People dream of coming to Maui for many things, but one thing for sure, Maui is THE place to experience the thrill of a north shore downwinder, also referred to as a “Maliko Run.” I have the pleasure of introducing people to SUP or help them advance their current levels with the ultimate goal of safely navigating their first downwind adventure.
Safety, strength and open ocean knowledge is my primary focus to allow for this amazing stand up paddling experience. With the popularity of the sport completely exploding, and with Maui being the hotbed of gear development, the home of incredible talent and of course year-round conditions that are so inviting, who wouldn’t want to come and train and paddle here.
In this article, I’m feature a cool cat all the way from the East Coast, Peter Davies. Peter found me through the web and in the past I’ve often given him tips via phone and email. His goal, get to Maui! Well, low and behold the call came and it was time to get the gear and studio ready!
The plan:get Peter paddling stronger, improve his technique, increase ocean knowledge and ultimately do some downwinders.
First stop, my studio. Here is where I can learn the most about someone’s state of mind, how their body performs first on land which helps me cue them more effectively on the water. If I get to know one’s personality, how they learn best and take direction this inevitably helps tremendously. I can determine how hard to push or when to hold back and offer maybe some encourage words of reassurance.
TIme in studio includes core review ( since your power comes from there ), balance and reaction training on the cool Indo Board Balance Training gear and also some TRX Rip Trainer dynamic paddling exercises to see where we are starting and what we need to do out on the water.
Peter was ready for anything and everything I would literally throw his way. Surrounded by Naish boards everywhere, paddles, cool action posters, trades blowing hard with the music cranked, I cracked the whip, all in preparation for the big day.
We couldn’t have asked for better conditions. The trades were blowing a nice, steady consistent ENE direction ( perfect ) at about 25mph+. The first test, was paddling in the harbor to see what he had, and wow, strong, focused and quick study. I could see this guy was determined to get it right. He was getting his groove, reaching like never before and putting together all the technical aspects into one smooth stroke.
Then off to Paia Bay for the downwind number one. This is a mini downwinder of 3 miles that offers a bit of everything. As we carried our boards to the water’s edge I offered some tips and absolute requirements to assure a successful journey. Peter was ready to rock it.
For someone who is very new to water sports in general, the ocean was a new playground and a new arena. Peter, a former professional squash player was used to pressure and intense action. I knew he’d do well and that he did. Coming into Camp One over the reef was an eye opener, but he handled it like a pro.
Our finish at Kanaha Beach Park was spectacular and a total rush for him and me as a coach and trainer. This to me is my biggest reward. I could tell he had a flush of adrenaline pumping through his veins and the look in his eyes read that he definitely, absolutely wanted more.
“My ultimate goal is to compete in the Maliko 8 mile race and as I am relatively new to water sports I was looking to work with a trainer that was not only familiar with local conditions but could also help me elevate my paddling skills to the next level and was not disappointed in hiring Suzie. She is both extremely knowledgeable and very personable, we worked in her studio where she designed a fitness program specific to my ongoing paddling needs and spent time on the water. I did two, 3 mile downwinders where we started at Paia Bay, paddled down past Spreks, then over the reef into Camp One and finished at the lifeguard tower at Kanaha beach.
It was an incredible experience that is hard to describe in words the thrill of catching bumps and glides but was also reassuring to know that Suzie was close by to help me safely navigate the swells. Once you have experienced a Maui downwinder you are spoiled forever and when I return I cannot imagine not hiring Suzie to help me continue improving my paddling skills in the ocean.”
Peter, next stop, Maliko to Harbor, ten miles of putting together all that you’ve learned and more. It was delight to have you on Maui and see you in action. Hopefully we can get your entire family out here and join the fun.
If you’d like to come train and paddle with me here on Maui, please be sure to book in advance. You can contact me through this website.
Also be sure to check out my articles I’ve written for Naish on SUP Fitness here.
I hope this article and Peter inspires you. The board I ride for Maui downwinders is the Naish 14ft Glide. Check out my review here.
Check out all of Naish’s SUP boards by click on logo below:
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Aloha Suzie Cooney, CPT Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
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