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Maui SUP Wave & Downwind Action

Waves are a force of nature like no other. Susan does a superb job to illustrate this and more. A great read!

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Our Molokai 2 Oahu 32 Mile Race Adventure The Channel of Bones 2014

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 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.

Suzie Cooney M20 & Jeremy Riggs

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.”

Suzie Cooney M20 9Before 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.

I have never seen water this royal blue. To my right I saw a sea bird of sorts scanning and soaring along the breaking wave crests, chasing and zigzagging in the direction of flying fish. Of course my first thought was you know what. This alone was the most humbling thought of many I had that day.

Since this was our first Molokai 2 Oahu race, my goals were simply to finish with a smile, make sure my crew had a good time and to learn as much as possible. This was the telling moment if all the planning and training would now pay off.

Stephen later expressed, “What stands out in my mind was the enormity of the challenge, but it was funny how I chose to deal with it. My usual statement is ” what could possibly go wrong”, normally nothing, as long as you do everything to prepare for it. I trained hard, I paddled for hours, I did many downwinders, I thought I did it all, but I found out that nothing you do can fully prepare you for that channel, it always holds the trump card. “

The entire team mattered, every single one of us. This was not only my personal goal as everyone on that boat supporting us was also experiencing his or her own personal victories.

GOPR0058_00000 copy 3

Stephen jumping into channel

We were very aware to keep our transitions timed at about 20-25+ minutes. I had no idea that my partner Stephen was suffering so much with dizziness and seasickness. He was such a good actor and kept paddling and catching some really nice glides. I can’t imagine what that would feel like or if I could even go on like that.

Part of preparing for an event like this is making sure one does not get afflicted with seasickness or motion sickness. It’s hard enough paddling in rough water, but it’s the being on a boat that can get you.

There are many things you do from ginger chews to Bonine to transderm patches, drinking tons of gingerale and making sure you keep your eyes on the horizon. I was so surprised that I managed okay as I’m very prone to getting sick. And once you do, well it’s not pretty.

My stoic partner Stephen writes, “ I never anticipated getting affected by the motion, and when I did it was like one side of my foundation was pulled out from under me, I was shattered, I felt I had let you down, the team down, and myself as well.”

As the day and miles clicked along, the cheerleaders on the boat, Cathy and Tommy were making us laugh and kept our seriousness on the lighter side so we could remember that this was “fun”.

GOPR0047_00000 copy 2Jeremy was really good about looking out for bumps that would take nice shape in front of us to be sure we’d maximize each glide. Simone was steady on her feet with her big lens ready to snap and frame each glide and each emotion.

Mike Holmes and Suzie Cooney M20 2014

Mike Holmes & Suzie Cooney

Mike Holmes, our hero of the day and boat captain, also former champion channel paddler would show us our rhumb line in purple on his GPS device that kept our course true. He would give us pointers as where we need to start paddling towards in certain sections as we made our way.

This year’s current was a bit of a south swell, which worked in everyone’s favor compared to last year’s where everything lined up almost backwards. We didn’t go too North or too South, somewhere in-between seemed to work.

The downwind sections were similar to Maliko here on Maui and were more at the beginning of the race and towards the middle miles. It wasn’t as big as I had hoped nor as windy, but nonetheless a rush I can’t describe. All the miles of training and the big scary winter days of many years really paid off.

Suzie Cooney M20 2014

My focus was only the left and right side of the nose of my board from 9 to 12 and 1 to 3, that’s where I need to get the small bumps and keep my blade moving. Then as I caught a glide I was scanning to the right and then the left for the next one. It was now just me and this massive body of ocean. I felt like a speck of sand in the Sahara Desert. I have read the feeling of isolation can play with your mind, but I used it to my advantage.

I must share with you the visual I had to help myself think clearly if any moments of self-doubt crept in. One of my wonderful training clients, Bill Thompson presented me with a picture before I left, after his many years of living in China. He said, “Here, you’re probably going to need this.”

Now I am not one that is super religious or hippie dippy, but this photo really struck the core of my being. It is a photograph of Guanguanyin004[1] Yin, Kwan Yin, Kuan Yin, or Quan Yin. She is all the same, the sea-faring, water loving Buddhist goddess of compassion and mercy, the protector of water people all across China, Vietnam, Thailand. I thought how cool. My board is the dragon and I am the calm, strong goddess that will conquer and honor this piece of water and it will do me no harm.

Fortunately I never had any doubt that I could do this. I felt the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life. Strong and powerful. What I worried about most in the months prior to the race was if on race day I would have an episode and experience the horrific symptoms of my ciguatera poisoning?

In recent years I discovered that it is triggered by extreme exercise and sun. It was a gift that I was symptom free. I was so very happy that it let me be for this special day. I am having quite the episode now while I type this just as I expected, but I’m so very thankful it was not with me that day.

And with that, every stroke from left to right I kept saying to myself over and over again, “I am grateful, I am grateful, I am grateful.” I also thought how much of an honor it was to be accepted into this prestigious race of all races, that I was given a chance to prove to myself that I am indeed an athlete.

Suzie Cooney M20 2014We were soon approaching the East point of Oahu, Koko Head Crater which created the famous and beautiful Hanauma Bay. I could really feel the wind shut down and the water became very difficult to paddle. The water was pushing back off the island. I needed my mantra more than ever of my visual of riding the dragon. I was starting to wonder how long this would last. I have only heard about this part from many friends who would describe it as pretty miserable. It was.

It reminded me a little bit of how the water would behave underneath the Golden Gate Bridge when I used to windsurf there. We called them potato patches because the currents would be coming at you in four directions and grab your board or boat and shake you like a tree and keep you there.

At times I would take my finger and “hush” the boat so I could concentrate and focus on every stroke so I could keep any momentum China Wall SuzieCooney M20 2014 at all moving forward. My strokes were shorter and faster to help keep me upright. I don’t think I ever looked up one time until it was my time to switch

As I was pulled back up onto the boat, I felt like I was overheating with no wind to keep me cool. My amazing boat support and boyfriend Tommy took an ice-cold bottle of water and dumped it on my head. That really helped. I noticed my low back was starting to get sore from all the intense focusing and my ankles had taken a toll with all of the isometric stabilizing of each tiny muscle that got burned out to keep me standing. All my balance training also paid off huge!

I stretched my low back and ankles and wondered how in the world could someone do this solo? Off Stephen went along the amazing China Wall. Each stroke was short and steady and he amazingly did so well while feeling so sick.

I would soon prepare for the final stretch to the finish. There was a very small south swell running and since I didn’t know the reef or the wall that well, we thought I should take a conservative approach, which put me more into the head and side wind.

I was ready and had remembered the many early mornings paddling in the harbor into the wind and timing myself against the side wind. It wasn’t all that bad except it felt like at times, someone was moving the finish buoy away from me!

I saw the tents on the lawn at the finish as I paddled through the deep-water channel feeling a bit lonely at this moment. Stephen gave me the honor and my crew and captain were heading along the side of the wall where Kamaki Worthington waited on his ski to transport everyone back to land.

Suzie Cooney M20 2014

Suzie Cooney M20 2014 Finish I wasn’t sure who I would see but thought how cool it was to actually paddle to Oahu. I felt good coming in and I was sure to have a smile on face as it was my goal. I first met the lifeguard on the ski who outside the final buoy asked my race number. At that moment I felt “official.”

As the water became more shallow and clear it was just another 75 yards or so to go. “I’ve got this, me and my dragon board” I thought to myself. I passed the final buoy and there was Angel King of Angel King Productions with a huge smile and big lens. She also helped me with my board. How nice.

Then low and behold, Jenny Kalmbach came up and gave me a big hug and when I asked her (not knowing that she got 2nd in the solo ) how she did, she smiled and said, “yeah, I’m pretty happy with my paddle.” Geez. humble pro and humble pie. Wow.

I received our medals around my neck with a kiss from the kind event volunteer wishing Stephen had been there with me. But he was. Done and feeling great!

Suzie Cooney, Stephen Ross, Jeremy Riggs M20 2014

We all joke that the hardest part of our adventure was hailing a cab back to Waikiki!



Cathy Gillis, Stephen’s wife and head cheerleader was actually responsible for making this happen. I asked her too to share a snippet of her thoughts:

“I was struck by how much Stephens and your goal of paddling M2o was set by personal passion for the sport,,talent, respect for the ocean and not by the expectations of others. Teamwork from two individuals working independently toward one goal in unison….a beautiful thing! Mahalo”


Tommy writes: “I remember first hearing of the M2O race years ago when a crazy one armed pirate I know did it on a prone board.  Crazy I thought, but having done endurance events before, I understood the allure of the race.  But honestly, the idea of standing and paddling on a board that resembles an ear of corn (now branded the “cob”) seemed to me like a torturous affair.  But I guess we’re all bent in some ways.  Overall, the day was an awesome experience for me.  I really enjoyed seeing all of the athletes and sensing their energy.  Incredible levels of fitness.  Suzie’s and Stephen’s level of commitment, focus and drive was only matched by their calm execution of stroke after stroke.  They performed great as a team and seemed a constant as they distanced themselves from Molokai towards Oahu.  Jeremy said it simply, “it’s fun to do something not knowing if you can do it”.  It absolutely is and it’s the draw of M2O.  Big congrats to Suzie and Steven for finishing their goal despite a bite of motion sickness and relentless heckling from the on-board peanut gallery.”

Stephen’s final thoughts as we all reflect back on our team adventure:

“That is what a team is for, to work together, build on the strengths of each member and Excell towards the goal. I was honored that you agreed to paddle with me, and I know I could have done better, I have thought about the event, and what I would do differently, and you know I don’t think I would do anything differently, other than using a more potent motion sickness potion.

Stephen Ross M20 2014

I love the ocean, it has always been good to me, it has spanked me a couple of times for lack of respect, but we always seem to work it out, this time she spanked me, but I will be back for more, I am hooked, addicted if you will, I can’t wait for next year.”

Stephen, the honor was mine.

From beginning to end we can’t get over how fortunate we are that we finished safely without incident considering some of the stories that trickle in. We had the best support of friends and shared much “togetherness” that brought us all closer together with lots of laughs and good food prepared by Tommy.

The people that we met on Molokai were very friendly and we especially loved the food and nice folks at the Paddler’s Inn. I will miss Wally, my new dance partner.

crossingliveThank you everyone who followed us on the cool GPS DOT Vision tracking system and for those who sent loving emails and texts. It really helped more than you know.

A special salute goes out to Clare Seegar Mawae who resides on Molokai for welcoming us with her bright smile and for managing many important details to make our arrival and our time on Molokai extra special.

To our Prince of the channel, Mike Holmes our boat captain, former crossing champion, whose kind smile and intuitive and seaworthy ways of navigation kept us true and safe.

People have asked how we got so lucky to have Jeremy Riggs, former crossing champ himself; onGOPR0046_00000 copy 3 our boat as our coach? Well, he tried to enter and because the race sold out in 3 hours, he simply was late! When he discovered just a couple weeks before that there was an opening he had already committed to us and didn’t want to miss that experience. Thank you SO much Jeremy! Next year we’ll be cheering you on!

To our coolest member of the team, pro surfer and photographer Simone Reddingius, who hung tough especially when a couple surprise swells emptied onto the back of the boat! You were a real trooper Monie. Your photos rock!

To the organizers of the event, Mike and Shannon, Ian and Chris all should take a bow. And for the special Angel, Angel King who snapped my photo and was the first smile and person I met at the finish, thank you many times over.

To my sponsors: Naish, RAWElements USA, Pocketfuel Naturals, Kaenon Polarized Eyewear, RUNA Drink, BLUESMITHS and Indo Board Balance Trainer, Mahalo.

SuzieThumbsUpM20To Tommy my boyfriend, who is my rock on land and sea, love you!

Our lives have changed forever and a part of us are still in that channel. Not only did our respect for the ocean evolve and grow but so did our life skills knowing that navigating any kind of rough sea or sticky patch, just put your head down, be thankful and go.

Suzie Cooney

Here are a few more photos:


New Video: Maui's Famous Downwind SUP Run Maliko With Suzie Cooney

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

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OluKai Ho'olaule'a Fun Paddle 2014 A Great Success

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.

Olukai Ho'olaulea 2014The 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 Olukai Ho'olaulea 2014were 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.

Olukai Ho'olaulea 2014Matthew 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 isSuzie Cooney 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,Olukai Ho'olaulea  Fun Paddle 2014 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!

IMG_1551Local 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

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 cardioheartfind 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.

Suzie Cooney dropping in Maliko

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 Kalepa

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.


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.


20100515_olukai_sup_0171-displayThree 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,

Suzie Cooney _MG_2350


Aloha and Happy New Year 2014 SUP Paddlers & Surfers

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. Suzie Cooney Maui  Go Pro N shore 2013 Big surf
Suzie Cooney
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!

VIDEO Stand Up Paddle Training Tip: How to Bring More Power to the Blade

This exercise for stand up paddling is designed to increase your total purchase power from your entire shoulder complex directly to the blade of your paddle. It also engages and strengthens your entire core! RESULT: Maximum stroke power!

This exercise is GREAT for surfers too and is for all levels of paddlers.
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
SUP Naish Athlete

Please like and share!

For more videos and SUP training tips, go to http://www.standuppaddlingfitness.com/sup-videos/sup-fitness-tips/#.UqUUPxa6Xww



SuzieTrainsMaui E Newsletter: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=qoggiadab&p=oi&m=1102741445072

Boards by Naish check out http://www.naishsurfing.com

Maui Offers Stand Up Paddling Adventures for Everyone

DSCN0353Everyone knows Maui is “no ka oi”  meaning the best; for stand up paddling.  Meet Klaus and Val from Florida visiting family here for the holiday. Their friend from  Seattle referred them to me to get some new perspective and paddling techniques Maui style. Here on Maui one either has lots of wave boards or open ocean downwind boards and some of us lucky enough to have both. Since they haven’t gotten into wave paddling yet,  I decided to put them each on a 14ft Naish Carbon Glide to get the feel of a real rocket.  They loved them.


Combined with the new Naish 2014 Makani carbon and glass vario paddles, they were super stoked by their ease of use, lightness and power.  I always like to try different boards when I can so I can appreciate the finer points and lines they all have to offer for every type of paddler and/or conditions.

Later in the session, Klaus at 6’1″ was even brave enough to venture on the Javelin LE 14ft open ocean race board. It’s only 23 inches wide and he handled it like a pro the first few strokes!  I think next here he wants to check out the new 26″ wide version that will offer him more stability.

Val was eager to find her power and learn a more efficient stroke and after a very short time was out paddling us! She understood all of the technical nuances she had never heard of before and was a very quick study. From understanding the proper blade entry to exit, how important it is to keep the blade up and down for maximum purchase and power and finally how to get the power she needed directly from her obliques.  She’s powerful now so look out Klaus!

It’s always fun to meet new paddling friends and to see them discover new ways to have even more fun and improve their paddling skills.  I hope they come back real soon.


Suzie Cooney

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Watch The Buoy Turn That Made History Kai Lenny Battle of the Paddle 2013

A big win for our Naish SUP teammate Kai Lenny from Maui, Hawaii, who won the prestigious the Battle of the Paddle in Dana Point, California; demonstrates his talents many times over with one of the thickest line ups of amazing SUP athletes from around the globe.
Below is a video snippet of Kai Lenny  and “the buoy turn”, provided to us by Distressed Mullet; that has people shaking their heads!

For full race results click here.
NaishBOPCongratulations to the entire Naish SUP Team for doing a stellar job and making the podium rock. Wow, it’s such an inspiration to paddle and train with you all.

I hope this inspires all of you to practice your buoy turns!

Aloha, and see you on the water.

Suzie Cooney, CPT
Suzie Trains Maui, LLC

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RAW Elements USA Sunscreen Protects You and The Ocean While You SUP

Suzie Cooney uses RAW ElementsSuzie Cooney RAW Elements USAI must first tell you I am the pickiest person around when it comes to sunscreen products and gear for my skin. I have tried many products out there and am thrilled to share with you a watersports performance sunscreen that holds up, doesn’t sting my eyes, get all over my truck and paddle AND the biggest bonus is that I won’t be harming the fish or reefs when I wipeout.

To rediscover RAW Elements was so awesome as I’ve heard about in the past, now I get to be apart of their team and share with you and the stand up paddling world how you can protect your skin and do right by the planet.

My two favorite products of the line I use everyday here on Maui, is the new and very cool Eco Tint Stick, with an SPF of 30 and I also apply the ECO SPF 30 lotion.  This broad spectrum, all organic, all natural organic and skin safe sunscreen is the best compliment to my outdoor lifestyle and is no longer a chore or hassle.

The crew and developers at RAW Elements are water people and they get it. It’s so awesome to finally work with a company who lives the talk and understands what we water people need. I can honestly tell you that is the sunscreen that you will dig to use and not worry about your skin or the waters that you paddle in.  With any sunscreen it’s recommended to be reapplied for your maximum protection about avery hour or so.  It’s so easy for me to carry the ECO Tint on my long distance training paddles. I just put in a watertight pouch in my Camelbak and reapply if I need.

RAW Elements USA

I hope you’re totally stoked now to find and try some too. To find a store where you can try the RAW Elements USA skin gear, go to http://www.rawelementsusa.com

We’d love to hear your feedback and what you thought after you try yours on your next stand up paddling adventure.

Mahalo for stopping by and see you on the water!

Suzie Cooney, CPT
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC

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