Contest: How has the sport of stand up paddling changed your life and what are you doing now to help others discover the sport you love?
Leisl and Suzie
Guys and gals, can you best describe in 200 words or less, how the sport of SUP has been life changing for you and what are the current health benefits that you may have discovered and how are you personally helping others share your knowledge and love for the sport?
I will review up to 75 entries and the contest begins today. All entries can be submitted to email@example.com by April 15th. I will personally read each entry and pick the winner. You may send me a photo of yourself paddling. Just one please. I will share entries on my Suzie Trains Maui face book page: http://www.facebook.com/suzietrainsmaui and announce the winner via Facebook. Have your friends vote or like the comment
You will be eligible to win a private 1.5 hour SUP lesson with me, ( Value $125 ) Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui and Naish Team Rider. Board and other goodies provided. This is not transferable. Must redeem prize within 6 months of win date.
Share with the world how SUP has rocked your world and made you healthier and excited to share SUP with everyone you know!
Follow us on Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/suzietrainsmaui
Aloha and can’t wait to paddle with one lucky winner!
March 26th, 2011 MAUI! STAND UP for Health & Fitness with Suzie Cooneyof Suzie Trains Maui. F R E E! Guys and gals, train on the beach with me, then we hit the water for some SUP water training, strength training, relay fun, and fine tune your paddling techniques.CLINIC IS NOW FULL.We are still taking info should a cancellation arise.
All levels of fitness and paddling welcome! Meet new paddling friends.
Learn to paddle efficiently, gain better control of your board and glide more smoothly. Enjoy the healthy benefits SUP has to offer and learn from a professional. Learn a few training tips to help build better body and paddling endurance. Check out this SUP exercise tip written exclusively for Naish International: http://www.naishsurfing.com/sup-fitness/
Space is limited! To reserve your space and inquire: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 808-283-2121. You must provide your own board or you can rent from the Maui Naish Pro Center 808-871-1500. This class is for beginners and intermediate paddlers and is 1.5 hours.
A Four Star Stand Up Paddling Adventure at the Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica
by Suzie Cooney January 2011
Exploring by SUP in Costa Rica
One of many gorgeous sunsets!
I’m fortunate to live in a paradise called Maui, however after recently returning from a new found paradise in Southern Costa Rica, I can now appreciate my new discovery of one of the most beautiful, friendly, places on earth. Warm water, waves and beautiful accommodations is what I discovered. (see all photos below in slideshows)
I was kindly invited by Gregg Mufson, the owner of the Zancudo Lodge; to experience what I can easily say was a first class, four star adventure. Our mission was to scout out the waters, meet the gracious staff and survey the grounds for my SUP stand up paddling clinic he is hosting this April 2011.
On New Year’s day, my arrival to the city of San Jose, Costa Rica I encountered a very smooth transfer from the helpful driver at the airport to the exquisite Intercontinental Hotel with a comfortable suite. The next morning, after a delicious breakfast buffet, the same driver appeared on time in the lobby ready to take me to local airport where again they welcomed me by first name. Off I went on the modern SANSA plane to Golfito where I would then be greeted by another driver to the boat, which would take me on an exciting ride to the lodge.
plane ride to town of Golfito
The short plane ride down to the lodge was amazing. Below you could see the gorgeous Dulce coast and the dense jungles with many farms that were scattered throughout.
The plane touched down easily on a small strip and the airport itself had so much character and flavor with, once again my driver looking for me before I could grab my bags! The colorful town of Golfito reminded me of mine, Paia in Maui. Although we only have one stop light, they have none. The population is roughly 450 people with quaint shops and restaurants and smiles everywhere. My driver spoke very good English so that was helpful to me, since my espanol could have used some practice.
Like clockwork, as I was comfortably waiting at the marina, along came one of the 15 boats from the Zancudo Lodge. The captain welcomed me, grabbed my bags and off we went down the waterways to the lodge. The air was warm and the jungles we passed very thick and I wondered what or who lived in them. On occasion I’d see a gorgeous private bungalow too.
Gregg himself was at the dock and helped me to land. All of his boats were lined up to serve and accommodate us for our private SUP adventures. I was very impressed! My bags were taken for me and I was escorted to the main hall and delighted with a fabulous lunch. The staff made me feel right at home.
My 600 square foot private bungalow was fabulous. I opened the door and thought I had entered the Four Seasons or a modern W hotel. Gregg’s wife, Goldine Wang has impeccable taste and appointed the room just perfectly. This stand alone suite I was in, also called the Junior Suite was gorgeous. It had rare purpleheart hard wood floors, open ceilings with bright light, air conditioning, a very comfortable king size bed, complementary WIFI, flat screen TV, safe deposit box, beautiful bamboo linens and of course a cozy robe and personal slippers. It also had a private sitting terrace. (more photos below)
In the main part of the lodge, the other 12 rooms were appointed in a similar fashion, 350 square feet but had two plush full beds and are just steps away from the main dining hall and bar, adjacent to the inviting pool with teak, comfortable, padded chase lounges.
One can also reserve the impressive Master Suite which is beach front, 1200 square feet, inlcudes a home theatre, separate bedroom and large living space with an outdoor terrace, perfect to enjoy the sunsets.
Although I had a bit of jet lag, Gregg was very eager to get us on the water and paddling! I needed the rest of the day to adjust and enjoyed walking on the beach right in front of the lodge that seemed to extend for miles. The water is warm and it’s great for shell hunting.
The weekend I arrived, New Years, is a busy holiday for the local Ticos. The beach was lively and full of warm and friendly waves and smiles.
One can walk for miles in front of the lodge
Gregg said that tomorrow, it would be dead and very quiet. He was right. The beaches were empty and it was great to stroll as the only one on the beach.
My dinner the first night was outstanding. As a treat, Gregg had a visiting chef named Stephan who prepared us a special shrimp appetizer skewered on sugar cane with a light, tasty lime drizzle. Wow! To follow, a lovely plate of fresh vegetables harvested from the property, fresh dorado caught that day and a side salad.
Finally, the next day our first SUP exploration out in the Bay. Gregg is a stickler for being on time and ready to go, and I appreciate that. Boards, paddles and cooler were loaded already on the boat and at 7am we left the harbor! On the boat, an impressive, powerful 32 footer, Wilson, the first mate and captain Tito were so friendly and really knew these waters. The ride was exiting and sure enough, as planned a nice mellow swell just south of the lodge. We have a code not to share the name of breaks for fear it will be over populated. Trust me, it was awesome. You’ll just have to go and ride it for yourself.
We anchored the boat and paddled to the break that was peeling left all day long. Consistent, nice A shaped, and wow, talk about long rides!?!? Crazy! With only 4 of us on the break, you could easily get in 20+ rides or more if you could handle it. Gregg and Sean were showing me the way pointing out the best sweet spot and where the sand bar began.
These are very helpful tips when arriving to a new spot. Second time SUP rookie, Sloan, a fisherman from New York was handling his board really well. Gregg was just a paddling machine and we had a hard time pulling him off the waves when it was time to go.
Although it was only 9 AM, it felt like 1 or 3pm, for we are much closer to the equator. I was sure to lather up some heavy duty sunscreen. If you needed, you could paddle back to the boat, grab a drink and head back out. What service!
Still recovering from a bit of jet lag, I rode all the waves I need to be absolutely convinced that I did not want to leave this place and explore more waves and other water adventures. Di and Yvonne were also charging. At times when I looked over at them, I thought to myself, “wow here comes a decent set and there they were, still paddling and smiling big.” They were stoked!
Back to the lodge, cooling down after an excellent session with new friends, lunch was already being prepared. The menu is fabulous for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have to say, although as a trainer, their French fries and special BLT sandwiches were delicious. Topped off with a nice cool drink, I was ready for a siesta in one of the hammocks that are perfectly strung under to gorgeous palms with views to die for.
Time seems to stand still there and although this was a semi-working trip I felt pretty relaxed. Often, before dinner, some would grab a volleyball game. Just before dinner is served is when the paddlers and the other guests tend to gather in the main lodge hall. We were treated fresh lime ceviche and I have to admit a nice cold Imperial or my favorite, Corona beer went well!
All the people I met staying at the lodge were friendly and eager to be social. I met nice folks from all over escaping the cold East coast storms. I, of course encouraged everyone to try stand up paddling. Some raised an eyebrow very curious and others actually signed up with the instructor the next day.
When the rest of my crew, Yvonne and Di of Laster Heathman Media, arrived we planned a fitness afternoon with Gregg and the other guest for and INDO Board demo day. Luckily Marvin Ortiz, professional photographer was on hand to capture some of the laughter and everyone hanging ten on this new training gear that all the trainers will use for the SUP clinics scheduled in April. Yvonee, Di, Gregg, Sloan and Elie were rock stars!
I think one of the most memorable days was paddling to the wild animal sanctuary and along the way I, DI and Yvonne I think were spotted first by these darling red Spider monkeys, curiously swinging from tree top to tree top. I thought to myself, “WOW” this alone was worth the 16 hour plane ride. The waters along the jungle were a beautiful turquoise blue and green. I could see lots of sea life below, including star fish and other brightly colored fish.
We left the boards with the captain, and hopped off the boat and soon began a guided tour through the jungle. Marvin was our chaperone. We were told not to wear watches, earrings or especially sunglasses, for the monkeys are quick and will steal them off you in a moment and head up a tree. Most glasses we were told do not survive.
This particular wild nature preserve also rescues injured birds and other creatures of the jungle. We learned a great deal about toucans and other exotic animals. The tour itself lasts about 2 hours, but we had to rush back to the lodge for a live radio show broadcast to SUP radio to tell the world about this magical place to stand up paddle.
We had had a full day. Nearing the end our fun filled week, tonight before dinner, Gregg offered to be my partner and teach me the game of bocce ball. He is quite the competitor and has a unique style all his own. Di as well, you could tell she was a very experienced player and a little competitive too!
This professional grade bocce ball court is very special. Gregg spared no expense when he personally had over 1500 pounds of crushed oyster shells imported all the way from Bellingham, Washington. He’s pretty serious and so were some of his other guests. I had a blast and learn quickly about back spin and bumping other balls. This was a great way to catch the most gorgeous sunsets of the day and work up an appetite before dinner. The warm tropical breezes were always present, and now and then a quick squall of rain would sneak through.
Suzie, Yvonne & Di
I miss my compadres, Di and Yvonne I was very sad to pack my bags and leave this special place. I thought Maui was the best for stand up paddling, well I’ve been proven wrong. What the Zancudo Lodge is offering to all levels of stand up paddlers, is an exceptional property and warm waters for everyone. Gregg’s qualified staff can help. He can arrange private rides to best breaks, or you can simply carry your board right from the lodge to the ocean. You are literally steps away. Should the wind pick up in the afternoon, the boat can take you out to see as far as you like for what are called down winders. I recommend this for the experienced ocean folks and experienced paddlers. I’m sure Gregg will want to join you!
Gregg and Goldine, thank you for an experience of a life time and I will be back in April. Your hospitality and ability to make everyone feel so welcome is evident as to why you are such a success. I am telling everyone I know to not only come this spring for the SUP clinics, but really make an effort to see what this lodge has to offer. Simply magnifico!
Women of all ages and all SUP levels, come join me here at the Zancudo Lodge and let’s have some fun paddling and getting in great shape. We will have other adventurous activities planned as well. Book your reservation now. Space is limited! Click here for more details.
INDO Board Demo Day at the Zancudo Lodge Costa Rica with Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui
January 5, 2011 – Reporting from the most beautiful SUP, surf and fishing spot in Southern Costa Rica, The Zancudo Lodge! Owner, Gregg Mufson is hanging ten on the INDO Board as he and the crew prepare for the surf rolling in this week. I’m here introducing the team on how The INDO Board is great workout for everyone, especially those entering SUP to advanced paddlers.
We have all the gear from INDO Board, including the new Gigante to challenge beginners to the hard core SUP’rs and surfer alike. Gregg, Yvonne, Sloan, Elle, and Di all participated in an afternoon of learning, laughs and some thigh-burning fun. I can tell their addicted and promised them, after this workout we’ll all be ready for any water action tomorrow!
We started the morning on a mellow, slower surface. Next we graduate to the beach to hard pack sand for some faster action and more fun. In such a short time, everyone got their groove on and was hang’n on the nose. I challenged them to an upper body challenge which Gregg, Di and Yvonne immediately worked up a small sweat with the plank and one leg lifted behind them, alternating at 5 – 10 second intervals. Below, Gregg is performing the advanced plank with one or both feet behind him, on a Gigante disc.
The Gigante disc is the newest platform training tool for INDO Board, that inflates up to 12 inches that achieves the 4-way action intended for those who want to enhance their SUP or surf performance. We placed both discs under Gregg’s surf board and what a ride. Inflate it more and hang on!
It’s my favorite piece of equipment in my studio at home. I also use it for clients just recovering from major hip or knee surgery as a rehab element. Today we’ve kept the inflation to 6 inches as my willing participants start their training.
Then down to what I call the core bug. This move is in the prone position requiring glutes and the upper scapular region of the shoulder blades to work in unison as we seek the most stable position. I recommend keeping the head in a neutral position. I also suggest to keep breathing smoothly and hold the position for 15 – 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat 5 times.
In addition to this great core exercise, by placing the INDO Board board directly on top the Gigante, together we performed leg burning same side lunges, for a count of 5-10 each leg.
Gigante sitting came last where Yvonne, Di and Elle gracefully sat on top of the Gigante as feet and hands stayed off the ground lending to an extreme, deep core constant, contraction! Well done girls.
You can tell we’re having too much fun. I can’t wait for this spring when I host mySTAND UP ForWomen’s Health and Fitness in April, here at the lovely Zancudo Lodge ! All the gear is here and so is the fun. For more information go to: http:www.suzietrainsmaui.com/events. This lodge is like staying at the Four Seasons. From warm waves to a cozy robe in your room, excellent food and gracioius staff, to healthy, to amazing food prepared fresh everyday.
Thank you Chip and Hunter at INDO Board, for sending these boards and discs over. Gregg and the others are on their way to be SUP stars. Also a big gracias to Gregg and the Zancudo Lodge for hosting us and the SUP clinics with the other trainers this spring!
by Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui / Athleta for ATHLETA
Aloha Athleta Chi readers returning and new. If you’ve followed me this year, you’ve noticed that yes, I am a huge fan and contributor to the sport of stand up paddling (SUP). My mission is to share what the sport can do for your mind and body. (See Stand Up and Sweep Your Way To Better Health.)
Approaching the New Year, I know some of you are looking forward to learning new things and making new goals for yourself. A a fitness expert, I have goals of my own to achieve; great challenges big and small. Having had the opportunity to represent Athleta has allowed me to touch wonderful and amazing people, like you. Some of you have contacted me from around the world to share with me how I encouraged you, inspired you and how the community of Athleta has made a difference in your life!
Well, you have inspired me too. Getting to know you and your desires has made me a better person, a better fitness professional and has allowed me to expand my teachings and experiences on and off the water. Thank YOU!
To get you revved up to include SUP in your life next year, check out my short new rock’n video filmed here on the N. Shore of Maui. From the waves to the 10 mile long distance course, turn up the volume and get pumped to paddle!
If you are considering learning the sport of SUP, or for those of you who are getting into racing this year, I have a few special health tips to help you become a better paddler and make SUP a part of your fitness program next year and the years to come:
SAFETY FIRST: Learn all you can about water safety, weather conditions in your area, and if you’re taking lessons, be sure to learn from someone well qualified.
CORE STRENGTH: Power and strength is initiated from the core. Your core, which is everything excluding your extremities (hips, obliques, low back muscles, pelvic muscles, internal and external abdominal muscles), is getting a tremendous workout, as is all of the supporting, stabilizing muscles of your hips, knees and ankles. If your core is weak, you may fatigue more quickly or increase your risk of injury. One of my favorite core exercises is the simple Ball Bridge. See my Athleta article A Total Body Workout For Everyone with photos and instruction for the Ball Bridge.
UPPER BODY ENDURANCE: Your shoulders, upper and low back all work in unison with your core and your lower body to perform solid, smooth strokes. Whether you’re racing downwind or rounding a buoy or simply cruising on your local lake or bay, upper body endurance will get you through.
Make sure to incorporate extra core training and include a larger mixture of upper body endurance and resistance exercises. For example, I’ll take an 8 pound medicine ball, stand on a balance platform (such as the BOSU) with knees slightly bent, and mimic the paddling stroke you would use on your board. (Or see below.) Change up the weights — do one set with a 4 pound, 8 pound, then 10 pound medicine ball — about 15-20 alternating movements or strokes with each weight.
BALANCE TRAINING: Stand up paddling does demand upper and lower body strength as well as good balance and quick reactions. See my Athleta article The New Wave of Balance Training for a great balance workout. I recommend simple equipment, like a stability ball, resistance tubing and light weights, and an unstable training platform like my favorite piece of gear, the Gigante Disc made by INDO Board.
This disc inflates up to 12 inches for fast, four-way action. Or you can deflate it to slow it down. You can also use two discs with less air under a larger board. You may want to remove your fin(s) so you don’t damage the fin box.
Carefully mount up, look ahead and pretend you’re paddling. Use your toes, your ankles, knees, legs and hips to control the board. Shift your weight side to side and see how your body responds. Always look ahead.
To add even more fun and get a great upper arm and lower leg workout, add a 12 pound weighted body bar and practice your strokes. If you don’t have a weighted body bar, an 8-10 pound medicine ball works great too!
LEG TRAINING: If you’re starting to enter small to big waves leg training is very key. See my article Power Conditioning For Surfing, SUP and the Effects of Gravity. Lots of leg lunges and light to heavy plyometrics, depending upon your level of fitness, are the magic ingredient to charging small or big waves. SET REALISTIC, MEASURABLE GOALS: I suggest that you don’t make your New Year’s fitness goals too daunting. Start out simple and build from there. Make sure they are measurable. For example, try keeping a running or SUP journal. I’m keeping a SUP journal to see how many days a week/month I can get on the water for my off –season race training. This includes waves too!
STAY BALANCED: Extra sleep and a healthy diet are also on the top of my list this year. I need lots of energy, so that is how I approach food. I eat 90% for training and living, and 10% pleasure! I’m very strict about limiting sugar, alcohol and cannot get enough vegetables. Having a balance in my life this next year will help me be a better stand up paddler and allow me to do more for my training clients.
Ladies, if you’d like to come on a SUP adventure, now’s your chance to join me on a five-star SUP adventure April 10th -17th, 2011 in Costa Rica. Train with me daily and SUP while we enjoy the beautiful accommodations at the Zancudo Lodge. I welcome all levels of SUP and levels of fitness. We’ll train on the beach, then stand up and paddle together! Come have some fun, learn to SUP or improve your current skills, and have the time of your life! Space is limited, sobook now! Click here for more information »
My message and mantra is simple: “Live it, ride it and don’t close your eyes. Believe in yourself to go a little faster, harder and smile big!” Make SUP a part of your fitness goals in the New Year. It will change your life — this I promise!
Are you ready to basically free fall with a piece of fiberglass pushing back to you as the force of gravity is sucking you down? Sure, you’ve been paddling; you’ve got good core strength, but what about the legs? Will you still be standing, and do you have the power to recoil your body to pump for the speed you need into the next turn?
Gravity and surfing, water drag, board buoyancy and you, are all opposing forces that join you as you make your drop down the face of a small wave, or if you’re one of the few brave enough to step into the trough of JAWS. Being well- conditioned and strong, along with cat-like reactions can make you or break you.
Without getting too technical on the values of centripetal force, board speed, or if you’d like to learn what “C = gT/2LL” means, go to Leslie Brooks site and read more:
Back to the “physical” aspect of what I do and know, I wanted to ask an expert! I had the pleasure of talking with Dave Kalama , big wave surfer here on Maui on the subject that fascinates me; how the g –force effects of gravity as you drop down the face of a wave and how you need your body, especially your legs to hold your line as gravity is pulling you down. He helped described to me the importance of training for leg strength for exactly this.
He said, “When you’re surfing down the face of a wave all muscles need to be firing at once. The slow twitch and fast twitch muscles must both engage.” As a trainer, I get this. An example of slow twitch muscles that tend to be smaller in size, slower to fatigue and if we get scientific, increases oxygen delivery, vs. fast twitch, larger muscles and quicker to fatigue and basically are considered the power house muscles of your body.
Slow twitch muscles also include stabilizing muscles. Think of endurance, running a marathon, swimming laps vs. a power lifter will have fast twitch muscles to utilize for big bouts of serious lifting. Here I’m talking about quick, explosive reps, but only lasting a few seconds. For this, think of glutes and quads.
He agreed that most people spend a great deal of time on core and upper body training; but reemphasized the need to spend even more time increasing your leg strength.
For example, Dave does a minimum of 200 leg lunges, max 400 to 500 consecutive. Then a few sets of leg dips and some quick paced step and jump lunges followed by jump squats. Plus running up the sand hill backwards really warms him up. He trains a great deal in soft sand and is a firm believer that your toes, feet and ankles play a key role for board and rail control.
Dave explained it like this, “One can have board and rail control, but then you need to call upon power to take advantage of the control. Then there is board speed. To get speed, you need to take advantage of the control and power. You’ll need to have powerful legs to pump the board to increase your speed. It’s all connected.”
Dave says, “If I had to pick any part of the body I’d train for surfing, it’d be legs over upper body. If you have bird legs it won’t do you much good.”
This makes good sense to me. I’ve seen Dave do some serious training here on Maui and it’s very inspiring. He also added that cycling is key to add to your training routine to help increase your power on big days.
Adding leg work to your routine seems easy enough, but its how you make the exercises extra challenging that be the ticket. There are lots of variables or things you can do to get those legs pumped up to help increase board speed.
Traditional squats, leg press and extension machines are great, but also add some plyometrics to the mix. Plyometrics is a term to describe the type of training that is explosive for speed and power. For example, I think of dropping down a wave I think of “Drop Jumping”. This exercise requires you to drop to the ground from a box or raised platform then immediately jumping up. I’d recommend starting on a platform that is not too high at first. Start with a 2 foot (24 inch) sturdy box, or simply standing on the ground and doing what I call tuck jumps. You can change the “variable” by changing the speed of the movement. Also, jumping over and object like a bench, cones or a log at the beach or park:
Here are some basic explosive 2 legged hops. Remember soft landings, not flat footed. Use your body to propel you up:
Plyometric training can be worked into circuit training or can be as simple as skipping, hopping or bounding. Keep in mind this type of training is pretty intense and requires one to have a pretty decent base of leg strength, knee stabilization and hip stabilization, and no known orthopedic challenges.
I will line up 2 BOSUs in a row and have my clients use their own body’s inertia to hop up with two legs together as high as they can, land on the BOSU and then on to the next BOSU. To make it more interesting, I may fire an 8lb medicine ball at them to catch in mid air to test their reaction.
2 legged hops from Standing Position over bench, cone or other object: 10-12
Lateral or Forward 2 legged hop up to BOSU or across 10-12
Repeat 2-3 times. To increase intensity, reduce rest period, add more weight, increase drop box/bench height.
Or, take one of these exercises and work it into your regular training routines.
Pre Conditioning: As mentioned earlier, this type of training, requires a solid base of strength training, supportive athletic shoes and should be performed on padded surfaces such as grass or the beach, or in a padded area to absorb some of the shock.
Proper active or dynamic stretching should also be performed before your routine and of course the proper cool down to follow. I’d allow 2-3 days for recovery in-between a plyometric session.
To recap, surfing is the ultimate sport that demands so much of the body and if you want to be good, go deep and drive into the next turn, you better have the legs to do it. This type of training is also excellent for stand up paddling small and big waves!
Cycling, plyometrics, soft sand running, lots of lunges, weight training is a great way to be ready for the action.
Thanks again Dave for adding to the topic! I hope you found this helpful and informative. We’ve just touched upon the very simple aspects of leg training for surfing here. If you want more information or want to train with me personally, let’s do it!
I encourage to you to share your experiences, tips and big wave adventures with us. Also, to learn more about Dave Kalama go to: http://www.davidkalama.com/
Also stay tuned for my SUP/Fitness Adventure clinic in Costa Rica next year.
It’s been an amazing year! I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to meet so many fantastic women from around the world and on Maui, who joined me to share the sport of stand up paddling. My mission is to empower women and men, by introducing the sport of SUP into their lives, and make it a part of their fitness and health. This was my last clinic of eight since the “big event” at the Four Seasons this past January. What a delightful group of inspiring gals. We started the day at 6:45 am and after we reviewed board/paddle features, board safety, water safety and new techniques, it was time to warm up the muscles and body before we hit the water. A little active stretching, and a few light push ups and lunges, we were off on the warm waters of Maui! See photos below:
photo Simone Reddingius
With waterwoman, Deb Driscoll as my official assistant sweeper, it was a morning of fun and laughter and time to learn some new tricks. Some were off and gliding and perfecting their strokes, others were learning how to step turn or how to increase board speed. Then it was time do a few board exercises like push ups , squats and planks. The ultimate surprise challenge, a long distance lap around a parked boat. Jenney was leading the pack and others soon followed. The sprints around the buoys were exciting too. Some also took their new step turn skills and successfully made it around the Naish buoys with ease, focus and speed. This was a time of discovery for everyone.
During my recent vacation in Maui, I was fortune enough to participate in Suzie Cooney’s last Maui women’s SUP clinic of the year. What an awesome way to close out my last day of vacation! I enjoyed several hours with Suzie and other great ladies from Maui as well as Maui visitors, just like myself, learning more about the SUP sport and getting a great workout. We started a great sunny morning on the beach learning about the different board and paddle types and what to consider when purchasing equipment, covering safety tips, and then doing a quick stretch session. Then we all hit the water with Suzie to develop and apply our paddling skills. While on the water, Suzie and her “Sweeper” Deb, shadowed us to make sure we were applying proper technique. We were down on our boards in the water doing a few exercises to build strength and then back up on our boards to test our turning skills. We finished our water time with a long distance charge across the water. It was so exhilarating. Once I returned to the beach, I saw many smiling faces. Everyone was so excited about having such a great time. SUP is truly a fun and exhilarating sport. I first discovered it in Maui two years ago, and I have grown to love the sport and the versatility that it offers. It’s a sport that I have enjoyed with my friends and it has given me many great adventures across the water with my husband. I love the fact that you can leisurely tool around on the water and enjoy the beautiful shoreline vistas, or you can crank it up a notch to challenge yourself for speed and endurance, or enjoy the sheer exhilaration of catching a few waves if you like. Suzie, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of this wonderful sport with us and helping us become competent water woman so we can enjoy a fun and healthy life. Jenney V Morrisville, NC
Stephanie Brennan, First Timer:
I had such an amazing time at Suzie’s SUP clinic. It was my very first time ever on a SUP and the environment could not have been better for a beginner. I was surrounded by awesome, positive women all learning and having fun together. I simply enjoyed doing something new for the very first time. I charged it all day in the water after the clinic. Suzie gave me all the tools I needed to start my journey into the sport of SUP. I’m hooked!!!
Suzie, thank you so much! I had such a great time. It definitely goes down as one of my favorite days here on Maui! My boyfriend and I went to Puamana after and practiced in some little waves! What a blast, we had so much fun!! I really hope to get my own board soon, saving up the $$$!!
Thanks again!! Maybe I’ll see you at a race one of these days!
Women of all ages are discovering the thrill and strength that stand up paddling offers. You don’t have to be a “water” person to learn and enjoy SUP. It’s my greatest reward to see women AND men have health break throughs in life. This is a sport you can do solo or enjoy with the entire family and it is a lifestyle!
If you haven’t already I encourage you to try SUP, you’ll be glad you did!
Quick Reactions and Good Balance Can Make a Better Stand Up Paddler by Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui
Whether you surf the big waves of Maui’s North Shore or touring the beautiful channels and waterways of Jupiter, Florida, or on Lake Tahoe, it’s known that if you have good balance and can respond quickly to changing water conditions or obstacles that can come in your path; better chances for a more enjoyable SUP session.
Time and time again I’ve had to call upon some of the tiniest muscles, to fire fast and respond to get me out of trouble or to dodge a turtle on the same wave! I’ve also encountered large pieces of floating debris, strange breaking waves, or other people in my line that I had to have quick reaction times and good balance for recovery to get my footing back.
As a trainer and water sports enthusiast, I’ve always encouraged the importance of trying to mimic similar conditions in your workout program on land. You can keep it really simple or add some fun equipment too.
To me, balance training is like brain training. Without getting too technical, it’s like adding a few more wires to our brain or panels so you’re ready for anything. One technical term I will use is called neuromuscular training. The definition simply means selecting specific exercises that are very specific to increase one’s performance, and trigger the appropriate actions to allow your nervous system to operate and perform functionally at its maximal level.
Your eyes, core, and all of the muscles connected to your central nervous system have an important role to quickly gather information, route it to the right department and fire away. Ever had the feeling like you’re moving in slow motion while during a serious wipe out? I have. It’s the strangest feeling. I’m not sure I’m fond of it and I try really hard to have cat like reactions and excellent balance to avoid that.
Stand up paddling, as simple as it looks does in fact require a little balance when you’re beginning and as you advance. When you’re learning, you’re so busy turning the paddle in the right direction, looking at the horizon and more than likely, gripping the deck with every single muscle in your foot, leading to early fatigue.
Once you’re up and gliding there’s not much to it. But, as you step into your first wave or go down in the size of your board, you may discover you need a little better balance or to retrain your brain to learn again.
Next time you’re in the gym or in your own home gym, start practicing a couple balance techniques to keep your brain and muscles fine tuned.
These are advanced moves, so start out slowly and progress safely:
1. BOSU, dome side down with paddle, medicine ball or body bar:
I’ve actually taken a bit of sand paper to roughen up the plastic side of my BOSUs to aid in traction, or have sand on my feet! I recommend barefoot so you can really get the feel of the movements of the BOSU. Step on safely, feet parallel to the plug, posture nice and tall, relaxed looking ahead. Take your paddle, medicine ball or body bar and start to paddle 2 strokes each side. Switch off to mix it up. As you move your arms out and to the side, notice how sensitive the BOSU becomes. I like to try and go to fatigue or until my legs scream!
2. INDO Board on top of dome of BOSU: see photo up top
Place the INDO Board itself on top of the dome of the BOSU. I like to have a little less board off the back to I can really pretend I’m heading down the line. Or if you’re more comfortable to start, place the INDO board so it’s nicely balanced in the center. Change it up. You can place your feet side by side as if you’re cruising and do it that way, or if you’re charging some waves, assume the surf stance.
This time you’ll notice the added extra burn to your back carving leg at the same time looking ahead where you want to go, down the line.
Good balance for stand up paddling is key and important for many things we do in life. Next time you’re on the water, try paddling on one foot, or simply standing on one foot. In the gym, try kneeling on a stability ball for extra fun. Be sure to hang onto a sturdy object at first. Add more air to the stability ball to make it more challenging and fun.
Any questions about these exercises or to learn more, feel free to email me at Suzie@SuzieTrainsMaui.com or check out www.suzietrainsmaui.com and www.standuppaddlingfitness.com
Glide with good posture, react fast and paddle hard!
“ Kudos to Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui and Tommy Callan of Beach Boy Events for putting on a wonderful, free stand-up paddling event for women Jan. 9.
They pulled together an amazing array of sponsors and helping hands to put women out on the water, some of us for the first time on a stand-up paddle board. As one of those beginners, I felt very well cared for, even though on the day of this event – with some 300 women and their boards showing up on the beach in front of the Four Seasons Resort – there was a serious shore break.
In addition to putting on a great fitness-oriented program with a slew of prizes for participants, Suzie and Tommy seemed to have pulled in a significant portion of the stand-up community on Maui to help. I especially appreciated the “board caddies,” a bunch of very fit and helpful gentlemen, who helped us with our boards and got us safely in and out of that hairy shore break.
Although I spent a lot more time in the water and climbing back onto my board than I did standing up, I had a great time, and I hope the event raised lots of funds for the American Breast Cancer Foundation.”
Thank you Jill for your kind words and comments about the board caddies and all the volunteers, and especially the Four Seasons Resort Maui who contributed hugely to the day’s success and fun. We’re all so glad you attended and particiated in all the fun!
It was a joy to meet Susanne and learn of her journey to Maui for our special day. Her genuine, warm smile was contagious. As an experienced SUP paddler, she even brought her own board and her passion for the sport was quite obvious!
Her professional interests are in integrative and lifestyle medicine- specializing in chronic illnesses, allergies, environmental medicine, nutrition and detoxification.
I really appreciate her kind words that she wrote and I wanted to share the following:
“Hi Suzie and Tommy,
Suzie, as promised here is some of my thoughts about the fabulous event that you created with Tommy.
The first information I received about your Stand up for Women and Health event was from my newsletter from www.supsurfmag.com. It was only one month away but I was determined to register and find some flights from SoCal to Maui! The location of the event in Wailea was perfect even with the intense shore break and Four Seasons Resort gave their best support and hospitality. From the moment I got to the registration booth I knew that it would be a very special day for me and that I would feel it close to my heart.
Everyone listened and received the beautiful Hawaiian chant and prayer, safety information and happily joined in on the warm-up exercises by Suzie. I could feel that each one of us ladies were here for many different purposes. We were all from different ages groups, nationalities and athletic levels and were here to feel the love and joy for ourselves, women and well being. I was honored to be in this community of paddling waterwomen- we share and receive energy, vitality and strength from the water.
The board caddies and all the volunteers provided safe launches into the water through the big waves as well as getting back to the beach after the paddle. I entered the long paddle headed by Anne-Marie Reichman and with so many women on the water, I felt this sense of oneness with the beautiful waters of Wailea as well with my feminine side- my non-competitive and loving side. What topped the day was the magical humpback whales breaching during our paddle to Makena Beach and back. We must have seem over 20 breaches and each one was so divine!
After we got back to shore, I felt so alive and peaceful. The Exhibitors and vendors gave out tasty drinks, food and information about their products. And it was so much fun for us to receive the donated gifts! They were awesome! Next year, I want to win the grand prize-a brand new SUP board!
Thank you Suzie and Tommy for providing this gathering, not only for the love of the water and paddling but also to bring awareness to our beautiful bodies and health. Stand up paddling is one of the best ways to keep your heart open and body strong which is a great start to prevention of all illnesses including cancer. Please count me in for next year’s Stand Up for Women and Health, I will definitely make a commitment to join you every year.”