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?
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.
Register Now for the 6th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a SUP & OC1 Maui, Hawaii
May 10-11th, 2014 Click herefor 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
Ocean Paddler TV broadcasts the 5th Annual OluKai 2013 Ho’olaule’a on National TV, this video is also featured on Hawaiian Airlines in-flight starting in July for 4 months. Check out the link for the video : https://vimeo.com/69559634
It was very cool to host the Fun Paddle Division. You can watch all the highlights and all the exciting action here.
This event welcomes everyone from around the world. Please share and enjoy.
Please check back here for next year’s event.
Sign up for our newsletter to get all the action and news for the 2014 OluKai Ho’olaule’a.
It’s my sincere pleasure to introduce you to one of my new clients and new inspirations to Maui’s stand up paddle scene, Sasha Kinloch. Like many who enter the sport they discover that it’s amazing way to achieve a superior level of fitness, it’s a great cross training tool, or like Sasha they learn that this could be their newest healthy obsession!
I believe all of my clients are unique and often teach me more than I offer them. Sasha is an interesting blend of high energy, intense focus and has a way of visualizing exactly what her goals are. For a trainer, that makes my job easy!
Her base of fitness is already on the higher side which can only help her achieve her goals faster and with greater success. She wants to compete in all of Maui’s races, which are mostly downwinders. Her first race was the recent OluKai Ho’olaule’a. I didn’t get to meet her until the event, and learned that that day was her first time down Maliko! What a day that was for everyone. And here we are.
When I meet a person like Sasha and I see that fire in her eyes, I feel the need to pull the reigns in ever so gently to be sure she will enjoy every step of the way and not rush the “process” of putting her time in on the water. Nothing can compare to pure paddling time, getting worked and tumbled now and then, as the time spent on the water is the real training ground. People often ask me how many miles they need to run or cycle to equal number of miles on the water for distance or catching bumps or glides, and I simply say, “just time on the water.” There really is no way to measure that.
I asked Sasha a few questions as to why she’s taken with the sport of SUP and I hope it will inspire you to set new goals or maybe enter your first local race.
With only five days until the OluKai 5th Annual Ho’olaule’a SUP & OC1 race approaching this weekend, the weather forecast is soon to be taking shape! The normal trades are predicted to return as competitors will be competing for a purse of $15,000. We’ve had an unusual spell of Kona breezes that look like they’ll be on their way out!
Here’s a peek at the forecast for May 11th & May 12th:
Register now or day of event. For more information click here.
The Biggest Downwind Event & Race in the World: MAY 11 -12TH, 2013
The 5th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a
REGISTER NOW HERE! Sign up before May 4th and receive a free pair of premium OluKai sandals.
Ho’olaule’a – literally, it means “celebration”, but for us, it’s also an expression of gratitude. Each May, we hold our interpretation of this storied Hawaiian tradition on Maui’s north shore. The event blends elite competition with family-friendly cultural activities and gathers some of the world’s best SUP, OC1 & OC2 paddlers to race the legendary 8-mile Maliko downwind run. Friends and families come together to enjoy canoe sailing and surfing, ancient Hawaiian games, traditional luau, hula, and live music. We take this opportunity to recognize and honor our ‘Ohana Giveback partners, as the community shares collective gifts of time, energy, and spirit.
I hope to see you there!
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui
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MAUI: FREE Three Mile Stand Up Paddle Downwind Practice Paddle in Preparation for the
5th Annual Olukai Ho’olaule’a Fun Paddle
Sunday April 21st, 2013 9:00am
It’s that time of year again to get your stand up paddle board, canoe, kayak, Oc1, prone 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 11th, 2013 real Fun Paddle. Or, maybe you’ll be brave or are ready for the longer distance of 8 miles from Maliko to Kanaha Beach Park.
There is NO registration required for this practice paddle. All levels of paddlers are welcome. Recommended board length is 10 ft or longer. You are responsible for board and transportation to and back to your car from initial starting point, the Paia Youth &Cultural Center. Please do not contact PYCC for details. Contact Matthew Murasko 808-214-4349 or Suzie Cooney 808-283-2121. You may also email me through this website.
It is highly recommended you have stand up paddling experience. If you are unsure you can contact me. There is no shame in being on your knees should you feel more comfortable.
DATE: SUNDAY, APRIL 21ST 2013
TIME: 9:00am Please arrive by 8:15 to sign safety waiver, unload board and prepare for skippers meeting at 8:45
WHERE: Paia, Maui Paia Youth & Cultural Center ( see map below )
FINSIH: Kanaha Beach Park First paddler in, usually 30-45 minutes, beginner novice 45 min + Weather dependent. Course length 3 miles.
What to bring: Board, leash, paddle, rash guard for sun protection, sunscreen, courage and enthusiasm!
Maui, Hawaii (PRWEB) August 24, 2012 PLEASE NOTE:We’ve Added One More Hour 1-4pm…
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT
Stand Up Paddle Pro Talk with Suzie Cooney at Lumeria Maui November 3, 2012
Join Suzie Cooney owner of Suzie Trains Maui, Naish SUP Team Rider and guru SUP Fitness Training Expert for an informative “hands on” workshop and up your SUP performance. All levels of paddlers welcome.
Suzie Cooney, CPT owner of Suzie Trains Maui & Naish SUP Team Rider “Stand up paddling provides amazing health benefits and will change your life. Hop aboard and discover the sport that is globally growing in every community and on every body of water.”
Maui is the perfect location for this unique venue as it is a popular destination where stand up paddling, also referred to as SUP, allows for people to enjoy and experience the fastest growing water sport in the world. People from all over, all ages and any level of fitness travel to Maui where the waves are plenty, with big open ocean swells and warm tropical waters that offer amazing paddling adventures.
Discover the health benefits of stand up paddling and learn new fitness training techniques designed specifically to increase your performance.
The workshop topics will include:
Preparing Your Body for the sport of Stand Up Paddling
Ocean Preparedness & Water Safety
Preparing for the famous Maui Maliko Downwinders
Equipment and Gear Review: Boards provided by Naish International
SUP Techniques – Fine Tuning Your Skills – Finding your “power” in your stroke
SUP Fitness Training Demos and Group Participation
Meet new padding friends and join the fun. Giveaways and Drawings for those who attend.
Supporting sponsors: Naish International, lndoBoard Balance Trainer, Kaenon Polarized Eyewear & PocketFuel Naturals
Cost: $20 per person Prepaid reservations required. No refunds.
A portion of your registration fee supports Bring Change 2Mind.org, an organization working to eradicate the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Additional donations are glady accepted.
Downwinder with Peter coming into Camp One photo by Harry Wiewel
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.
Peter training with TRX Rip Trainer
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.
Peter Davies Reflecting on his first Maui Downwinder: Stoked!
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.”