SUP Training: Observations

Waking up to a big dawn, orange full moon in my face and a sudden “ouch” at the first moves of the day.  Upper back, ribs, and upper abs screamed resistance at my walk to the kitchen for morning coffee. And guess what – I am one HAPPY person.

Karen Wrenn SlideAfter getting more knee and low back fatigue during longer and stronger paddles over the years I reached out for some advice on technique. Fortunately, Karen Wrenn (super inspiring) shared some insights (you can follow her on Twitter) and with some practice I am creating a more effective technique.  I found this artistically beautiful video on the HangerFox Youtube channel that allows us to observe the technique that creates that highly effective paddle stroke that serves Karen so well.

With Vimeo, YouTube, blogs by pros and all sorts of social media links, we can “meet up” with SUP professionals we admire. SKYPE is another way we can get great training tips from our favorite pros. Suzie Cooney, CPT of SuzieTrainsMaui encourages SKYPE training and has had great success with that medium.

Robby Naish (happy birthday this week) and Kai Lenny in Alaska

Robby Naish (happy birthday this week) and Kai Lenny in Alaska

Recently I watched a short video of Kai Lenny and Robby Naish paddling around icebergs and basically “chilling” in Alaska. It’s good to study their stance, paddle placement, reach, posture and recovery during racing sequences as well as more recreational paddling.  Sometimes it’s tough to assimilate exactly what is making their performance so efficient and powerful.

dave-safebackThis very short video by Dave Kalama posted on the Distressed Mullet YouTube channel gives direct and easy to implement advice on how to protect your lower back. Hinging rather than bending is a habit that is not too difficult to hone – give the video a few, or maybe a couple of views then try the movement on your next paddle.

Dave Kalama provides a more advice in his blog article I found to be easy to put into practice. “Don’t rush.”

He explains that even if your technique is effective, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are utilizing it properly. If you rush through all the phases of your stroke and don’t take the time to execute each phase correctly, then you are not using your level of technique in an efficient way.

For me, one of the pieces I took away was to take the time to really drive the paddle down into the water. Create a complete stretch of your reach. According to Dave, ” it only costs you a little patience and time to completely extend your arm forward. Also, rushing through the recovery phase will break the flow of a smooth rhythm, which is where real efficiency resides. If you rush into getting your hips all the way back under you to the neutral position, then you miss out on all the potential momentum you can generate through the hips. dave-technique

During yesterday’s training that resulted in muscle fatigue and “good workout” soreness, it might have been that fully extended reach, getting my hips back to neutral and rotating the upper body appropriately that made all the difference.  There’s nothing like practice, exploration and observation to add even more fun to this sport we love so much!

We’d love to hear from you – what blogs, videos or images have been useful as you improve your technique?

 

SUP Muse: Suzie Cooney

The grin and enthusiasm are a constant! Suzie Cooney, CPT, lives her expertise!

The grin and enthusiasm are a constant! Suzie Cooney, CPT, lives her expertise!

It was almost a year ago that Ed and I had the chance to meet a virtual whirlwind of expertise and energy, Suzie Cooney (CPT) of Suzie Trains Maui. We tentatively tested the waters of the Olukai Ho’olaule’a by doing the “fun race” of three short miles and emerged from the water wanting only MORE! We knew that there was no way our “almost-ready-for-Medicare” bodies were trained for the wind and waves of the full run from Maliko Gulch, so we stayed in touch with Suzie.

Great plan! You too can enjoy her training no matter where you live via a SKYPE session or you can enhance your Maui vacation paddling by booking a local session. Be sure to plan well in advance. Suzie works hard sharing her training and expertise from large group workshops, articles and private sessions.

Being among the tribe of “Wounded Warriors” now and then, we were delighted to discover solid advice on the Suzie Trains Maui website and on the Naish surfing website. We are most recently doing some interesting core work that’s fun and challenging. We want to be ready when we grab our Naish Glides and Mana series surfboards in 63 short days. Yes, drooling can commence when you see the image (below).

The Glide and Mana series are calling my name!

The Glide and Mana series are calling my name!

 Over the winter months we have been training with TRX and the Indo Board. Guided by Suzie’s video and e-mail support we make progress. Since we’re rarely actually out having great fun standup paddling these last months (but the skiing has been great) the most important part of Suzie’s connection with us is an unabashed love of the ocean, the wind, the waves and the glides! We can easily use the GoPro HERO to film segments of our technique, then have a variety of people give us input. Editing clips of GoPro footage is easy – easy to edit and easy to share.
Suzie’s regular e-mail updates and blog articles are almost as good as being there. Yes, we wanted to be there when she paddled with whales. No, we didn’t want to be there when a large north shore winter wave smacked her onto a reef (yes, there was some blood). Through it all, enthusiasm reigns!
Recently we exchanged an e-mail, I had some concern about my technique and an old series of knee injuries. Suzie replied, “I bet you’re getting excited!  Train, train and train! The ol’ knees will be warmer here, so don’t worry.” That connected to our balance, strength, agility and power routines will get us there (did I say 56 days?)
I can see Suzie on the Glide now. She described a recent workout, “Surf is huge still and I caught a long wave on the Glide yesterday. I was coming into the harbor after my laps.  It was waist high. Too fun!”

Winter SUP Training

January warm in my Sweet Waterwear paddling top and compression pants

January warm in my Sweet Waterwear paddling top and compression pants

Just took a virtual tour drooling over the Naish line of Glide raceboards (have you ever seen that GX? Yeah!)and Mana line of SUP surfboards.  It seems like forever until we head to Maui for some surf and downwind fun at the Olukai Ho’olaulea.  In reality, it’s just about 100 days.  With so much snow and ice on our local paddling locations, we are waiting until late May to get our Naish boards. Meanwhile we prep and dream. I did have the pleasure of going a few miles in the Deschutes River on a recent 50 degree afternoon. It was the first time I’d paddled since our fun in Maui in early December. Other locals, like Randall Barna paddle regularly – every freezing month of the year. naish randall winter

I was paddling on my Amundson 11’3″ all round fun board.  Everyone knows that I have had endless hours of flatwater and surf fun with that board.  Heading up river on a calm day I was surprised to notice – my Amundson just didn’t have that “glide!” In Maui we had been blessed with a few glassy days with small surf so the actual glide of the Naish 14′ Glide was obvious. A set of 6-8 strokes on one side generated some serious acceleration with minimal effort.  It reminded me of some technique suggestions from KIALOA paddles’ Dave Chun.

When asked about paddling technique, Dave Chun says, “Listen to the board, Don’t worry about what you look like. Listen to the water coming off of it. Feel what makes it go fast and smooth.” I was doping that observation during my January paddle and realized how much the design of a board impacts the glide, the sound and the result of a series of paddle strokes.  Even though I love the sound of the chop-chop-chop as the bow skims across the ripples in river current and breeze bumps, having aboard that slices right through all that with more of a “swish” is simply faster! So glad we’ve got a 14′ Naish Glide reserved for the Ho’olaule’a.

We don't have the beach (and I certainly don't have the body) but we can train and prep with guidance from Suzie Cooney, CPT

We don’t have the beach (and I certainly don’t have the body) but we can train and prep with guidance from Suzie Cooney, CPT

While a great board is key to having a great experience during SUP events, the bottom line is getting ourselves ready to be strong, safe and prepared for the physical and mental challenges. To that end we have been poring over Suzie Cooney’s SuzieTrainsMaui website for ideas and training tips. Luckily she has SKYPE sessions available for some true custom training opportunity. I know we will be filming some sessions with the GoPro to get solid feedback that we need.

Since Karen Wrenn experiences much similar winter weather we looked for some training tips that power her fitness and competitive success.  This is from Karen’s blog with a link to Stand Up Paddle Annapolis’ blog

“I do a lot of cross training in the gym in the Winter. 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 (http://www.livestrong.com/video/5310-split-jumps/) and then 20 tri-cep dips then 20 reverse crunches (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVVlXA0dqGg) 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.

I run a lot during the Winter. Running is a great way to keep up your cardio endurance and a great thing to do if you only have 45 minutes to spare. If you are not a runner… biking and swimming are great options too.”

From Naish Stand Up Paddle's Facebook page

From Naish Stand Up Paddle’s Facebook page

Excuses for not getting ready? NONE! Have fun, just be sure to be safe and paddle with a buddy when the water and weather is cold.

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.

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;

 

Fitness Journey Back

All summer long I have been paddling about 5 days a week but feeling a bit bad about all the fun. My husband, Ed, had a summer doing PT for rotator cuff repair, Lifting a 1 lb weight and pulling a red TheraBand just didn’t equate to fun. While staying in cardio shape hiking the incredible trails and peaks are Central Oregon has been terrific, we prefer our water sports. Last Saturday he got the okay to get on his board – but “take it easy,”  said surgeon Cara Walther. The spectacular first day of fall weather agreed with a casual cruise with friends up at Elk Lake.

According to Ed’s first paddle back after 5 months shoulder rehab

Since Ed will be training under the expertise of Suzie Cooney (Suzie Trains Maui, a Naish team rider– you can too, just set up your Skype training – left column on her blog) he decided to give the shoulder a nice long warm up. After that, he paddled along the shoreline observing which muscles seemed to be engaged – abs and lats more than the shoulder.  Balancing on the board on the lake seemed easier than balancing on the Indo board that he plans to use this upcoming week.

Why did we get an Indo Board? Some training examples using the Indo board can be found on Suzie Cooney’s website.

According to information we found online, “Indo Board Balance Trainers are the most effective land-based means of training for SUP racing, SUP surfing and Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga. Standing on an Indo Board simulates the instability that a rider experiences when riding a stand up paddle board and allows for repetitious functional exercises that directly enhance the user’s abilities.” With cooler weather and snow on the horizon for the next 6 months, that’s going to be a fine addition to our training mix. You just can’t get enough core strength and balance.

Going for my headstand while comfortable and cozy in my Sweet Waterwear performance paddling top

Balance was on both our minds. I had set a goal of doing a headstand on my board sometime during the summer. In spite of lots of yoga and headstand practice I could only muster a halfway headstand. We all know the mantra, and it’s true, “it’s a journey.” There is no place in which we simply get fit and then remain fit. Balance is a practice, just like most things that are important. The fact that I completed the partial headstand and remained dry simply means I held back a bit and didn’t quite go all the way to my edge. (Next warm day we’ll have another go at it!)

Rick’s got the reflection both on the water and in his mind

Another important thing we celebrated while paddling on Saturday was the one year anniversary since our good friend, Rick, was surprised by a sudden stroke. Fit, healthy and active, that health incident came as a complete shock to Rick. Perhaps his good health gave him the start point for full recovery and the ability to resume standup paddling with all the confidence he’d had before.  All four of us have been more aware than ever of the need to stay focused on an exercise program that includes cardio, balance, flexibility and strength. Now that we’re heading to our mid-60’s we’ve got a lot of inspiration to keep the active fun a central part of how we live.