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.
What is the best health benefit you fill stand up paddling gives you? Sasha writes, “SUP provides a whole body workout combined with the intimate connection to the ocean that feeds my soul. I appreciate the way SUP has developed endurance in my arms, while at the same time engaging my core and legs. As a collegiate athlete I settled into running as an adult because it was an efficient way to stay in shape in the midst of a busy life. Now SUP has become my focus because of the total body workout it provides along with the dynamic ocean experience.”
What is it about the sport of SUP that draws you to it? Is the rush of the downwind glide? The freedom of exploring? The challenge of the sport itself? Sasha shares: ”I love the way that paddling changes daily with the temperament of the ocean, wind, and weather. The connection to sea life that SUP provides is unlike anything I’ve experienced. On any given morning I can be delighted with joining a pod of dolphins for a swim, slipping smoothly along with the mantas feeding below, or admiring a humpback mother and calf lounging in the open ocean.
What draws me to the sport of SUP is the unique camaraderie and community I observed firsthand during the Naish World Championships in Maui last year. As I watched the start at Maliko Gulch, I stood side by side with family members of competitors from all over the world. At the finish line I watched the first-place finishers complete the race and witnessed the crowd cheer, hours later, as the last few racers crossed the line. While the athletes were fiercely competitive, they laughed together, and celebrated the success of their peers. It was obvious these world-class competitors had developed deep friendships and mutual respect for one another. I wanted to earn a place in their ranks and at least be able to complete the race with them.”
If you had a message to inspire others to try a race or competition, what could you say you like about that aspect? Sasha: “What I love about the competitions is that as a novice, I paddle side-by-side (at the start anyway) with the best paddlers in the world. It is unique to this sport is that if I can be trained for a Maui downwinder, I can join the world-class elite in their competition. At the starting line I can paddle side-by-side with the best in the world…then watch them paddle away as I settle in for a couple hours of ocean adventure.”
In closing she also adds, “ I recently moved from the mainland and have been drawn to the ocean my whole life. Every morning when I get to the beach, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy the ocean. SUP has provided the perfect outlet for me to enjoy a comprehensive workout, and feed my craving for the connection to the ocean.”
I will continue to help Sasha where she needs me but for the most part, she’s putting in lots of water time. Her base of fitness really helps her get a kick start to the cardio aspect of the racing. We’re working on footwork transitions and I’m encouraging her to get as much time as possible to paddle surf small waves so she can transfer that to catching more bumps and glides. I’m training Sasha with the Indo Board Gigante Flo Cushion, combined with the Kicktail Pro and/or Rocker Board. You can order yours here. Any questions on what’s the best gear for you, feel free to email me through this website. I have also suggested she keep a paddling log that records time on the water, conditions that day, time, average HR and distance.
So, if you see this bright, cheery person out in the harbor going hard give an “Aloha” and welcome her to the club. We are all here to help each other . The ocean is our best teacher and after each session we graduate to the next level.
If you’re thinking of stepping up your SUP performance and you’re on Maui or planning to visit to increase your SUP performance, I’m available to help. I can offer you studio strengthening and/or water coaching. Please contact me well in advance.
This past Sunday, 90 eager stand up paddlers, that included one prone paddler, two kayaks and one OC1; journeyed 3 miles down Maui Hawaii’s famous North coast to experience a mini downwind and wave adventure, all in preparation for the wildly popular, non-competitive Fun Paddle Division of the 5th Annual OluKai Premium Footwear Ho’olaule’a. This SUP & OC1 race and event is the biggest downwind race in the world with equal gender prize money and includes an amazing line up of entertainment, luau dinner and Hawaiian culture games and sailing canoe rides. This event will be held May 11-12th, 2013. Click hereto register for the main event.
Sharina Husted from Wailuku, Hawaii writes: ”What a fun day! Great gang of people and an awesome event!! Thanks for giving back to our community and doing FREE events like this!! I’m hooked….next step…8 miles Olukai!”
This practice paddle is now a tradition and allows people of all ages and all levels, to build and gain their ocean confidence with water safety and proves to pull a large community of residents and international visitors. We always encourage people to come out and paddle anything humanly powered to join in on the fun. Normally Maui’s N. shore is known for high winds and wave swells, but today was unusually calm that added more of a workout paddle element but also allowed everyone to enjoy the colorful reefs and get to know the course.
With the OluKai flags flying the courtyard at the Paia Youth & Cultural Center filled with boards and excited paddlers. The skipper meeting began promptly at 8:45am with Matthew Murasko, OluKai Premium Footwear’s Hawaii Ambassador reviewing the coarse and finish. Then it was my turn to warm up the crowd and get them pumped and excited.
With upper body exercises, 20 squats counted out loud and then my trademark “warrior warm up”, we headed down to Paia Bay to prepare and launch. The beach was beautiful and calm, waters inviting and the sky an incredible blue. Getting in was easy with minimal shore break, as the safety ski was already out and ready to guide and patrol the group. It was smiles and a few nervous jitters for others, and off we went!
The fastest paddler to Kanaha Beach was about 40 minutes and the last group arrived about and hour and ten minutes. Everyone was a winner. People were high-fiving and applauding every paddler as one by one they came in stoked. Talk about community spirit!
Each year we notice many of these paddlers move up to the main event, which is the full 8 mile course that begins at Maliko Gulch. As a trainer and paddling coach, it’s very rewarding to see how hard these folks have worked to get there.
We’d like to thank all of our volunteers and vendors who helped keep our event safe and worry free:
Milton Kalani Martinson – Safety Ski
Paia Youth & Cultural Center – Location Host
Jimmie Hepp Photography
Kelly Moore of Moore Watertime- Board Shuttle Service
Scott Smith – Medical Support
Neal Wagner – Video Specialist
Patrick McCarthy – Sweeper and Stoke Captain from Kihei
Local SUP & Surf Shops – Board Rentals for Participants
This year’s Fun Paddle Division costs $30 to enter. Participants get a special t-shirt and luau dinner. You can register the day of the event or take advantage of online registration here: http://www.olukai.com/Hoolaulea/races
Mahalo everyone for coming out! It was awesome to meet you and we look forward to seeing you on the big day. Please share this with your friends or feel free to leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
To get the latest news like this, SUP fitness tips, videos and more sign up for our Suzie Trains Maui newsletter here:
Check out the latest in April 2013 ThePaddler Ezine Magazine – This issue Suzie Cooney is featured to inspire you and encourage those new to the sport of stand up paddling, to hop aboard and get started now.
Music makes the world go round and it makes me paddle faster! Let’s face it, training at high speed anything takes a little motivating and maybe some groovy tunes will help you paddle faster too and keep your stand up paddle training sessions more focused and gratifying. Gear review below.
photo credit Darrell Wong All Rights Reserved
Whether you’re training for long distance courses, or adding time or additional miles to your current training regime and you’re a recreational paddler, those long hard miles with some tunes to make you smile through the pain and increase your pace could be just the trick for you. I want to share with you here how to enhance your SUP training so it’s more structured and enjoyable with music.
Like any kind of training I do, I treat my stand up paddle training sessions like a session in my studio or on the beach. I have a plan usually with a goal in mind; I’m well hydrated and fueled ( solid breakfast ) and have my rock’n play list that puts a smile on my face. I have a variety of artists that I’ve selected that actually help me control my interval spreads.
Tip: Don’t play the music too loud for you’ll want to make sure barges or cruise ships or other paddlers have you in sight and you know they are there.
For example, plan: 5 miles flat water intervals Kahului Harbor. There may be side chop or head winds. First, I warm up to (2) two mellow grooves, then I know after my 6-7 minute paddle which is about how long these two songs will be in total; the next song is going to have a faster tempo so I’ll increase my paddling tempo a one notch up.
In this warm up mode to medium tempo paddling speed, my stroke distance is of average length with a decent reach and my breath is steady as I begin to prepare my mental state for the next song.
Then full on heavy guitar, full throttle song like Renegades of Funk by Rage Against the Machine, reaching and digging with everything I’ve got! Yeah! Now here my stroke distance changes, my brain state shifts and I’m finding my deepest power in my obliques to share the load and power.
I’ll break it down. So that full throttle song is 4:34 minutes, too long to maintain a true state of and normal anaerobic threshold, so I give it 1 minute, then don’t cool down fully but bring down my pace, lengthen my stroke for the rest of the song. I’m still focused, head down and keeping my form in hopefully consistent from left and right side of board. I know this is temporary. I drink a sip of water from my hydration pack and get ready.
This is TRICIA BUTI
Powerful paddler and Amateur Champion, world ranked cutter is what we call in Hawaii a real panilo.
I didn’t know this, but time in the saddle ( literally ) translates to an amazing new stand up paddler. It wasn’t until I had the pleasure of meeting Tricia Buti who came to Maui real recently to take a SUP coaching session with me; did I learn that to be able to manage the power of such an amazing animal, a cutting horse you have to have incredible balance to look so graceful while you herd a head of steer.
Both sports SUP and cutting horses require balance, courage and strength. Learn more about this courageous gal from the great North West who has been through quite a bit. With determination and a strong will, she is now doing more than every and feels that SUP has helped her in the saddle.
I told her there would me no herding me, but I’m always open to learn new things. She opened my eyes to a whole other world as I watched her on the water, so strong, so focused with a special fire in here eye. Get ready world and the state of Washington! Meet Tricia: ( in the photos of her below, she mentioned this day was a brisk 40 degrees)
By: Tricia Buti
As a competitive horseback rider, being in sync with my horse with impeccable timing is what brings a big score and the win. Cutting horses have an innate ability to read a cow and mirror its moves, with very little help from the rider. In cutting, the horse and rider cut a particular cow out of a herd. Once the cow is moved out front, the rider then puts their hand down and is no longer able to cue the horse via the reins, and can only use their feet to cue their horse, and their seat to signal stops. The horse then mirrors the cow and keeps it from returning to the herd. Perfect sync results in high scores.
These exercises will help you increase your overall SUP performance. They are presented with a clear progression from easier to advanced. All levels of paddlers can take away a few new training tips and techniques here.
As a trainer and paddler, I want to introduce a new concept that will help keep your brain and stand up paddling skills extra sharp in all dimensions.
What I mean by this is that we live and paddle in one dimension. We walk forward, we swim forward, we surf forward and we all can say we paddle forward. Sure we turn, we cut back and I have seen some paddle backwards to goof off, but we usually train and paddle in one dimension.
Now I have experienced, not on purpose; the act of sliding sideways on a big downwind glide. It’s almost like drifting in a racecar or doing what we call in the rally world, a 4-point drift! (Best freak’n, exciting rush ever!) Have you ever felt your board skid sideways? What did you? How did you react? Did you fight it or did you think it was way cool and go with it?
Have you practiced time and time again to step up; hop up over that small or medium sized wave or beach break attempting to get out, only to find yourself quickly stepping off the nose or back of board? These exercises will help you get up and over that small or medium side chop or wave.
Do you know how to brace yourself with your paddle before you fall? Can you instinctively plant your paddle without looking and confidently know it will be exactly where you need it, without falling off your board? Are you having trouble with quick turns into a wave or around a buoy? If so, these exercises will help you improve those skills too.
I want to tune you in to something that I do here in the studio or at the beach with some of my SUP folks and they don’t even know it. I’m training their brain to paddle and be in all dimensions at every moment. It’s not voodoo or island magic, it’s called training in different “dimensions or planes” of motion. I do this with force, no force, with weights or without weights.
For example we paddle forward on the right or left side of board in the sagittal plane, then we look and twist with our lower body to catch a wave or turn around a buoy in the transverse plane or lower superior of body. Sometimes when you’re doing a cut back, you’re paddling in all planes at once. As your board is sliding or floating across the lip of the wave you are now in the coronal or frontal plane.
This is trainer speak for and illustrated like this:
3 primary planes – transverse plane, frontal plane, and the sagittal plane.
Sagittal plane: divides body into right and left sides – We paddle left or right of board. Bracing with paddle lands us here.
Frontal plane: divides body into front/back – We respond, react and shift our weight as needed to recover, catch a bump or catch a wave here.
Aloha friends who love all there is to love about stand up paddling on Maui, here’s a short little video for you.
This time of year not only is it peak whale watching season but once in awhile a few special friends join us as we paddle. I’m talking about playful spinner dolphins. While I was out for a long distance training session with my good friend Barb Utech, we were approaching mile 11 in the calm waters near Makena Landing, just south of the Four Seasons Maui Resort.
Another fellow paddler was heading towards us and to our delight, we saw a flurry of activity around him and then fins. We knew they were the friendly ones so we slowed our pace to take advantage of their presence. Barb was overwhelmed as we were so focused on our training it was a more than welcome rest!
I feel so lucky to be a part of the Naish Team and get the opportunity to explore and ride such a huge selection of top quality boards. People often ask, “Suzie what size board do you ride most?” I’m always stumped because living on Maui one needs at least 4 different sizes and types for all the amazing conditions we have.
I know you’re thinking, brag brag brag. Well yes, I will because I have made my passion my career! And if you haven’t had the chance to hop on any of the Naish boards, like there are almost 39 different styles, then you haven’t lived.
The board I’m featuring here is one of the funnest wave boards I’ve ridden in a while. I also ride the Naish Hokua 9’0 but this Naish Mana 8’10″ GT is a whole other feel. I was very stoked to paddle out to one of Naish’s favorite spots on the N shore and step into that wall of liquid and have the board do what it’s supposed to do…Deliver!
Not only was it stable and able to handle steep, quick take offs but with the rail design as smooth and well proportioned as all the boards are, I was able to maintain my speed and maneuverability.
I’ve got a video coming out soon with this baby, so stay tuned but I felt compelled to share with you now!
I also have in my personal Naish quiver:
14″ Carbon Glide
10/6 Mana Nalu Wood
11/4 Mana Nalu Wood
10/10 Alana Touring
9/5 Alana Wood
Check out http://www.naishsurfing.com/boards/
Share and care out there, and the one with the biggest smile always wins!
Suzie Cooney, Team Naish Rider
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
Learn Advanced First Aid for SUP Surfing – Prepare Yourself For Open Ocean Endurance / Safety – Learn Wave Etiquette & Board Handling – Gear Review -Downwind Paddling Tips – SUP Fitness Training Tips Watch on all mobile devices: iPad, Smart Phones, LapTops Desk Tops
“Sometimes fate seems to send a subtle message in ordinary observations. This time it came from a name and the resulting initials – Suzie Cooney, SC. Ed and I are in week 8 of our “Eddie Will Go on the Olukai Ho’olaule’a” race – comeback from extensive shoulder surgery. Week 8 is the best one yet. We are actually in Maui and are SUP surfing and doing sweet down-winders every day on our Naish 14? Glide GX. Last night we had dinner with our trainer-from-a-distance, Suzie Cooney, CPT of Suzie Trains Maui.
There’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation over ono burgers at the Fish Market Restaurant in Paia, especially after all the support we’ve gained from Suzie over the past months. How did two 63 year olds from Oregon come to be trained by Suzie Cooney on Maui? That’s quite a story.
We were casually playing at down-wind riding while on vacation in Maui in May 2011. Hearing that the Olukai Ho’olaule’a offered a “fun race” of just 4 miles we grabbed our rental surfboards and registered. The day of the race we were all butterflies and doubt. Ed was having shoulder surgery 4 days later and we were second-guessing everything. Then the announcer gathered us all for a pre-race warm-up, and we met Suzie.
With a warm smile and ultimate encouragement she talked and moved the nervous group through breathing, stretching and a warm-up. Surprisingly, by the time we were done the group had a relaxed and solidified feel. Then we were off for one of the most exhilarating fun-runs ever. We decided that when Ed was able to train after his surgery, just seven weeks ago, we would start training with Suzie. We set a goal to do the 8-mile run from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha. Suzie’s regimine has been just what Ed needed. Continue reading Inspirational Stand Up Paddlers Spread the Stoke As They Practice Their Strokes