an easy paddle with a friend yesterday. “Hey, Judy!” I heard as I walked past the Sun Country SUP rentals at our RiverBend Park. It was Brit, back from a one day training trip to Hood River where she and fellow paddlers had done a few rounds of the 8 mile downwind course.

In chatting, she heard me mention that I was still wavering about doing the event and might just rent the Naish race board my friend Steve Gates recommended in case I decided to do the downwind on Sunday. Now, I know that Brit recently got a brand new Joe Bark designed Candice Appleby Model 12’6″ race board. She’d paddled it to a win at the recent Gerry Lopez Elk Lake WPA race and was obviously thrilled.  That said, without a moment’s hesitation Brit said, ‘Judy, if we aren’t racing at the same time you can use my board on Sunday.” Sharing a brand new anything is generous – but a race board – what a cool gesture, Brit.

Generosity like that is rare.  I won’t be borrowing her cool race board, yet the offer was easily sincere. The confidence I gained from Brit’s wholehearted advice, hints and belief that not only could I do the event but I would have a world of fun (if the wind cooperated) at the same time.  Let’s see what Sunday brings. My guess is that we will see Brit competing toward the front of the elite class, smile shining, having a blast whatever place comes her way. For me, I hope I muster the nerve to give it a go. Better register now!  

10 Ways to Win a SUP Race

  1. Warm up before the race. Practice steadily whenever you can and get used to how “enough” feels.  Use a heart rate monitor now and then – so you learn what “enough” for you REALLY feels like.. The day before the race, work out a little and then rest up well. Stretch after you paddle for practice and get used to what “nicely warmed up” feels like. Honor your current ability and fitness. In the recent “fun paddle” part of the Olukai Ho’olaule’a, Suzie Cooney lead a group stretch and warmup before our 3 mile paddle. It got us ready physically and relaxed mentally.
  2. Be chilled out and friendly. Smile, joke and chat with others before the start, noticing who really needs to simply be left alone. There is bound to be a jittery someone you can calm a bit with a few words and a smile.
  3. Keep a steady start. If you get a shaky one you won’t get a good position. Wait a minute here!  If you are reading this article, chances are you will not be gracing the podium and accepting an award (unless you win the raffle prize). Yes, keep a steady start but keep a stead attitude too. Watch confident paddlers at or about your skill level and stay a bit behind them. They will help you learn to judge the local current, winds and start situation.  Do you see the paddler to the far (far far far) left of the photo, the one in the cool blue KIALOA hat? That is me getting confidence and timing from some of the best. YES, that is as close as I got to Karen Wrenn at the 2011 Bend Paddleboard Challenge – except when she lapped me!
  4. Don’t sprint at the beginning of a distance race. This is a waste of energy and it tires you out. Just sprint a bit for a couple of seconds to help you keep in a good position, then just turn your paddle strokes into a rhythm more like a “jog.”  If you have completed the distance that you’ll be
  5. Stay humble. Each person you pass delivers a chance to share a smile and “Go for it!” – if you have the breath (LOL). But keep your self confidence saying ” I can do it”.
  6. In a long distance race keep your hands loose around the paddle shaft. Wiggle your fingers now and then and use a loose grip and focused, strong paddle stroke. Remind yourself of your technique when you feel fatigued, it will bring you back into your best rhythm.
  7. Use your sense of touch. If you get tired during a long distance race or even a sprint, take a moment to breathe and feel. Feel the water on your feet (are you barefoot?) Feel the wind on your face – even if it is blowing stink and making it hard to paddle. Savor the opportunity to be moving yourself through the natural and sometimes wild outdoors.
  8. Use your hearing. Hear the steady lap-lap-lap of the water on and under your paddleboard. Hear your own breathing and monitor it. Hear your own voice humming or singing a tune to keep you in your aerobic zone – that matters in the longer races.
  9. elder sup and eldersup in Clayquot sound vancouver islandUse your sense of sight. After all, our “race courses are usually staged in oceans, bays, lakes and rivers in places most people would love to be. Got polarized sunglasses? See the bottom, see the colors, the rocks and the vegetation along the shore.
  10. Smile!  Your body will love you for the expenditure of energy you allot to a great big grin. Fun and relaxation will join the smile – after all, how many people get to experience the amazing sport of SUP racing. By the way, if you follow these 10 easy steps you WILL be a winner in any SUP race you choose to enter.