Big Glides Big Stoke Advanced Downwind SUP Course with Jeremy Riggs and Suzie Cooney
Maui, HAWAII August 13, 2016
It was a day of big glides and big stoke on Maui at the Advanced Downwind SUP Course with Jeremy Riggs and Suzie Cooney; held on the beautiful grounds of Lumeria Maui. The special course drew local participants, one from the mainland and one from Australia. The venue attracted those who wanted to increase their downwind stand up paddling skills and fitness with a focus on mastering the famous N. shore coast of Maui, known as the Maliko Run. (GALLERIES and VIDEO BELOW)
The day began just before 9 am as we greeted our paddlers at the private pool on the grounds. With a couple of inflatables Jeremy Riggs and I were ready to review all the finer points on downwind paddling, from safety to technique. Though the temperature on Maui is always mild, the heated pool was a treat as Jeremy demonstrated some of the more advanced downwind paddling techniques and footwork. Next the students would practice the same in the pool. This was a great way to learn.
After a couple of hours of instruction and reinforcing everyone’s technique and new skills, it was my turn to get their heart rate up and teach everyone the finer points on how to train for downwinders. I gave a small lecture on cardio, mental strength, and the importance of a strong core, balance and reaction training; all related specifically to downwind paddling.
With a few pieces of training equipment, everyone had the chance to participate in all modalities mentioned above. We even had the chance to practice downwind paddling bracing, which is a key essential for success. Everyone was a good sport and supported each other, even when Rich ( from Australia ) displayed his “earthquake” moves on the BOSU while balancing on one knee. I was honest and noted this was critical for hip strength and speed for driving the board through the water. His smile was bright while he shook and quivered. His assignment, to quiet the earthquake in one month and report back to the group with a video.
An amazing and special organic lunch was prepared by the chef and staff onsite at Lumeria Maui. They have a restaurant called the Wooden Crate that is also open to the public. I highly recommend it. Our food came to our lovely table beautifully prepared and consisted of fresh grains, greens and organic chicken and the most refreshing hibiscus tea.
As we dined everyone shared their previous downwind stories and adventures but they were most excited for our adventure, a full Maliko Run from Maliko Bay all the way to Kahului Harbor. This is roughly 10 miles of open ocean paddling. The forecast was predicted to be a windy run and decent swell but there were a few daunting rain squalls coming through. We were still on no matter what. We said our Mahalos to the gracious host Douglas Drummond, the General Manager of Lumeria Maui.
Our private downwind chariot or shuttle awaited us at the Kahului Harbor, our final downwind paddling destination. At 2:30pm we were loaded up and ready to rock. With boards secure on the trailer provided by Kelly Moore of Moore Watertime, everyone was stoked to try out their new skills.
One by one we walked down the boat ramp eager to go. The winds had dropped a bit which made for a very easy Maliko exit. Typically this first section out is was is most difficult. This time we were all actually able to stay pretty close all the way out. Rich was definitely into “churning the butter” as was Adrian. Shantelle paddled so hard out and fast we thought she may be racing up to Hana! I had to whistle to get her back!
We easily regrouped every couple of miles while Jeremy and I as we would coach and observe. With the lighter than expected trades, this meant extra paddling but also a good opportunity to learn to catch and read the smaller bumps. Everyone did very well and was evenly paced. It was so cool to see our students putting into practice what they learned. Jeremy and I were very watchful as safety was our number one item of the day.
The skies at time were a bit dark but the spirit and stoke shined on. The laughs and cheers when someone would catch a big bump echoed down the coast. It was so much fun and rewarding. You could see the big and small breakthroughs occurring one by one.
This particular paddle was a bit more paddling than “surfing” but to read the small bumps and turn them into big glides is the real skill to develop and grow. And that’s what these paddlers did.
Approaching the harbor is no easy task as there is so much water moving into the mouth and against the jetty, one is guaranteed to feel the push back of the current and water. Sometimes it felt like it was a 5 strokes forward and 5 back but we were making good ground. First in Adrian, then Rich then Jeremy and next Shantelle. Norm and I took our time to enjoy the last tricky sections before the left turn in.
By now were all thinking about food and maybe a nice cold beer as a reward and to celebrate the accomplishments of the day. Each person had goals to conquer or personal victories. Jeremy and I could not have asked for a nicer group and we hope to see them all again soon.
You can be sure we’ll have more courses like these next year for soon the trades will be replaced with huge surf. We welcome that too and we may have a few big days of wind with big surf in-between.
Congrats to those who joined us and know you have new downwind paddling friends and coaches for life. You rock!
Suzie Cooney and Jeremy RIggs
To contact and learn more about Jeremy Riggs and his services check out his website here: http://paddlewithriggs.com
To train or paddle with me, check out my services here: http://www.suzietrainsmaui.com/sup-instruction-lessons-coaching-worldwide/