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SUP Pro Talk with Suzie Cooney

Improve Balance & Reaction Time: Indo Board Training Gear & Suzie on the New “Gigante” 24″ Disc

Maui Wave Action!

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


Surf Stronger Order This!

Maui SUP Surf Maliko Downwinder with Suzie Cooney and Dual GoPro Cameras

MAUI, Hawaii: June 8, 2012 For those who’ve wondered what it’s like to paddle out of the Maliko Gulch to the Harbor, well here ya go! Be sure to watch whole thing to see “what happens…”

Turn up the volume, sit back get inspired and see the action from two GoPro Cameras mounted on the Naish 14ft Glide. Full throttle…


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Capture your action, get the GoPro Hero2:

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Mahalo to GoPro, Naish, IndoBoard, Kaenon and Jon Ham and Jeremy Riggs for inspiring me.

Aloha Suzie Cooney, CPT Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC

Also, to join my confidential mailing list and receive lots of great tips and more, go here:

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Announcing at Lumeria Maui Suzie Cooney on Water Sports Specialist Team

Suzie Cooney, Maui Hawaii

Lumeria Maui is pleased to announce the addition of two professional athletes to our watersports faculty. Legendary surfers Suzie Cooney and Buzzy Kerbox will be spearheading the Lumeria Maui watersports program, offering classes in surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, wind surfing and kite surfing. Visitors may sign up for classes to enhance their stay at Lumeria and on Maui.  Experience the “sport of kings”!  Please see our watersports page for more information about our watersports classes and activities!

Sign up for Suzie’s May 2012 Stand-Up Paddling Fitness Experience at Lumeria Maui! Limited space is available! More information can be found here.


Balanced SUP Training to Help Prevent Injury Part One by Suzie Cooney for Naish

( Article written by Suzie Cooney, CPT for Naish International ) Direct link, 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.


photos by Simone Reddingius

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:

SUP3Stand 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:

SUP4The 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

April 30 OluKai and Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui hosted a second “Practice” Fun Paddle from Paia

Saturday April 30th, 2011, Maui’s beautiful N. Shore attracted 72 paddlers of all ages and levels of experience for our second three mile Ohana OluKai Practice Fun Paddle!  With only two weeks away from the Third Annual OluKai Ho’olaule’a, we welcomed  SUP paddlers, prone paddlers and Heather our OC1  paddler; joined us from Paia Bay to the lifeguard tower at Kanaha Beach Park, in preparation for the New Ohana Fun Paddle @ 9AM, May 14th, 2011.

This paddle was our second practice paddle since our first April 2nd, 2011 was such a huge success. Click here to see the video. We wanted to share again and encourage families, new paddlers and those who’ve never done a down winder, to come and build their confidence.

Peter Swanzy and Julianna Prater from Paia Youth and Cultural Center had five youth from 13 to 14 years old join in the practice paddle. The youth have been training with Pete and Julianna over the last month and their training paid off as this was the first time that these youth had paddled this 3 mile distance. A huge sense of accomplishment and pride way to go! We also had paddlers from Sweden, Nevada and England participate.

For some, this was the first or second time ever experiencing a coast run. After everyone signed in, had a little morning coffee and juice, we all gathered as Matthew Murasko, OluKai Hawaii Ambassador,  announced our 3 mile course.

Then the ice chest was turned over to me, and I stood up and asked everyone to join me in some warm up exercises and jumping jacks to shake off any pre-paddle  jitters or butterflies!

The conditions were perfect and inviting. The trades were light at about 10 knots that provided for some fun glides.

The first group of paddlers arrived to Kanaha in 30 minutes and the last group arrived in 60 minutes. Upon completion paddlers were treated to water, juice, granola bars and Whoopie Pies, a chocolate cake-vanilla ice cream confection handmade by my boyfriend Tommy Callan.

Mahalo to the Maui lifeguards ( Tony Colletta ) from Baldwin Tower and Kanaha Tower for PWC saftey…and special mahalo also to Milton Martinson of Haiku for PWC water safety as well as SUP water safety guards, Chris Pagdilao, John Smalley, Joshua Kjorven, Randy Royse. Also lending a hand and expertise, Deb Driscoll and Blair Thorndike.

We’d also like to thank the crews at the Naish Maui Pro Center and Second Wind for providing a few extra boards for the kids from the youth center.

I know this paddle provided many an amazing, life-changing ocean experience. I was touched to see everyone supporting one another out there and on the beach. For others it was a chance to encourage their loved ones and friends to go to the next level. Well done.

Keep up that that training!  The real OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle is May 14 at 9am, same place, same course. Arrive by 8am and Register at Entry Fee for the 3 mile OluKai Ohana Fun Paddle is $20 and includes one luau dinner wristband.

Aloha and thanks for supporting in community.

Suzie Cooney, CPT  Suzie Trains Maui SUP Clinic/Director/ Instructor   SUP Team Rider for Naish

A Four Star Stand Up Paddling Adventure at the Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica by Suzie Cooney January 2011

A Four Star Stand Up Paddling Adventure at the Zancudo Lodge in Costa Rica
by Suzie Cooney January 2011

Exploring by SUP in Costa Rica

One of many gorgeous sunsets!

I’m fortunate to live in a paradise called Maui, however after recently returning from a new found paradise in Southern Costa Rica, I can now appreciate my new discovery of one of the most beautiful, friendly, places on earth.  Warm water, waves and beautiful accommodations is what I discovered.  (see all photos below in slide shows )

I was kindly invited by Gregg Mufson, the owner of the Zancudo Lodge; to experience what I can easily say was a first class, four star adventure. Our mission was to scout out the waters, meet the gracious staff and survey the grounds for my SUP stand up paddling clinic he is hosting this April 2011.

On New Year’s  day, my  arrival to the city of San Jose, Costa Rica I encountered a very smooth transfer from the helpful driver at the airport to the exquisite Intercontinental Hotelwith a comfortable suite.  The next morning, after a delicious breakfast buffet, the same driver appeared on time in the lobby ready to take me to local airport where again they welcomed me by first name. Off I went on the modern SANSA plane to Golfito where I would then be greeted by another driver to the boat, which would take me on an exciting ride to the lodge.   

Plane ride to town of Golfito

The short plane ride down to the lodge was amazing. Below you could see the gorgeous Dulce coast and the dense jungles with many farms that were scattered throughout. 
The plane touched down easily on a small strip and the airport itself had so much character and flavor with, once again my driver looking for me before I could grab my bags!

The colorful town of Golfito reminded me of mine, Paia in Maui. Although we only have one stop light, they have none. The population is roughly 450 people with quaint shops and restaurants and smiles everywhere.  My driver spoke very good English so that was helpful to me, since my espanol could have used some practice.

Like clockwork, as I was comfortably waiting at the marina, along came one of the 15 boats from the Zancudo Lodge. The captain welcomed me, grabbed my bags and off we went down the waterways to the lodge. The air was warm and the jungles we passed very thick and I wondered what or who lived in them. On occasion I’d see a gorgeous private bungalow too. 

Gregg himself was at the dock and helped me to land. All of his boats were lined up to serve and accommodate us for our private SUP adventures. I was very impressed! My bags were taken for me and I was escorted to the main hall and delighted with a fabulous lunch. The staff made me feel right at home.

My 600 square foot private bungalow was fabulous. I opened the door and thought I had entered the Four Seasons or a modern W hotel.  Gregg’s wife, Goldine Wang  has impeccable taste and appointed the room just perfectly. This stand alone suite I was in, also called the Junior Suite was  gorgeous. It had rare purpleheart hard wood floors, open ceilings with bright light, air conditioning, a very comfortable king size bed, complementary WIFI, flat screen TV, safe deposit box, beautiful bamboo linens and of course a cozy robe and personal slippers.  It also had a private sitting terrace. (more photos below)

In the main part of the lodge, the other 12 rooms were appointed in a similar fashion,350 square feet,  but had 2 plush, full beds  and are just steps away from the main dining hall and bar, adjacent to the inviting pool with teak, comfortable, padded chase lounges. 

One can also reserve the impressive Master Suite which is beach front, 1200 square feet, inlcudes a home theatre, separate bedroom and large living space with an outdoor lanai perfect to enjoy the sunsets.

Although I had a bit of jet lag, Gregg was very eager to get us on the water and paddling! I needed the rest of the day to adjust and enjoyed walking on the beach right in front of the lodge that seemed to extend for miles.  The water is warm and it’s great for shell hunting.

The weekend I arrived, New Years, is a busy holiday for the local Ticos.  The beach was lively and full of warm and friendly waves and smiles. Gregg said that

One can walk for miles on the beach in front of the lodge

tomorrow, it would be dead and very quiet. He was right. The beaches were empty and it was great to stroll as the only one on the beach.

My dinner the first night was outstanding.  As a treat, Gregg had a visiting chef named Stephan who prepared us a special shrimp appetizer skewered on sugar cane with a light, tasty lime drizzle.  Wow! To follow, a lovely plate of fresh vegetables harvested from the property, fresh dorado caught that day and a side salad.

Finally,  the next day our first SUP exploration out in the Bay. Gregg is a stickler for being on time and ready to go, and I appreciate that. Boards, paddles and cooler were loaded already on the boat and at 7am we left the harbor! On the boat, an impressive, powerful 32 footer,  Wilson, the first mate and captain Tito were so friendly and really knew these waters.  The ride was exiting and sure enough, as planned a nice mellow swell just south of the lodge. We have a code not to share the name of breaks for fear it will be over populated. Trust me, it was awesome. You’ll just have to go and ride it for yourself.

We anchored the boat and paddled to the break that was peeling left all day long. Consistent, nice A shaped, and wow, talk about long rides!?!?    Crazy!  With only 4 of us on the break, you could easily get in 20+ rides or more if you could handle it. Gregg and Sean were showing me the way pointing out the best sweet spot and where the sand bar began.

Sloan charging!

 These are very helpful tips when arriving to a new spot. Second time SUP rookie, Sloan, a fisherman from New York was handling his board really well. Gregg was just a paddling machine and we had a hard time pulling him off the waves when it was time to go.


Although it was only 9 AM, it felt like 1 or 3pm, for we are much closer to the equator. I was sure to lather up some heavy duty sunscreen.  If you needed, you  could paddle back to the boat, grab a drink and head back out. What service!

Still recovering from a bit of jet lag, I rode all the waves I need to be absolutely convinced that I did not want to leave this place and explore more waves and other water adventures. Di and Yvonne were also charging. At times when I looked over at them, I thought to myself, “wow here comes a decent set and there they were, still paddling and smiling big.”  They were stoked!

Back to the lodge, cooling down after an excellent session with new friends, lunch was already being prepared. The menu is fabulous for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have to say, although as a trainer, their French fries and special BLT sandwiches were delicious.  Topped off with a nice cool drink,  I was ready for a siesta in one of the hammocks that are perfectly strung under to gorgeous palms with views to die for. 

Time seems to stand still there and although this was a semi-working trip I felt pretty relaxed. Often, before dinner, some would grab a volleyball game. Just before dinner is served is when the paddlers and the other guests tend to gather in the main lodge hall.  We were treated fresh lime ceviche and I have to admit a nice cold Imperial or my favorite, Corona beer went well!

All the people I met staying at the lodge were friendly and eager to be social. I met nice folks from all over escaping the cold East coast storms.  I, of course encouraged everyone to try stand up paddling. Some raised an eyebrow very curious and others actually signed up with the instructor the next day.

When the rest of my crew, Yvonne and Di of Laster Heathman Media arrived we planned a fitness afternoon with Gregg and the other guest for and INDO Board demo day Luckily Marvin Ortiz, professional photographer was on hand to capture some of the laughter and everyone hanging ten on this new training gear that all the trainers will use for the SUP clinics scheduled in April.  Yvonee, Di, Gregg, Sloan and Elie were rock stars!

Here’s a link to all the fun on that day:

monkeys spotted in the jungle!

I think one of the most memorable days was paddling to the wild animal sanctuary and along the way I, DI and Yvonne I think were spotted first by these darling red Spider monkeys, curiously swinging from tree top to tree top. I thought to myself, “WOW” this alone was worth the 16 hour plane ride. The waters along the jungle were a beautiful turquoise blue and green. I could see lots of sea life below, including star fish and other brightly colored fish.

We left the boards with the captain, and hopped off the boat and soon began a guided tour through the jungle.  Marvin was our chaperone.  We were told not to wear watches, earrings or especially sunglasses, for the monkeys are quick and will steal them off you in a moment and head up a tree. Most glasses we were told do not survive.

This particular wild nature preserve also rescues injured birds and other creatures of the jungle. We learned a great deal about toucans and other exotic animals.  The tour itself lasts about 2 hours, but we had to rush back to the lodge for a live radio show broadcast to SUP radio to tell the world about this magical place to stand up paddle.

We had had a full day. Nearing the end our fun filled week, tonight before dinner, Gregg offered to be my partner and teach me the game of bocce ball. He is quite the competitor and has a unique style all his own.    Di as well, you could tell she was a very experienced player and a little competitive too!

This professional grade bocce ball court is very special. Gregg spared no expense when he personally had over 1500 pounds of crushed oyster shellsimported all the way from Bellingham, Washington. He’s pretty serious and so were some of his other guests. I had a blast and learn quickly about back spin and bumping other balls.  This was a great way to catch the most gorgeous sunsets of the day and work up an appetite before dinner.  The warm tropical breezes were always present, and now and then a quick squall of rain would sneak through.

I miss my compadres, Di and Yvonne, I was very sad to pack my bags and leave this special place. I thought Maui was the best for stand up paddling, well I’ve been proven wrong. What the Zancudo Lodge is offering to all levels of stand up paddlers, is an exceptional property and warm waters for everyone.  Gregg’s qualified staff can help. He can arrange private rides to best breaks, or you can simply carry your board right from the lodge to the ocean. You are literally steps away. Should the wind pick up in the afternoon, the boat can take you out to see as far as you like for what are called down winders.  I recommend this for the experienced ocean folks and experienced paddlers.  I’m sure Gregg will want to join you!

Gregg and Goldine, thank you for an experience of a life time and I will be back in April. Your hospitality and ability to make everyone feel so welcome is evident as to why you are such a success.  I am telling everyone I know to not only come this spring for the SUP clinics, but really make an effort to see what this lodge has to offer.  Simply magnifico!

“Pura Vida”

Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui


photos provided by Martin Ortiz, Di and me.

Women of all ages and all SUP levels, come join me here at the Zancudo Lodge and let’s have some fun paddling and getting in great shape.  We will have other adventurous activities planned as well. Book your reservation now. Space is limited!  Click here for more details.

You can also visit: http//

The Zancudo Lodge
Ph: 800-854-8791

Stand Up Paddle Action with Suzie Cooney

Turn up the volume and check out this action packed video produced by Suzie Cooney of  Suzie Trains Maui and InVision Maui Productions.  Filmed here on Maui’s N. Shore, wave action at Kanaha and a few scenes from a big swell day where the easterly swell tapped in at 8-9 feet and the winds were blowing from 40-50 mph! Suzie is a SUP Team Rider For Naish. In this video, she’s riding the 9’0″ Mana and the 14′ Glide. 

Hope you enjoyed the video.  Get out and charge!

See YOU on the water….

Suzie Cooney, Suzie Trains Maui

Suzie Cooney is a Team SUP Rider for Naish International.    She also contributes as their fitness expert in SUP training. For all of her articles and tips go to: also check out:

Also on You Tube:

New Intro to Stand Up Paddling Video Maui Hawaii

Check out this new, fun video produced on Maui by Tommy Callan of Beach Boy Events and Suzie Cooney, of Suzie Trains Maui. Enjoy this simple production of stand up paddling or SUP and also learn a few exercises to keep you in shape and stay strong.Intro to SUP VideoStand up paddling surfing also known as SUP can be enjoyed by just about anyone. The purpose of this short video is to demonstrate the simple techniques to get you on your way.  Aloha, Suzie
Don’t forget to register for STAND UP For Women’s Health and Fitness at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, January 9, 2010. You must register to particpate and win fun prizes. This non-competitive event is FREE to the women of Maui and the guests at the Four Seasons. Check out for more info, or register here.

For permission and rights to use this video on your site or other applications contact:

Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui     

SUP Logo New



or Tommy Callan of Beach Boy Events





Video Production : InVision Maui ProductionsIMP fish logo copy   Carl Rozycki 808-250-4095