Stand up paddlers of all skill levels gathered on the serene grounds of Lumeria Maui on November 3rd for the SUP Pro Talk Workshop with Suzie Cooney. The educational (and fun!) land-based event touched on many important topics for paddlers, including the health benefits of SUP, water safety and ocean preparedness, SUP fitness techniques and training demos, and equipment reviews.
Clay Everline, M.D., co-author of the Surf Survival Health Hand Book, was on hand with a valuable lecture on First Aid, and pro paddler, Jeremy Riggs, heated the afternoon up with his tips on downwind paddling. Suzie Cooney, as charming as ever, kept the crowd entertained and engaged with her informative and “hands on” teaching style.
The big winner of the day was the organization Bring Change 2 Mind, as 90% of the event’s proceeds went to supporting the group’s fight to erase the stigma and discrimination of mental illness. The organization, founded by actress Glenn Close, provides educational material and a meeting place for a broad coalition of organizations that provide service, screening, information, support and treatment of mental illness.
“We were thrilled to sell out three months in advance. That really confirmed to me that people are eager to learn and support the sport. I’m a big advocate of those dealing with mental illness, so I wanted to spread the word about the organization I support, Bring Change 2 Mind.org.
Clay Everline, M.D. was very informative and entertaining, as was Jeremy Riggs, our local downwind pro who shared some of his helpful tips. The participants had great questions, which was helpful for the entire audience!
By Suzie Cooney, CPT owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
It’s no doubt that Hunter Joslin, Indo Board Balance Trainer’s Founder and developer of the popular Gigante Flo Cushion, entertains and trains with me at this year’s Battle of the Paddle at Dana Point. Hunter was wowing the crowd with some tricks this weekend as Chip Martoccia, VP of Operations and I cheered on.
Hunter Joslin and Suzie Cooney having Gigante fun at 2012 BOP, Dana Point
I’ve been a team rider and ambassador for Indo Board Balance Trainer for some time, and thoroughly enjoy my time with Hunter and crew. We never miss an opportunity to play around and challenge one another. He’s quite the surfer and in very good shape. We’ve shared a few waves together on Maui, and I can say he is just a little competitive!
Hunter asked if I’d do this photo shoot and share some new tricks I’ve been working on in my studio here at SUZIE TRAINS MAUI. Of course! Turns out he had never tried or seen any of these so I was stoked, but under the gun to give him my best.
These exercises are THE ultimate core challenge and require good form, good posture and good overall anatomical health. Remember the core is where all movement begins and is everything excluding your extremities.
This type of training, I also refer to as proprioception training to encourage cat-like reflexes for your lifestyle, prevent injury and to provide the opportunity for your brain to command each finite muscle, tendon and ligament that supports all joints.
At approximately 7:30am, local Maui resident Dave Peterson is okay after tiger shark knocks him off board this morning on Maui’s North shore, at a popular spot called Bone Yards near Kanaha Beach Park. According to another paddler, shark appeared to be 8-9ft long when it attempted to take a big bite of the stand up paddler’s board.
It apparently bumped him so hard, he fell onto the back of the shark. He then began hitting the shark with his paddle and then it paddled away. Dave is a well-known shaper and waterman, very familiar with this break and we’re just stoked he’s okay.
I’ve seen quite a few in my 13 years here, but to get bumped liked that must have been such a scare. We always know it’s their place first and we all respect that. Occasionally for whatever reason we do hear of incidents but this seemed to be quite aggressive so the beach was closed for the day.
Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) – A portion of Kanaha Beach on Maui has been closed due to a shark attack. Officials say the 6 to 8 foot shark took a bite out of a board that was being used by a stand-up paddler. Maui Communications Director Rod Antone says the attack happened around 7:30 a.m. at an area known as “Kite Beach” which is on Maui’s northern coastline, east of Kahului.
Antone says the paddler scared off the shark by hitting it with a paddle. The paddler was not injured. Also check out: http://mauinow.com/2012/10/18/breaking-shark-takes-bite-out-of-board-kanaha-closed/ Click HERE for MauiNow.com’s interview with the stand-up paddler. Kanaha Beach has been closed in the area the attack area stretching from Kahului Harbor mouth to the Kahului side of Spreckelsville. Shark warning signs are posted. Lifeguards remind beach-goers to be aware of any unusual activity taking place in the water and to get out of the water immediately if a shark is spotted. Any sightings should be reported by calling 911 and asking for “Ocean Safety”.
A special thanks to the Maui lifeguards and fireman who have our backs out there. I know they’ve been there for me!
One of the many rewards of helping people with their stand up paddling stroke/fitness/technique is getting emails, photos and updates of their stoke and even better, wins in their local events. Makes a coach proud!
I had the chance to catch up with Scott Boyles at this year’s Battle of the Paddle at Dana Point where I could see from the fire in his eyes, discipline and strength in his body that this was only the beginning for him.
Suzie & Scott2012 BOP Dana Point, CA.
Scott came to Maui with his wife Cheryl last year and took a lesson with me to improve his stroke. He was incredibly technical which I enjoyed all the more. He got it and he got it fast. As a student, he was a quick study and understood the finer nuances that take most people a little more time to grasp. With his anatomical knowledge and practice, I knew he’d have big breakthroughs too.
As he was already in excellent shape, it didn’t take him long to find his true core power ( about 5 minutes! ). He was able to understand how to use and transfer that power directly to the board and water. Impressive.
“I had paddled[only twice in my life. My wife Cheryl and I went to Maui, called Suzie Cooney. She invited us on a community downwinder from Paia Bay to Kanaha. Could barely stay on the board! Then I took a personal paddle lesson from her, and she demonstrated the great ability to coach technique, but more importantly communicate in an effective way. She was also so laid back as was the community she introduced us to, it really made it a awesome experience.
Went home, bought a board and set the goal to complete the 22 miler across Tahoe race (supported by a lovely wife who knows I need a "focus" on a physical activity). [I] achieved that in 2011. Did a number of other races, many sponsored by South Lake Tahoe Stand Up Paddle. Trained more, paddled lots, coached more by Tracy Day, bought another board a Flatwater Paddle, a fricking rocket. Then won the 18-55 age group in the 12′ 6″ class in the 2012, 22 miler. By the way, all at age 50!
Suzie is definitely a high ranking ambassador of SUP awesomeness, along with many others.”
So when I saw Scott again, as a trainer, of course, I noticed his ripped abs and asked if he’d share his training secret. He makes it look so easy!
Scott Boyle defying gravity in plank pose on his SUP
“For my abs: I do crunches once every couple months or so, up to 5 reps maybe 3 sets max. They are hard on the back and really unnecessary! (I learned a lot about true core strength following my second lower back surgery.) Ab strength is totally built on exercises that are based on core and balance as the primary foundation.”
Scott also came in 3rd in age group and 8th overall in the famous Tahoe Nalu long distance race.
There’s a tremendous amount of SUP and surf talent on this island that is inspirational, charging, and leaves people in awe, but there is one person who is all that and more.
Kody Lake Tahoe July 2012
Most of you probably already know Kody Kerbox; Naish Team Rider and young gun born to shred and yes the son of legendary big wave surfer Buzzy Kerbox. But did you know this strong champion has had such a winning streak these past few months, you’ve got to wonder if his legs are sore from stepping up on the podium every weekend?
From Lake Tahoe to Dana Point and now back on Maui for the 7th Annual Naish International Race, he is humble and fierce and it’s an honor to have him in the studio.
Observing his explosive, controlled strength combined with a laser focus, these are just a few of the superior qualities he already possess. I’ve been watching Kody over the past few years increase his strength, power and overall body endurance, and wow it’s paying off.
See photos of Kody’s first day with me in the studio below. I made a deal I wouldn’t kill him but would on the second day!
I’m super stoked to have Kody in the studio to help him learn more about how to capture and harness his acceleration and power from flat water paddling, downwinders and wave riding. He’s already pretty fit, so I was able to advance him quickly on his first day. We’ll also focus on fast forms of recovery in between races, eating for energy and other important things he’ll need while out on tour.
The field of competitors this year is thick but you can be sure you’ll be seeing Kody leading the pack. It’s awesome to have him on board!
Aloha ladies! We invite you to our exclusive luxury, stand up paddling health and fitness experience on the worldwide SUP island destination Maui, Hawaii. Four (4) women will enjoy tropical warm waters, personalized SUP coaching and instruction, expert fitness training, organic meals prepared by Chef Ben Diamond, massage, yoga and premium products representing the SUP lifestyle, while staying on the beautiful N. shore at Maui’s new stunning and tranquil retreat center, Lumeria Maui.
“Suzie Cooney combines imagination, inspiration and perspiration. She’s a one-of-a-kind waterwoman; a brilliant and patient teacher. Oh, and she is also a complete badass, which is the highest compliment I can possibly give.” —Susan Casey, bestselling author and editor in chief of O, The Oprah Magazine.
If you’d like to reserve your space, please contact us by submitting your information here. It it required each guest have some SUP experience and is comfortable in the ocean or large bodies of water. Once your registration is complete and approved, you will receive more detailed information.
Join Us Saturday April 28th, 2012
OluKai and Suzie Cooney host a Free 3 Mile “Practice” Fun Paddle
Paia Youth and Cultural Center 9AM
( no preregistration required )
In preparation for the 4th Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, and the Fun Paddle Division, join us again for the 3 mile “practice” fun paddle, mini downwinder that everyone can enjoy. Build your water confidence. Anything paddle powered can enter as this is not a competition. The start is at the Paia Youth and Cultural Center and will finish at the lifeguard tower at Kahana Beach Park. ( Details below )
All ages, all levels of paddlers will enjoy an escorted practice paddle with me and other safety folks. This is a great opportunity for those who desire to experience Maui’s N. shore in a fun and safe manor. Here’s a video from one of last year’s practice paddles: ( 2o11 )
So, grab your stand up paddle board, kayak, 4 man, 6 man, prone paddle board, canoe or anything you can paddle! This is your chance to get ready, test your paddle skills, meet some new friends and join the OluKai ohana. The paddle will take the fastest paddler approximately 30 minutes or less to complete and the average time will be about and hour. Take your time, soak in the sun and paddle with your friends. This is not a race, paddle at your capacity.
PRACTICE 3 MILE FUN PADDLE:
DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2012
WHERE: Start – 28 Hana Hwy: Paia Bay Cultural and Youth Center Finish: Kanaha Beach Park Lifeguard Tower
TIME:Start time is 9:00am ( please arrive by 8:00am to sign in and for course review and safety meeting )
We suggest paddlers carpool and prearrange 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.
Any questions, please contact Matthew Murasko, OluKai Premium Footwear Hawaii Ambassador email@example.com
To register for the OluKai Ho’olaule’a Fun Paddle on May 12, 2012, click here. The cost is $20 and includes your entry and luau dinner.
More about the Fun Paddle May 12th, 2012:
The ‘Ohana Fun Paddle, is a non-timed, non-competitive 3-mile fun paddle designed for all members of the community to get out in the ocean for a good cause. The shorter course is less strenuous, and a great way for paddlers of all skill levels to experience a portion of the legendary Maliko downwind run. No timing chips, no age divisions, just come out and paddle! Maui’s own fitness and training expert, Suzie Cooney, will lead paddlers on the 3-mile course.
Represent your ‘ohana in coordinated colors and outfits, or wear your best Hawaiian warrior costume. This is meant to be a fun event! The most festive participants will receive special prizes from OluKai.
A portion of proceeds from the ‘Ohana Fun Paddle go to our ‘Ohana Giveback Program benefitting Maui Cultural Lands and Hawaii’s Junior Lifeguard Program.
Also for those who are interested in the 8 mile SUP race May 12th or the OC1 race May 13th click here.
Stand up paddling is no doubt taking the world by storm, and while you don’t need to be in the greatest shape to paddle, you’ll soon discover the benefits. As you begin to improve your technique, experiment with new gear and maybe decide to enter a race or wave competition, it’s a good idea to learn how to train in a balanced way to prevent injury so that you can enjoy paddling even more and stay on the water.
As the sport continues to evolve, and as a trainer who specializes in educating people how to paddle stronger and better improve their performance, I’d like to share with you first an overview of some of the known complaints and injuries that I’m seeing and helping people manage. I’ll also share with you many training strategies designed to help you better approach your SUP training in a balanced manor as a way to avoid injuries.
This article is part one of a two-part series that will illustrate a more in-depth review of the anatomy and how your muscles function while you paddle and how injuries might occur. Part two will be the actual exercises and training approach I recommend to help recover from some of these injuries and/or avoid them.
I’ve also gathered some helpful insight from one of our Naish Team Riders, Karen Wrenn, on how she trains to help her better perform. In addition, I’ll be highlighting another paddler, Kevin Vangritis from North Carolina and new racing competitor and long distance paddler, with his personal story and struggle with a unique injury and how he’s managed to come back on the water.
Common SUP Injuries
Overuse injuries and strains from SUP are common and include mostly the muscles of the shoulder and/or rotator cuff muscles, the knee joint, foot and ankle and low back. It’s good to have a knowledge base of the anatomy and function of each group so you can better adapt your SUP training to avoid these injuries. There may be more to mention, but in my practice and I too have experienced things such as a nagging bicep tendonitis issue in my right arm and on occasion after long distances over 20 miles, my traps (trapezius) have cramped a bit and my feet have fallen asleep.
Injuries that are more common where there are waves are fin lacerations to the extremities and face, paddle handles giving bloody noses (mine), and leash wrap-arounds I call them, that can cause sprains to fingers and other body parts from wrapping around you after a heavy wave wipe out. Also, as these boards are much heavier than surfboards for example, if you get hit in the head you could suffer a good blow or even a concussion. In addition, some super heavy hold downs at some of the bigger breaks can wreck havoc on your back and lower extremities.
Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Injuries:
Stand up paddling works a lot of muscles and is well known for being a great core workout. It also requires a lot of work from the stabilizers of the shoulder girdle. The paddle stroke is a combination of medial rotation and abduction (of the top hand). The deeper rotator cuff muscles included are the supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus and the teres minor. This requires the work of the subscapularis, latissimus dorsi, pec. minor, pec. major, and teres major along with deltoid and supraspinatus to lift the arm up. The bottom hand is mostly stabilizing to transfer the rotation of the trunk to the paddle the muscles used to stabilize are mainly latissimus dorsi rhomboids, triceps, and middle fibers of the traps.
One client complaint was that of a burning sensation radiating from his elbow up to his shoulder and down to his hand, and another, with numbness radiating down from his shoulder through his pinky finger. These can be common nerve entrapment injuries with chronic tension and overuse of certain muscle groups.
Rhomboid & Trapeziums Strains:
The rhomboid muscles interact with and help support the shoulder blade. Your trapezius (also referred to as your “traps”) are the connective muscles from the neck to the head of the humerus or top of the shoulder, and are responsible for stabilizing your neck and shoulder while you paddle. These muscles require a great deal of endurance. This is also where we tend to hold our stress and the area that can fatigue and cramp up on long distance races. I often hear of muscle fatigue and recently of a tear of the rhomboid as described by Kevin Vangritis. Read more of his experience and how he recovered:
Kevin Vangritis is a friend of mine from North Carolina and is just getting into SUP racing. Over the summer, Kevin was training for a big 50+mile-long distance SUP crossing in Chicago (with Windy City Waterman and Matt Lennert). Prior to the race, he was helping a friend with an exercise and felt a pop near his right scapulae or shoulder blade. At the time, he thought that to simply take an anti-inflammatory and ice should do the trick.
I should note that Kevin is in amazing shape and has a very consistent, well planned and executed training and paddling routine, so this was a bit of a surprise. Kevin is also well versed in the field of sports orthopedics as he assists surgeons and medical teams and knows the anatomy which is also helpful when recovering from an injury.
He writes, “Over the next couple of days, I began to develop a large knot in my trap as well as radicular pain down my right arm into my hand, which was my major concern. This is a classic sign of a herniated cervical disc. The knot began to limit mobility in my neck. Our endurance paddle of crossing Lake Michigan was fast approaching, and I had to come up with a plan to get better. Continue reading Balanced SUP Training to Help Prevent Injury Part One by Suzie Cooney for Naish
Introducing Matt Lennert, long distance and wave SUP paddler, SUP event director, windsurfer and surfer; stopped in for an all-on SUP performance tune up with me in my studio during his recent visit to Maui. He was up for any challenge, that’s for sure! I threw medicine balls at him full speed while he managed to amazingly hang onto whatever training apparatus I placed him on top of.
His sheer determination and already a finely tuned athlete; he was on top of his training game. Wow! He performed well this day and left with a good sweat. Unfortunately the conditions for a Maliko Run were not up to par but we’ll have to try again Matt when you come back with your family!
TweetTaken from the Maui Breakfast Club August 9th, 2011: Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui, Health & Fitness Segment every Tuesday morning at 7:38 am on KNUI 900 AM. Listen here: Radio Segment
Throw away the diet books, thigh blaster or ab roller and if you live near any body of water, hop aboard and paddle to shed unwanted pounds now!
It sounds like an infomercial but I’m really serious. I’ve been helping people shed unwanted weight here on Maui and spreading the word for some time now, on how thousands of people are, as I wrote this article for ATHLETA; are literally “Sweeping Their Way to Health”. It’s really true. I’m hearing from so many people, besides seeing my clients and others around the world completely transform their bodies; paddling away the fat.
I wanted to share with you a couple nice entries of the many of received on how SUP has literally shaped their lives and bodies. It’s so inspiring and I hope they inspires you or someone you know who would like to enjoy losing unwanted weight. It is possible and it’s fun!
Here, my dear friend and avid paddler Lucija Kordic, from Alameda, California, braves the chilly waters of the Bay Area and shares, ” My pants fit much differently now and I fit into some of my set-aside size 6 pants. SUP and intervals on the treadmill both make a difference!” Lucija is now training with me with her new SUP Endurance Program designed to help her improve her paddling strength and endurance for long distance racing. Go Lucy go! See you on Maui soon!
If you live in the Bay Area and want to get to know some paddle buddies, Lucija organizes casual paddling groups and is the ultimate host. This I’ve experienced myself. You can hook up with her group at: http://Meet.Up.com/East-Bay-SUP
I’ve received so many emails on how stand up paddling, also known as “SUP” is changing people’s lives and it just so happens that one of the keen health benefits is amazing weight loss. I’m not just talking loss of pounds, but more like shedding their old ways.
I’ve always encouraged my clients and everyone to find a sport, especially SUP, to enhance their current training as a cross training tool. What happens more times than not, is it becomes an obsession! Wow. Besides having to throw away hard earned money on marriage counselors, maybe a new pair of $80 Spanx, the moderate investment of one or two boards, paddles, leashes and some sunscreen can also result in relationship bonding. SUP is so easy, couples are losing weight together AND getting quality time paddling off into the sunset.
I’ve always found that most of my clients and people who write me, have had the light turn on in their lives with SUP. They have found their calling and are so taken with the sport, it consumes every waking hour. Now they have racks on their cars, very cool, hang out at the local SUP shop and talk “board talk” or what event they may register in, or simply enjoy the “healthy” camaraderie that develops along with wonderful new friendships.
This sport is very contagious and what comes along with is the healthy lifestyle. What a great bonus. As one develops their love for SUP, unknowingly, because your total body is getting a continuous workout; one can easily start to notice remarkable changes in their body. What is commonly noticed first, is one’s core strength. I’ve written so many articles about the power of the core for SUP, and how to train your core to get stronger to paddle stronger, it’s truly the first thing that people always say, “Wow it really works my core.”
In Redding, way North of my hometown, Sacramento, California lives Matt Ivey, very new to SUP and boy does he have the stoke and has he
Matt Ivey Looking Great!
gotten in great shape! He says he was his wife’s ginny pig and suggested he do SUP with her while she was pregnant and suggested that he join her too. Read the rest to see how he lost 10 lbs and also learn how SUP helped him manage some pretty serious injuries he had. He’s got big plans to grow SUP in his life and business.
I just got into SUP about a month ago and I am totally hooked. I have lost about 10 lbs and my core/lower back are feeling the increase in strength. I love is so much my wife and I are adding SUP rentals, ecotours, lessons, and fitness/yoga classes. My wife is 20 weeks pregnant and she is a manager of a gymnastics gym. She has been using the SUP to stay in shape while she is pregnant and has been working on a fitness program. So that means I have been her ginny pig when it comes to testing her exercises on someone. I also like my alone time so every other day I have been paddling upstream on a local river for a hour.
I come from a background of playing sports and lifting heavy weights. Over the past 6 years I have broken and dislocated my left ankle, separated my right shoulder, tore one of the heads of my left bicep, broke my right thumb, and sprained my right mcl. I also have several degenerative disks in my back so needless to say I can no longer play the sports I once loved.
But what that also meant is that I could no longer lift weights in the gym. This lead to me becoming frustrated and out of shape. After relocating to a new town and stumbling on SUP (we had seen it on Maui 3 years ago but were more concerned with surfing) I was instantly hooked.
In fact I even had my wife take a before photo so I have something I can compare it to after I feel like I have reached my goal. I have also been incorporating a slackline into my balance and core training. Between the SUP and Slackline I feel like I have found a great routine that works for me.
I could chat all day about SUP and what it has done for me mentally and physically. Both my wife and I have out degrees in Recreation Administration and Business so we are looking forward to putting our education and experience to use helping others share the passion we have for SUP. We have been following you and all that you have done for the SUP industry. Thanks for all of the inspiration and knowledge you share so well.
Adventure Recreation LLC
adventurerecreation.co ( this is not a typo )
Thanks so much Lucija and Matt, and to the many others that wrote me and shared their SUP weight loss stories. As SUP grows so does the opportunity for more people to get fit and healthy. I really encourage those new to the sport to take the opportunity and feel and experience what all the buzz is about. As I always say, SUP will change your life.
To see all of my articles about how to get stronger for the sport of SUP, go to:
I ride Naish boards. The line up for 2012 is unreal! We’ll have up to 31 boards like last year and the lines, designs and graphics are killer. I’m so stoked for the winter, monster swells and for some exciting Maliko runs. Check out the current line up here: