Naish ONE: Alpine SUPping Robby Naish Style

Naish ONE inside, some snacks and a camera! Ready to go Alpine SUPping

Naish ONE inside, some snacks and a camera! Ready to go Alpine SUPping

Fall has hit the latitudes affected by winter snows and that shoulder season brrrr.  It’s our last chance to grab a backpack and hike to the alpine regions that are absolutely stunning this time of year. Our backpack gear is cool-to-the-max because tucked inside the pack is a Naish ONE!

Robby Naish says, ” I am constantly telling people about the many benefits of our inflatable stand up paddle boards.

Robbie Naish ready to Alpine SUP - Photos by Filip Zuan (www.filipzuan.com)

Robby Naish ready to Alpine SUP – Photos by Filip Zuan (www.filipzuan.com)

Here are a few shots from an Alpine SUP adventure in St. Moritz, Switzerland that never would have been possible with a composite board!

Where in the world is Robby Naish

Where in the world is Robby Naish

Every day on the water is a good day and with one of these, you can make that happen a lot more often!”

Find YOUR nearest alpine lake and let the hike-in Naish ONE adventure begin

Find YOUR nearest alpine lake and let the hike-in Naish ONE adventure begin

Secret Lake by Broken Top - Oregon Photo by Tyler Roemer

Secret Lake by Broken Top – Oregon Photo by Tyler Roemer

Our first Alpine SUP adventure to a breathtaking, incredible “secret” lake tucked behind Broken Top in Bend, OR was an adventure. (Story here). Discovering these lakes and taking the hike set the stage for the sweetest of paddles upon arrival. All you need is a map and a plan to discover these treasures.

We drove through frozen, rutted snow at the edge of a 3,000 ft drop cliff in the Steens in Eastern Oregon to find our alpine lake. We were headed for Wildhorse Lake but the 1,100 foot steep drop of the trail covered in ice was not something we wanted to attempt. (video below). Instead we found a terrific alpine lake to hike to – Fish Lake nestled among the Steens at an elevation of 7400 feet. Surrounded by a healthy stand of willows and aspens, here a wide variety of wildlife can be found including beavers further down Lake Creek below the lake. It was glassy calm, with the only ripples provided by the lake’s namesake – fish! And plenty of them.

Thanks to Naish SUP for sweet inflatables, KIALOA Paddles for design and technology, and the Beatles for the tunes in the video below.

 

Positively Kai: Family, Attitude and Aloha

The Lenny family enjoys a close connection to the ocean - and to each other. Aloha, dreams, hard work and smiles.

The Lenny family enjoys a close connection to the ocean – and to each other. Aloha, dreams, hard work and smiles.

Martin Lenny told me a story once, it was a story that started with family – a family connected to the ocean.  In the early days as Martin and Paula were working double jobs while raising their family, they recognized that their son Kai was active – super active. Kai, whose name means, “ocean” in Hawaiian was happiest in the ocean.The best way to feed his need for action was to top off each day with time at the beach – doing whatever ocean sport was suitable for Kai’s age.

Fortunately, his family recognized that Kai had more than just a love of the ocean, he also had a passionate dream. Kai learned how to surf at the age of 4, windsurf at 6, stand up surf at 7 and kite surf at 9. Learning how to do these sports all happened naturally, and from it grew his love affair with the ocean and the waves. Mentors have been integral to Kai’s ability to soar toward his dream.

The early days’ mentoring from Robby Naish has evolved into a lifelong friendship.  Few his age have enjoyed training with not only Robby, but also legendary watermen like Laird Hamilton,  Dave Kalama, Buzzy Kerbox and Chuck Patterson.  Kai eagerly adopted just about every sport that involved water, wind and waves.

Traditional prayer circle lead by gerry Lopez before the Positively Kai Grom clinic - huge turn out

Traditional prayer circle lead by gerry Lopez before the Positively Kai Grom clinic – huge turn out

A common thread among his mentors and his family has inspired Kai as he has become a champion, a leader himself: Give back to the next generation by mentoring and consistently sharing aloha. It was exactly this sort of mentoring and inspiration that helped Kai continue his life journey toward his own dream. It is very obvious that the entire Lenny family lives this commitment to sharing with the next generation of standup paddlers.

In the spirit of mentoring and giving back, Kai has created a series of clinics for groms (young surfers) called, “Positively Kai.” Yesterday in Hood River we enjoyed watching the free clinic supported by sponsors (Naish, Hurley, Red Bull, Nike, GoPro , Turtle Bay Resort, Vertra, MFC and others).

DSC02549The clinic began with a prayer circle created by three concentric circles of hundreds of groms, family and friends holding hands and following the words of Gerry Lopez. Soon afterward, the groms were organized by age group and taken for more land instruction by the Big Winds JET team riders and many elite standup paddlers like Connor Baxter, Kody Kerbox, Chuck Patterson, Noa Ginella, Riggs Napoleon and more.DSC02666

DSC02723 DSC02696Age group races were an exciting part of the clinic but the real stories happened on the beach! One group of 8 year olds pow-wowed on the sand as the one more experienced paddler shared confidence and some words of wisdom to his peer.

A mom sent her 5 year old out into the windy bay with a grin. Why? She explained, “When she was 18 months old she began going paddling with me, sometimes napping on the board and sometimes falling off. But she has always loved being on the board with me. Now that she’s 5 she begged to come to this clinic and learn to paddle on her own.”

One exceptional paddler, Estani Bori age 10, had some obvious experience, skills and maybe that same passion that once fueled Kai when he was 10. He flew around the race course, then ran down to the beach to help collect the boards from the other racers as they finished. He was on the water doing tail turns and sprints all afternoon. I caught up with his father, Pablo.DSC02704

“Why did you travel all the way from Tahoe for this clinic,” I asked. Pablo didn’t hesitate a bit, “Once I saw that Estani lives and breathes this sport I had to help him follow what he is passionate about.”

That sounds like something Martin Lenny said, back in the day.  Pablo continued, “Estani goes to sleep watching his SUP heroes and he wakes up wanting to paddle, paddle, paddle. Once he started doing races it was great. The travel and the paddling is something we can do, father and son.”

Again and again all day long that is what stuck – the number of kids and parents, entire families smiling and sharing the stoke that is SUP. The energy of more than 400 people through the dance-off, the dinner of yummy burritos (Kai’s favorite) and the awards was stellar.

We ended with this from Kai, “I am inspired and stoked to see so many groms of all ages charging and having fun. You are the future of SUP and this is the best time to be a standup paddle athlete. The sport is young and has room for you to make your dreams happen – in SUP or whatever it is you dream. “DSC02670

5 ways to Build SUP Racing Confidence

bopstartjudy9If you want to be a writer – write! If you want to gain confidence in racing – race! Here’s a short list that can help, especially if you live far from the sort of water you’ll be racing in and if you will need to rent top-quality equipment for the event.

1. Practice on the  equipment you will be using for the event  – I went from using an 11’3″ all round SUP board to using a 14′ Naish Glide (the 2013 27 1/4″ wide 14.0 foot Glide). I got to Maui 6 days before the 2013 Olukai Ho’olaule’a and went directly to the Naish Maui Pro Center where Coach and Jay listened to what my husband, Ed, and I wanted to do. With every type of SUP surf and race board available for rent, they analyzed our skills in order to match us with what we could handle. A half hour later we were headed to the water with the 14′ Glides on the roof of the rental car. boo3

Hours of practice on that equipment gave us both an eye-opener (27 1/4 inches demands a new balance skills!) and time to gain confidence on the boards we would be using in our Maliko run event. (see the story that explains why I chose the Naish 12’6″ Glide for the down wind event this year and why I will be riding the newly designed Naish Glide 14.0 GX or GS for my down wind events moving forward).

We had a hundred questions and they had both the answers and the patience to share with us even though we were in town for just a week. Find the local team with that degree of customer service and expertise.

2. Plan ahead and talk to experts you can trust – The moment we completed our practice “fun” short Olukai Ho’olaule’a event in 2012 we began planning for the full 2013 event.  Completing that event let us know where the “holes” in our skill set were.  We started planning for the 2014 event immediately. Having the resource of Steve Gates and the team at Big Winds in Hood River, Oregon is awesome. We participated in their downwind clinic with Jeremy Riggs and gained more time on the 14′ Naish Glide.

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

At the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge in August 2013 we were able to try the Naish ONE, the inflatable 12′ 6″ SUP board. Thanks to Charlie Burwell and the Naish team members on site, particularly Chuck Patterson, we saw how versatile and absolutely cool the Naish ONEs were (and bought 2 of them!)

Over the year leading to the 2014 Olukai Ho’olaule’a we communicated often with Coach and Jay at the Naish Maui Pro Center planning which board we should rent for the event. Since we were spending so much time on our Naish ONE boards we decided to use the 12’6″ Glide. Our goal was to stay on the board (talk about ultimate stability and glides!) and not worry so much about speed.

After the event we were able to reflect on the experience with Jay an determine that the newly designed Naish Glide 14’0″ GX and GS is going to be the board for us – as our skills dictate, for the 2015 event. The newly designed Glide is 29 1/4 inches wide which will give a sweet stability along with the speed we want. Luckily, Steve Gates at Big Winds has reserved that exact board for us to use for the August 2014 Naish Columbia  Gorge Paddle Challenge. We plan to do some down wind training runs with his clinic leaders.

Find your local experts and experts at your travel destination. It makes all the difference in confidence.

3. Practice in conditions similar to your event – Living in Oregon’s high desert does not provide lots of opportunity to practice in the conditions that Mother Nature delivers in open ocean down wind races.  We are fortunate to be able to travel about a 3-hour drive to get similar challenges in the mighty Columbia River.

When we need to be more local we check the weather report for windy days on local lakes and reservoirs.  Four friends, two cars and a shuttle plan can provide a great day of fun – and the practice we need.

Suzie Cooney (CPT) of Suzie Trains Maui lives the training advice she shares both on Maui and online.

Suzie Cooney (CPT) of Suzie Trains Maui lives the training advice she shares both on Maui and online.

4. Train for the demands of the event -Winter! What a perfect excuse to forego paddling and take up couch surfing (Noooo!), skiing or snowshoeing. If you are serious about your paddling technique – paddle. If you are serious about your strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and speed – get a trainer who paddles.  We have an area in our garage filled with TRX equipment, Indo boards and a spin bike.  We fear we would not be either skilled at how to train or motivated to stay with it without the inspiration of Suzie Cooney. Check her blog for examples. 

5. Leave your expectations at the door – Every event delivers as much of an adrenaline rush as it delivers a chance to connect with like minded SUP athletes. SUP is unique in that you are right there in the watery “arena” with the most elite paddlers in the world – so often. We compete in the most beautiful waters on the planet. Sometimes the sun doesn’t shine or the wind blows snot or the temps drop to some crazy cold level, but if we show up, compete and finish then we win. We win the fodder for “talk story” and plans for next time. As Connor Baxter says, “Always have fun and never give up.” That works for me!

Naish ONE: Fun!

In about 6 weeks I’ll be leaving on a jet plane for Battle of the Paddle. I missed it last year and cannot wait to be part of the biggest SUP celebration around. Nearly six MONTHS ago I started looking for a 12’6″ race board to rent. The initial quest was quite specific – and within a few months I was regretting the purchase of a plane ticket and the long long drive was starting to seem like the best bet. There were no boards of any kind, any size to rent (beg or borrow) for the event.  I was thinking of dumping the plane ticket and strapping my surfboard to the car and heading south to be a part of the OPEN Surfboard class.

Then I had the chance to talk with Steve Gates at Big Winds in Hood River, Oregon.  He had the answer for me – and for many others, most likely.  He invited me to come on up to take the Big Winds shuttle and give his demo/rental Naish ONE a try on my favorite down wind run from Viento to the Hood River event site.  Better yet, I thought I’d buy one – but these inflatable one-design standup 12’6″ boards are so popular that they’ll be sold out for another week or so.  I will have to wait until I arrive in Hood River for the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge to get two Naish ONEs – one for me and one for hubby, Ed. We travel a lot by air – I think these Naish ONES will get more air miles than even water miles!

naishone1I carry way more baggage than what’s in the cool carry case for the Naish ONE. Rather than fill in the back story of the board specifications here, you can find out everything on the website.

What really has me jazzed is the opportunity for one-design racing, youth racing, family activities, and travel adventure and exploration that the Naish ONE can drive. (Follow Naish on Facebook)

One early entry in hosting a one-design event was the Weymouth Ecover Blue Mile, held at the 2012 Olympic water sports venue. It proved a resounding success with an amazing 467 people taking part in the Naish N1SCO One design SUP races and free taster sessions.  Naish UK put up £1,000 in prize money for a series of races, in which all riders used the Naish ONE 12‘6” N1SCO Inflatable board. The event included an intermediate race (400m), sprint races (100m), and a 1,500m course – the Ecover Blue Mile. Watch a recap of the event here: http://vimeo.com/71723598

Hundreds take part in Ecover Blue MIle Weymouth 2013

Hundreds take part in Ecover Blue MIle Weymouth 2013

Alex Tobutt, a representative of Naish UK, said the weekend had introduced SUP to brand new enthusiasts,  “The really nice thing was that the SUP racing wasn’t elitist; anyone could take part. “We had people of all ages and experience and some people had never done it before – and all of them were able to do it.  Another great thing was that although everyone was competing, they were also helping each other and supporting each other. ”

pramI grew up sailing and surfing, doing the juniors one-design sailing back in the 50’s. Then as our family grew up enjoying swimming and one-design sailing in a yacht club setting, the extensive value, family connection, sportsmanship and camaraderie around wind and water sports was priceless.  As yacht and sailing clubs begin to adopt standup paddling as a youth and family program option for sport and fitness, it’s important that the same careful consideration put into selecting one-design sailing craft is invested into the SUP purchase.

I have talked with a good number of sailing coaches and program managers who have bought a small fleet of standup boards based on the “flavor of the month” suggested by an eager retailer. It’s a real shame to miss the “boat,” so to speak on the powerful trend and historical value of the one-design class. If you have influence on a decision of this type, share this information and support a wise, long term investment.   It’s easy enough to locate a Naish dealer in your geographic area and get some solid information about the future of one-design and the versatility and performance of the Naish ONE.

Important, too, is to understand the organization behind this trend.  Take a look at the event home at N1SCO.  It’s exciting. Who knows, perhaps a young person you know (or you yourself) might just find themselves on the podium at an upcoming championship (Event Page)

 

SUP: 53 Degrees in the Summer

This KIALOA Paddles ad with Karen Wrenn inspired my that 56 degree morning in July

This KIALOA Paddles ad with Karen Wrenn inspired my that 56 degree morning in July

Flip through any of the many (thank goodness) SUP, paddling and surfing magazines and you’ll be dazzled by photos of surf, sun, bikinis, waves and warm water.  One ad catches me every time because it’s the polar (sometimes literally) opposite. It’s KIALOA Paddle’s ad showing Karen Wrenn psyching herself up for a training paddle in cold, wet, blustery weather that is so common in the Pacific Northwest. Do you know that kind of weather?

In preparation for the Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge in a few short weeks, my plan is to add to my weekly mileage. Between work and other obligations, early morning is the best time to grab the hours needed to bag 5-8 miles up and down current in the Deschutes River. Ahhh, summer. 85-95 degree days have warmed both water and air making paddling a pure joy. Except for last Wednesday.

I was fooled by the blue sky and sunshine as I loaded my board. For some reason a northerly wind had funneled in along with lower temperatures. I got to the river still warm and cozy in my car. The first alarm bell rang when i saw the flags rippling straight out as the wind blew in the face in the UPSTREAM direction. That is never good. I stepped out of the car to unload my board and stepped into – COLD! Seriously?

Getting tuned up and ready for my first Gorge Paddle Challenge course race - inspired by KIALOA 'Eleles Karen Wrenn and Brit Oliphant

Getting tuned up and ready for my first Gorge Paddle Challenge course race – inspired by KIALOA ‘Eleles Karen Wrenn and Brit Oliphant

I had neglected to do a temperature check back at the house. What was it? I turned on my car only to discover the outside temperature reading was 53! How did I miss that? Now, it’s true that in the winter, a sunny 53 degree day no matter what the wind chill is will seem like a “warm” day.  In the winter we are prepared for chill – booties, fleece and the right mind-set.

WE bundle up for cold paddles in the winter!

WE bundle up for cold paddles in the winter!

On the late July day, back in the car I sat huddled. I wanted warm, tropical breezy warm! It was time to channel my “inner Karen Wrenn” – please!  I managed to talk myself into getting onto the river and completing the planned distance.

Weirdly, after the first mile (brrrrr) I got sweaty, steady and in synch with wind, water, paddle technique and the beautiful morning.

Today, a mere 5 days after that challenging mental discipline of chilly last week I set off to 6 am yoga (wonderful) and went straight to the river for another 5 mile training paddle.

It was 55 today, wind brisk  in the face up current again. I hesitated, but just for a moment. I had the image of last week’s paddle set in mind.  It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t snowing and the river was almost empty.  If we want to have the best experience at the many SUP events available in almost every home town we need to prepare.  Sometimes we need not to over-think how it’s gonna be and just let our training session BE. Again today, it was delicious!

Sometimes WIND IS YOUR FRIEND – read more here

SUP Jazzed: Mighty Columbia River Gorge

A short 10 months ago I hopped on my 11’3″ surfboard (too scared to use the Naish 14′ Glide recommended by cool Steve Gates) and launched into 30+ mph winds and screaming river waves.  It was my first foray into the Columbia River and my first real down winder. Jazzed is an understatement, hooked on the stoke became the reality.

Judy and Ed loving life on a down-current glassy Columbia Gorge paddle

Judy and Ed loving life on a down-current glassy Columbia Gorge paddle

If I knew then what I know now, I would have totally paddled the Naish 14′ Glide – holy cow what a ride!

We recently survived one of the strangest down-wind Maliko runs (no wind, huge swell and confused chop) at the Olukai Ho’olaulea. The glides we got were awesome fun and only got us more hooked. We were in Hood River, Oregon for a clinic by Jeremy Riggs hosted by Steve Gates at BigWinds. Saturday dawned glassy so we did the “cocktail cruise” from Mosier to the Hood River event center. We took the BigWinds shuttle and had an absolute party for the sense as we cruised the 8 mile section.  In anticipation for the huge wind predicted for Sunday, we practiced some tail turns (splash!!!) and bracing. (anticipating Sunday’s clinic with Jeremy Riggs)

The Naish Gorge Paddle Challenge of 2012 was an amazing gathering or elite watermen and women, well-coached youth paddlers and every sort of talent in-between.  Clinics were provided, experts were available and safety crews on jet skis created a terrific event from start to finish.  There were well-attended clinics by Naish team rider, Karen Wrenn and great support and fun for all! The grom clinic given by Kai Lenny was one example of the positive attitude and easy manner of teaching while sharing expertise that Kai enjoys. (Be sure to catch the new GQ trailer featuring Naish team rider, Kai Lenny – well done!)

Hood River - be there and look for Elder SUP - can't wait to meet you

Hood River – be there and look for Elder SUP – can’t wait to meet you

There’s no question where we’ll be the weekend of August 17-18, 2013. We’ll be at Hood River with hundreds of others all praying for wind.  When you think of the Columbia River Gorge you probably picture trees bending and whitecaps boiling from the consistent winds generated by conditions at the river’s mouth near Astoria, OR.  For paddlers of all skill levels, there is something for everyone. You might just come upon the Gorge on one of its quieter days.

If you do, simply head over to BigWinds, talk to Jason or Steve and get yourself a Naish Glide. Windy or glassy, you are in for a sensory celebration.

SUP Endurance: Karen Wrenn Rocks

In a few short weeks SUP endurance athletes will gather for a cause at the 100 Mile Paddle, the ultimate adventure paddle & race for teams and elite paddlers.

100mile3This two day adventure paddle will start 75 miles north of NYC and follow the Hudson River to a breathtaking loop around Manhattan. It’s not surprising that KIALOA Paddles team rider, Karen Wrenn will be there paddling strong and raising funds for causes she cares about. The goal of the event is to raise awareness and funding for Autism Charities and Clean Water Initiatives.

As cool as the event sounds, it is not for the un-prepared.  Training for an endurance event of this sort is almost as grueling as training to, let’s see, climb Mt Everest.  The point is that the athletes able to solo a 100-mile paddle have demonstrated discipline, commitment and focus in their training.  So, what about us mere mortals who might want to do a crossing, paddle 30-40 miles or simply prep for race season?

Karen Wrenn training with friends

Karen Wrenn training with friends

If you take a page out of Karen’s book you’ll add a key ingredient – have fun training.  If you follow Karen’s blog or LIKE her on Facebook you’ll discover how she keeps the stoke going.  You’ll see her on one of her quiver of NAISH SUP boards almost every day.  All work and no play is definitely not her style. A busy mom, Karen adds family fun to time on the water for a terrific win-win experience. wrenn-100

Whether on the flatwaters of an Oregon lake, the often gnarly surf on the Pacific coast or fighting upstream currents (and dodging freighters) on the Columbia River, Karen is putting her time in to prepare well for the 100 Mile Paddle.

Another NAISH SUP team rider, Suzie Cooney, CPT, has shared some endurance training ideas that any of us can use.  She is excellent at breaking down each aspect of strength and endurance required for your best SUP experience. According to Suzie, “You already know that balance is a huge part of being a good paddler but so is leg strength.  It’s much easier to train the larger muscle groups such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calve muscles, but what about the tine supportive muscles around the ankle joint, knees and hips?  They are often under trained and overlooked.”

I couldn’t agree more. I read Suzie’s article and have added her suggestions to my weekly training routine – with surprising results. I look forward to hearing your comments.

wrenn-naishboard1Maybe we won’t charge the Maliko run like Suzie Cooney or raise funds for great causes via a 100 mile endurance race like Karen Wrenn – but we can grab our best endurance ability with gusto – and a grin!

You can follow Karen Wrenn on Twitter.