As a trainer and stand up paddling coach, my reward is getting to share smiles like these. Waking up to an email of this magnitude makes me feel so happy and full of pride. This past Monday I received in my inbox the following email:
“Aloha Suzie, epic downwinder yesterday morning. Air temp with wind chill, 38 degrees. Weather app recorded wind, 29 mph! Never been in wind that strong here and it was pretty crazy, no boats in sight, just me hollering on my own. It was cold and wore hat and gloves but well worth it and had some great glides. Had to take 30 minute hot shower afterwards to warm up and pumped for the rest of the day.
Hope you are doing well Coach!”
You may have met my client and dear friend, Peter Davies before on his first visit to Maui a few years ago as we embarked on his first victorious, Maliko downwinder.
When he’s not on Maui we train via SKYPE to keep him stoked and primed. He books 1-2 trips per year to get his Maui Maliko fix and wow has he come a long way. His training is so disciplined and he is always on the hunt for any opportunity to catch some glides even in the coldest of waters on the most chilly days. I really admire him for his enthusiastic spirit.
Way to go Peter Davies and thanks for sharing your SUP downwind stoke. You are definitely hardcore! Thanks for the inspiration and perspiration.
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui
Aloha SUP fans around the world from Maui, where the Aloha and shakas are abundant and real. The stand up paddle world is reaching far and wide and questioning if the sport is making taking a less than Aloha turn?
photo courtesy of StandUp Journal
It’s time to weigh in and create a fellowship of awareness to help maintain the growth of the support and keep it paddling in the right direction for all to enjoy. Has the intense competition created “it’s all about me” attitude? Is it all for one and all for me? Is it “okay” to ram someone’s board with your paddle and look the other way at all costs? Is the SUP industry cashing in on the chaos?
I felt compared to post this open, written letter by Mike Dobbins posted on StandUp Journal titled, “Paddleboard Aloha and Ohana, Is it A Thing of the Past?” Click here to read. A quote that stands out
“Aloha” and “Ohana” are two Hawaiian words used in the standup paddling world daily. Along with these words, the shaka is thrown a thousand times…A sign of friendship and compassion.
Has the next generation of paddlers forgotten the meaning of these words, or even been taught the meaning? The shaka sign seems to be no more than a photo prop anymore!
Most by now know of the poor sportsmanlike conduct displayed at the BOP 2014 this year, where the fight for 1st place was taken a bit too far.
I encourage you to read and share your thoughts. More importantly share a sincere smile and embrace everyone you meet while paddling, everywhere in the world. It goes a long way and keeps the Aloha real.
Thank you for your support of the sport we all love so much and continue to spread the positives about stand up paddling. It’s here to stay and so is the Aloha.
See you on the water.
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
There is a saying on Maui and that also applies to the ocean. So many people arrive to Maui with dreams of surfing and paddling everyday, drinking from coconuts and basking in the warm sunshine. All of that is amazing and can happen and when it does, it’s truly amazing.
The saying is ” Maui will either accept you or reject you.”
For some, it just doesn’t work as it’s the most expensive place to live in the United States and requires one to be very resourceful and respectful of the island ways. Many go back to the mainland.
The N Shore before a big paddle surf Suzie scans the lines and sets
I arrived 15 years ago and first learned the same applies to the ocean, especially on the rugged and rough waters of the North shore of Maui. The waves are big and the currents and reefs do not forgive and challenge the most extreme, experienced waterman and women.
This is why I write. Every time I enter the ocean I have the greatest respect. I scan the surf lines and sets and the horizon beyond. I observe the cloud and wind patterns, swell direction and the overall “mana” or power that I am about to embrace.
There are days I feel unstoppable and the waves and wind are with me. There are days where I scratch my head and wonder why it’s so especially hard. Either way I am very grateful.
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
Specializing in SUP and watersports performance
SUP Athlete for Naish
Photo by Tracy Kraft Leboe ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
July 27, 2014 Molokai 2 Oahu Championship Paddleboard Race
Our Molokai to Oahu 32 Mile SUP Race Adventure Channel of Bones 2014 from Suzie Cooney on Vimeo.
photos by Simone Reddingius ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2014
See photo gallery below.
The Ka’iwi (kah-EE-vee) Channel is one of the Eight Seas in Hawaii with it’s deepest depth of 2300 feet. It is known for it’s rough seas and abundant sea life, including many large sharks.
One would never guess that my biggest fear is of drowning. Who would think that an ocean going person such as myself would admit this fact? The open ocean waters of the Molokai to Oahu channel, affectionately called, the Channel of Bones; was starting to get big, rolling and pitching the boat from side to side.
Stephen Ross, my dear friend and relay partner started the race and was looking solid. His strokes looked strong with a good rhythm, as all of the boat wakes had made for a choppy and interesting first mile. Boy was I glad he started.
Coach Jeremy Riggs
It was my turn to paddle and as I inched closer to the side of the boat for our first transition with my confident coach and good friend Jeremy Riggs at my side, I looked up at our team leader and strong boat captain Mike Holmes, and asked, “now?” He said, “Yes, Suzie now.” Gulp.
Little did he know that my adrenaline was racing through my veins and up to my head so that I thought my Garmin would explode. The troughs were deep and the large wind swells were rolling underneath the boat. Without thinking another thought, I closed my eyes and off I jumped. I felt like I was in a time warp for a few seconds. I was so excited I actually forgot to turn on my Garmin until about the three miles in!
We had practiced our transitions with Jeremy the day before and decided that the left side of the board was the way to switch and then off to the right to exit. It proved to be a good plan. He unclipped his leash and our words were “got it”, to confirm and assure that the fresh paddler was ready to take over. We noticed some teams did not use a leash and we thought it best for our first time.
Getting up to my feet I had a rule to count to three to reconnect my brain to my body. This helped to tame the wild, surging rush of jitters, nerves and everything else you can think of that would break you down and tire you out.
Now standing, and I didn’t even look up. I just started to hammer hard and didn’t even know where my boat was, I was just going. I knew at that moment that if I didn’t find my breath I’d be totally spent the whole race. I thought I’d better take a big chill pill and just relax.
Jeremy Riggs commented:
“What I remember the most from the race was the moment that the initial stress of the start of the race was over and you and Stephen started catching glides and feeling good. Yours and Stephens first times on the water were full of anxiety then you were able to calm down and settle into a nice race pace. There was a moment that you gained confidence, realized that you could do this and felt like you belonged out there with everyone else. That was a huge moment and I’m grateful that I was able to be there with you guys to witness it all.”
Before the switch, Jeremy Riggs had some calm and words that really helped. Like, “just relax, don’t paddle so hard and look for all the small bumps right now and don’t worry about the big ones.” Great advice.
Still on my first leg, I could feel my traps rise up with excitement and self induced stress. This was not a good thing. I forced a few deep breaths to slow down, look up and check out the massive spread of boats and paddlers near by. Wow, what a sight. Continue reading Our Molokai 2 Oahu 32 Mile Race Adventure The Channel of Bones 2014
Aloha from Maui! Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel and share this video!
Ever wondered what it was like to paddle Maui’s famous Maliko 10 mile downwind paddle on the open ocean? Now you can experience this with me. TURN UP THE VOLUME!
Maui is famous for it’s downwind stand up paddle run out of Maliko gulch ending 10 miles along the N shore to the harbor in Kahului. It’s truly the happiest place on earth for me ( besides behind of the wheel of a 911 or on a dirt bike ).
I’m riding the Naish Javelin LE 14footer by 26 inches wide which offers a full ocean, wild surfing ride and lots of glides! This day it was blowing steady 25-35 but it’s hard to tell. ( Thanks Bill for sacrificing your session for me, beer and wine )
I shot this along with my buddy Bill Hoffman who was wearing my #GoPro Chesty harness on his back. We also had my paddle and board rigged, then he also held the GoPole Bobber for a few scenes.
Hope you enjoyed.
Sponsors: Naish International, BLUESMITHS, Kaenon Polarized Eyewear, Indo Board Balance Trainer, Pocketfuel Naturals and RAW Elements Sunscreen.
Mahalo and see you on the water!
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
SUP Naish Athlete
Please like and share!
MAUI, Paia HawaiiSaturday May 10, 2014
OluKai Ho’olaule’a 3 Mile Fun Paddle 2014 A Great Success
The Ocean is Our “Fun” Potion
The 6th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a event this year was an amazing ocean event and celebration. The island of Maui was alive over Mother’s Day weekend with over 300 stand up paddlers OC1 racers participating from around the globe. The food, luau was ono delicious and the musical talent was amazing. The event was open to the public that also included Hawaiian games and canoe rides. For a full recap of event and race results, click here.
The Fun Paddle Division is becoming an event within the event; allowing for all ages and everyone and anything you can humanly paddle have their own time in the ocean without and pressure. Instead these participants were geared up to paddle just 3 miles from Paia Bay to Kanaha Beach State Park. The start and pre event area was kindly hosted by the Paia Youth and Cultural Center where their kids have been training hard all year round for this special day. ( SEE SPECIAL PHOTO ABLBUM BELOW )
The brightly colored yellow OluKai flags were flying in the courtyard as we were graced with blue skies and touch of small swell to make it extra exciting. The winds were very calm, not the normal venue for the famous North shore of Maui. It was a welcomed site as young ones ( as young as 5 ) and on up prepared for their ocean journey.
A map of the course was displayed highlighting anchored buoys to begin and continue safely to the finish. As the paddlers arrived and unloaded their boards, the helpful OluKai crew greeted and checked everyone in. Soon there was a sea of yellow jerseys about the courtyard and beach.
Matthew Murasko, OluKai’s Hawaii Ambassador and event organizer, welcomed the crowd and presented the morning’s venue. To start the morning he introduced Bermuda born reggae artist, Mishka who’s soothing, acoustic sounds and voice wowed the audience singing a great song called “Ocean is My Potion”. What a great way to get into the island and Aloha spirit!
Next up was me warming up the crowd with our traditional pre paddle workout. This is our way to help people relax, get their blood flowing. build their confidence and literally pump them up! As you can see from the photos that’s exactly what I did. These participants were cheering themselves on loudly, helping me count out the reps and showing a great display of strength and might. My traditional “warrior” move opened their lungs and gave them a chance to fully express their water warrior power.
Then is was time to head to the beach. For some paddlers, this was their very first Maui N. shore adventure which can be quite intimidating for many. The boards and kayaks and a few canoes were lined up on the beach. The beautiful OluKai sailing canoe, the Kamakani Eleu was also going to take a few lucky people on the 3 mile course.
When the yellow helicopter appeared out of no where surprising everyone on the beach, the excitement level rose to an all time high! It was so cool to see it pan the beach and see everyone waving their arms up at the photographers. The kids went wild as you can imagine and they must have felt like real racers.
There were many qualified volunteers ready to help everyone and anyone off the beach and into the small shore break. The adrenaline was pumping, the safety jet skis poised to escort and sweep, and cameras rolling. The OluKai flagged was waived then the buzzer from the helicopter sounded loud, I mean really loud. And off the they went. It was a sight to behold! I felt like a proud peacock to see many of my clients who have trained for this event all year make their way with confidence and strength through the break and up to their feet!
Local Kihei resident, Bo Forster wrties: “Looking down the beach at the sea of yellow Olukai shirts then out at the calm ocean gave me a huge rush of adrenaline and excitement to sprint into the water for my first 3-mile fun paddle. I felt confident in my training and physical endurance thanks to my trainer, Suzie Cooney. When the Olukai flag waved and everyone ran into the water, hopped on their boards and started paddling, I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face! As someone who had never paddled the north shore, I felt supported throughout the event, which gave me the confidence to paddle hard and finish strong! I had an amazing experience at the fun paddle and I am looking forward to entering the Moliko run next year!”
Typical course conditions are light to stronger trades usually about 10-20mph, however this morning was calm with a slight breeze which made for a slower but mellow paddle. The first paddler in was Amanda Emmes who lives in Haiku, but originally from NYC. She shared with me she was so excited and was using this paddle to test herself to prepare for the 8 mile paddle out of Maliko next year. ( Amanda is in photo above in Teal hat )
Amanda paddled so fast she actually beat the OluKai crew before they drove there! You’re amazing Amanda. Amanda writes, “I had such a great time at the Olukai FUN Paddle! It was such a great experience.”
Most folks made it down in roughly 45 minutes some took awhile longer. Everyone made it to the lifeguard tower and were super stoked. Good job everyone! Who is ready for the next step, Maliko gulch race?
I encourage anyone who has the desire to participate and experience Maui’s infamous N. shore but are a little intimidated to do this course next year. The community-ship of all kinds of paddlers is so supportive and contagious. Once you get a taste of being in the water on Maui and with all of the activities that the Ho’olaule’a offers, start planning your trip for next year. Stay tuned here for more details.
It’s such an honor to be a part of this event each year and it’s a pleasure to meet so many fine people that come out and support, volunteer and participate. Make your Maui dream come true and put this event high on your list.
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Spokesperson for OluKai Fun Paddle Division
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
Sponsored SUP Athlete
Downwind Stand Up Paddling Requires A Big Heart
Aloha and welcome to the world of downwind stand up paddling. I know you are hooked on this insanely fun, adrenaline elevator element of SUP; if you are reading this article. I’ve written about this a little before some time ago, but thought I’d bring it back again in greater detail as we approach this downwind season.
In this post I’ll touch upon the importance of increasing your lung capacity to increase your endurance and paddling capacity specifically for downwind paddling. I will also give you some cardio training tips, exercises and a special workout to help you structure your water time and gym time, so you can go the distance, get better results and have more fun.
Note: This will not be an intensely geeky, cardio technical wordy article as it could be, (no offense to those who love that) because my message here is for you to be much more aware of your cardio capacity or lack of, relating to downwind stand up paddling skills. I do refer to heart rate monitor, AT, recovery but I didn’t want to scare you away.
Maximum Heart = Maximum Glides = Maximum Fun!
Like many of us who live on or frequent Maui, we know for a fact we are some of the most spoiled paddlers in the world. We have on our N. shore a conveyer belt of downwind action, called Maliko. Flat-water padding? What? “We don’t do that” is what I often hear. Those words, “flat-water” I’ll admit, I too am guilty of never wanting to enter flat-water paddle races because I’m sure I’d suck wind. Honestly, I’d just rather surf it.
Besides Maui, paddlers are discovering other amazing places to downwind paddle like Lake Bohinj in Slovenia, or I know my Aussie friends love Snapper Rocks to Currumbin Alley and Broken Head to Ballina, or the Northern waters of Seattle, and on down to the Gorge in Hood River, Oregon.
Downwind stand up paddling has become it’s own unique element of the sport that offers fun and racing, allowing the adrenaline junkies like myself and those who love the surf; to have an “all in one” adventure. It simply doesn’t get any better.
Some surfing experience does help and will allow you to save your energy and cardio capacity for faster paddling. So if downwind paddling in high winds is your goal or dream and you want to be better at it, learn some footwork and go surfing.
The coolest thing about catching a bump or glide is that you just go. For example, once you catch a bump or glide which can require you to spend quick, intense bouts of cardio to paddle like hell to catch it, then you step back as your nose enters the trough and enjoy the scenery. But it doesn’t end there nor should your cardio effort.
However, when it comes to downwind paddling or racing, not all waters or racecourses or crossings are the same. You’ll find that not always will the wind cooperate in your favor forcing you to paddle on one side or head on or in many directions; every other direction except at your back. Or the tides can act as a mean backwash that makes you feel like your paddling in mud. That’s when you quickly discover you may need some extra, extra heart, and I don’t mean courage.
First, I always tell my clients to train on land and to train on the water; to push to the point where you get uncomfortable and stay there for one more minute, then two, then five and so on. Puking is not the goal, but not puking is. Make sense? Bottom line, the old training saying is true, “you gotta get comfortable being uncomfortable”.
If you’ve never heard of the term bonking, it’s a common term used in the endurance athlete world, which simply means hitting the wall. Your body and everything inside it is done, toast, depleted and it can even happen to the best. It’s not a pretty site.
So real quick, take note: The science or physiological meaning of “hitting the wall” is best described by Wikipedia is:
“In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. The condition can usually be avoided by ensuring that glycogen levels are high when the exercise begins, maintaining glucose levels during exercise by eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich substances, or by reducing exercise intensity.”
Let’s now refer to the exiting Maliko gulch, for example. When you first attempt it and paddle out for your first run, “standing” for those who have little to no cardio training, that’s what get’s most right at the start. For the most part your first ten minutes or more (no warm up); you’re paddling up wind and side wind against side current and wind swell just to get out so you can turn down.
Some of you may reach your anaerobic threshold or AT which is NOT how you want to start your downwind run! (refer to definitions at the end of this article )
Granted you’re nervous, your adrenaline is turned on high and you may be tasting your breakfast, but this is the golden moment where your regular cardio training, increased heart and lung capacity will really help you and pay off. My heart rate rises but I’m able to control it as this is a perfect moment to get my head clear and start paying attention to my breath and rhythm as I get ready for the action.
Down we go!
A great tip I got once from Michi Schweiger of Naish one day on a training paddle, is he told me to stroke hard and fast twice then step back two steps and surf. Again, paddle hard twice, step back glide, paddle hard repeat all the way. He is very strong and has great footwork. He also has a fierce mind set with great lung capacity and is well trained. Sometimes I refer to it as the 2 and 2 or 2-3 and 2.
I do this now, but sometimes it’s like 2-3 strokes as I’m looking for the next bump. So let’s break down those first two strokes. They should be very powerful, digging, fast strokes. Anyone knows that paddling with Michi you better keep up because as he always says. “you can do betta” in his deep Austrian accent.
Right here is when you need a big lung capacity check.
First note as your paddling, be mindful of your breath. Is your heart pounding out of your chest wall, do we call 911? Or is it a nice smooth, trained, nicely elevated rhythm? Can you maintain this for 5, 8 or 15 miles?
Continue reading Downwind Stand Up Paddling Requires A Big Heart
April 12 OluKai “Practice” and Training Paddle with Suzie Cooney and Archie Kalpea
Maui, Hawaii: April 12th 2014
OluKai, Archie Kalepa and Suzie Cooney host A Free
3 Mile Paia to Kanaha “Practice” Fun Paddle or
8 mile Maliko to Kanaha “Training” Paddle
in preparation for The 6th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a
Registration after party at Adventure Sports Maui
in Kahului from 4pm to 6pm
It’s that time of year again to get your stand up paddle board and if you’ve ever dreamed of doing your first downwinder with a hundred other first timers or downwind beginners, come out and join us! Now you can experience Maui’s epic North shore with an experienced safety crew to guide you. Experience what it’s like and prepare for the May 10th real OluKai ?Ohana Fun paddle.
3 MILE “PRACTICE” FUN PADDLE WITH SUZIE COONEY
DATE: Saturday, April 12, 2014
BEGIN PADDLE: 28 Hana Hwy at Paia Youth Cultural and Youth Center
END PADDLE: Kanaha Beach Park Lifeguard Tower
ARRIVE TIME: 8:00am (please arrive by 8:00am to sign in and for course review and safety meeting by Archie Kalepa)
PADDLE START TIME: 9:00am group start
We suggest paddlers carpool and pre-arrange transportation after the paddle so you can retrieve your car from the Paia Youth and Cultural Center. You will need to provide your own board or gear to paddle.
8 MILE MALIKO “TRAINING” PADDLE WITH ARCHIE KALEPA:
Three miles not enough of a challenge, maybe you are ready for the 8 mile Maliko to Kanaha Beach Park… who better to guide you than 31 year Maui County Lifeguard veteran, 2013 Duke Kahanamoku Waterman Hall of Fame Inductee and first person to Stand up Paddle the Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race, Archie Kalepa.
DATE: Saturday, April 12, 2014
BEGIN PADDLE: Maliko Bay, Maui-Hawaii
END PADDLE: Kanaha Beach Park Lifeguard Tower
ARRIVE TIME: 1:15 to 1:30pm at Maliko
PADDLE START TIME: 1:45pm Archie will lead group out of Maliko Bay
April 12 Registration party at Adventure Sports Maui in Kahului from
4pm to 6pm. Enjoy complimentary pupus and drink and a chance to Win OluKai!
Join OluKai and Adventure Sports Maui for a Ho’olaule’a pre registration sign up party. Talk story with fellow paddlers, check out the new OluKai product and the selection of SUP boards, paddles and water sports products offered at Adventure Sports Maui. Paddlers will have a chance to win a new Stand Up Paddle and two pair of OluKai. Drawing will be held at 6pm on April 12.
MOORE WATERTIME SUP SHUTTLE FOR EVENT: You may enjoy the luxury of being shuttled to each event so you don’t have to worry about two cars. Space is limited, so reserve now. For 3 mile course, pick up time ( meaning ready to load and go); is 7:30am at Lower Kanaha Beach Park. For 8 mile course, pick up time is 12:15pm, same location. For reservations click here.
To register for the OluKai Ho’olaule’a Fun Paddle or 8 mile Maliko SUP or OC1-2 downwinder on May 10-11, 2014 click on the below link.
See you there,
Register Now for the 6th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a SUP & OC1 Maui, Hawaii
May 10-11th, 2014
Click here for all the details and to register.
This is THE downwind race of the year that celebrates the ocean that we live and play in and shares the Hawaiian culture with an amazing luau, Hawaiian games, canoe rides and entertainment. Some of the best athletes from around the world will converge to compete on 8 miles of open ocean known Maliko; surfing and catching monster glides. All levels are welcome and be sure to check out the Fun Paddle which offers a friendly and fun 3 mile paddle for anything you can paddle!
Highlights from 2012:
And here was last year’s event:
Aloha and see you there!
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
Spokesperson for Olukai
By Suzie Cooney
Life and you are trending! New beginnings and looking down the line of life begin here. Lean back, enjoy the ride into the New Year as great adventures await you. This is the happiest place for me to be as no wave or ride is ever the same. Release yourself from fear, don’t try, do and always treat others as you would want to be treated. Mahalo for your friendship and support! IMUA
Keep it simple and be real and do what you love the most. Everything else will work itself out. Trust me.
Stay tuned for more to come and see you on the water.
I can’t wait to hear from you and learn what you’re up to in the New Year. Please leave your comments and thoughts as to what’s important to you! You all rock!