Archive for March, 2011

1st Annual ADLER PADDLER – Race Event

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

This is a free race but bring some money to buy an awesome event t-shirt, enter the Raffle for some great prizes, and if you don’t have a SUP board, if you arrive early you can “rent’ a board for a donation to the cause. Registration starts as early as 8 am. Race starts at 10am.

Last year our good friend and avid Stand Up Paddler Steve Adler died unexpectedly to what we later found out was a genetic disorder that caused him to suffer a Aortic Aneurism. Paddle With Purpose has teamed up with the John Ritter Foundation and the Thoracic Aortic Disease Coalition to help raise awareness for this disorder and educate people so that we can hope to save other lives. Because of Steve’s death and with the help of the John Ritter Research Foundation, Steve’s brother was diagnosed with the same disorder, and his life was saved!

Proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards Steve’s fourteen year old son, Clark Adler’s College Fund as well as the John Ritter Foundation, educational material will be on hand provided by the TADcoalition. Amy Yasbeck, John Ritter’s Widow, will also be doing a book signing at the event.

We hope that this race/paddle will appeal to serious racers, paddlers interested in exploring the world of racing, recreational paddlers, families, friends, as well as people who just want to be a part of something for a really great cause.

So help spread the word and come on out Sunday, March 20th 2011 for the 1st Annual ADLER PADDLER.

For more info visit
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Get your mind right – Dave Kalama

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

I’ve offered quite a bit of technical information over the last year playing with this blog. Hopefully some of it helped you. But I’m continuing to learn new things myself, both about my own approach to challenges and about coaching. One thing I’ve discovered is how important mind set is. I guess I’ve known it all along, but lately that fact seems to be pushed at me in new ways.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to wander off into psychobabble. First of all, I’m not qualified, and second I’m just not all that touchy-feely. But in looking back over the instructional articles I’ve written, I see that I refer fairly often to the mental aspect of meeting challenges. I’ve kind of glossed over it and left just enough of a trail to connect the dots yourself. But I think I should address it straight on: Mind set and/or intention can have a huge influence on performance.

For example, the other day I was teaching someone to surf, and they were having a lot of trouble committing to the act of standing up once they caught the wave. So I told them they looked like they were standing up to go clean a toilet (meaning not very motivated). I want you to stand up like you are going to get a double dip of coffee Haagen Dazs. As soon as I said that I could see their whole attitude change from “maybe I can” to “you bet I will”.

Just a tiny swing in intention can give a significant chance of success. Sure enough that’s just what happened. I know they were ready to quit–to paddle in disgusted with surfing. Instead they stayed out another hour, had some real success, and most likely will be a surfer for life. Besides helping them it also reminded me how significant mind set is, not only for myself, but for instruction as well.

Anyone is far more likely to succeed in executing a challenging task if they are motivated to believe they can do it. In my experience the best way to make them believe is to give them a mental connection to something they can already do. That’s why I usually ask lots of question at the beginning of a coaching session to find things that I will be able to relate my explanations to. If I can explain something to a person in terms that already make sense to them then I can most likely get them to do what I’m trying to teach them.

I think people build a mental picture that helps them aim for a goal. If they can imagine achieving what ever goal they have set for themselves they can get there quicker. I think the connection to things people already can do helps them break the goals into manageable pieces, They can imagine achieving something much closer to their current ability, and when they get there they can appreciate the success. If the only mental picture you have is of pulling off a driving cutback when you haven’t successfully popped up on a board yet, you aren’t connected to a goal that’s going to improve your current performance. If your mental picture is something like “I’m going to pop up on this board like I’m excited to get there”, then you will, and you’ll taste success.

Mood is also just as important. So if you can relate the current task to a past pleasurable experience then most likely the mind will be more engaged in the specific goal or task, thus the mention of coffee ice cream (hey, I know it works for me). Involuntarily you get an internal smile because that thought makes you happy. That’s the perfect mind set to being physically and mentally open, to learning new movements and balances. If you can create that good mood prior to learning or for that matter racing, performing, or competition, you give yourself the best chance of success. That’s not to say you put your head in the clouds and walk around in la la land. You’ve got to be focused on the task at hand. But if you do it with a positive confident attitude, it can make all the difference in the world.

Let me know what you think. I’d like to hear how you focus your mind on goals and keep yourself motivated. For that matter, anyone out there teaching or coaching folks, I love to hear how you maintain motivation and focus in your students.

Visit Dave’s site: A Waterman’s Journal: Dave Kalama

Event – Surftech SUP SHOOTOUT at the Lane Paddleboard Race

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Paddleboard raceThis premier international SUP surf event includes many U.S. and International Athletes including two time defending Shootout Champion, Southern California’s  CHUCK PATTERSON, Hawaiian’s ZANE SCHWEITZER and CANDICE APPLEBY, Central California’s PETER TROW and Oregon’s DAN GAVERE along with local rippers John Griffith, Michael Roberts, Ward Coffey, Kevin Miske, Ed Guzman and more. We expect the Elite Field will be the deepest and most competitive to date drawing SUP surfers from all over the globe. Also competing in this world class event, will be intermediate SUP surfers from up and down the coast who will compete for bragging rights at the long lined up walls of “Indicators”.

It’s a Race!
New this year Surftech introduces the SURF & SAND DUEL-ATHLON SUP race. This event will take place on Saturday, March 19th and will be great fun for all racing enthusiasts. The race will commence at Cowell’s Beach with a 2.7 mile paddle out to the Santa Cruz Harbor and back followed by a short half-mile beach sprint. This will be the finish for the NOVICE division while the ELITE paddlers will head back out on the water for the final 3.7 mile paddle leg and finishing up with a half-mile sand sprint to the finish.

Register here

[youtube][/youtube] – New Retractable Handle by SUP Think Tank!

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Check out this new product!

The new LIFTSUP is an essential addition to your new Stand Up Paddleboard. Developed by Matt Friedman and Brian Szymanski, both exponential professionals in the paddleboard industry, this new retractable handle for stand up paddleboards is designed to reduce damage to the board and reduce the potential of injury to the athlete. It also reduces general hand fatigue while transporting the board and helps the paddler pick up, put down and lift the board onto a car or rack.

This alleviates the anxiety associated with handling boards that are usually longer, wider and more cumbersome than other board sport equipment. I tried it on a 10’0″ and I found it simple to use and very affective in moving the board around, even in some really awkward situations. It’s sits flush and and felt extremely solid – it definitely lowers the anxiety of having to deal with a large board and it was easy to use even for the girls. Choose your next SUP with a LIFTSUP installed, you won’t be sorry!

Check it out at

Dave Kalama – Kalama’s 50/50

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

As my coaching efforts increase, so does the necessity to be creative with my explanations of what I’m trying to convey. You can only say “Reach, Dammit, Reach” so many times before your student only hears “blah, blah, blah”. So I came up with a simple paddle exercise and a drill that does all the explaining for me, exhibits why reaching is so much more efficient, and helps you build a good reach into your stroke. I named it the Kalama 50/50 because that’s how we’re going to analyze your stroke. Not the most memorable name ever, but hey, at least fifty doesn’t begin with a K.

This exercise is for any kind of paddling, and it’s effective whether you try it in an OC-1, a SUP or even something low performance like a rotomolded kayak.

Use a more traditional Hawaiian style stroke for this exercise. A Tahitian stroke already emphasizes the front part of the stroke so it won’t show reach efficiency as clearly. This is a two part drill to show the effects of reaching versus paddling past your half way point of the stroke. What you are going to do is break the stroke into two parts, the front half and the back half. Then, once your mind wraps around the reality that reach is more important than power, we can work on the second part, making you faster and much, much more efficient.

First, a little prep. Sit in your OC, kayak, or stand on your board in your trimmed position and reach as far as you can. Loosen your grip on the paddle, stack your upper shoulder to the keep the paddle vertical. Push your lower shoulder forward as far as you can and let your upper shoulder move back to balance the movement. Let your top hand come a bit over your head. Strain forward a bit, reaching as far as you can. Mark the spot where the blade would touch your boat or board with contrasting tape so you can see it easily. Get back on the board or boat and try to get past the tape. Move the tape to whatever new spot you come up with. When you have as good a reach as you can do with moderate strain that’s your target. As you learn to use muscle stretch to increase your reach you’ll go well past it, but that’s for another time.

Now stroke a few times with your traditional stroke and see where you’re pulling out the paddle. In a canoe it’s probably somewhere around your waist, on a SUP it might be somewhere around your toes. If it’s past your waist or toes that’s fine, we want your natural stroke. People who paddle well past their feet are the most surprised by how little power that develops. Mark that paddle exit point with contrasting tape.

Now take your tape measure and find the midpoint between the two tape strips. Put a third strip there.

First I want you to just paddle the back half of your stroke for a few hundred feet. Put the paddle in at the mid mark and pull back as far as you want and as hard as you want. Just make sure that when you do the second half of the drill, you exert the same effort. Make a mental note of the speed and acceleration you generate. Now I want you to do only the front half of the stroke for a few hundred feet. Reach as far forward as you can and only pull back to the middle tape mark. Now make a mental note of the speed and acceleration, if you are able to use a GPS in the monitoring of the experiment, even better, but it’s such a big difference that you really won’t need it. I’ll let the results speak for themselves.

Here’s a video that illustrates the drill:

But DON’T just watch the video and say “okay, I’m convinced, I don’t need to do the drill, I’ll reach harder”. There’s a big difference between watching a demonstration and experiencing the feelings. You wouldn’t even think of learning to ride a bicycle by watching a video. Your body needs to be convinced, it needs to know where power comes from. It can’t be just a theory.

Now here’s the second part. Now that you are convinced, I want you to leave the tape in place and concentrate on your reach and SMOOTHNESS for the next few weeks. Do not push to apply power. Adding power to your stroke is the easiest thing you can do, but it covers up all the technical flaws and mistakes in your paddling and it will not make you fast. Watch Danny Ching paddle some day. Sure, the dude has some shoulders, but his reach is huge, his application of catch and pull is so smooth the water just gurgles, and if he’s working hard it doesn’t show. Sure, he has a twenty year head start on you, but he didn’t get great by practicing mistakes, and neither will you.

Focus on reaching the tape with every stroke. Keep your form as clean as you can so your muscle memory for a good stroke will start to embed. Shoulders stacked, relaxed twist, Reach, Dammit, Reach, and then apply power gently and smoothly. Stop applying power as you reach the middle tape and just do the recovery however you’re used to doing it–right now we don’t care much about that piece. We’re focused on reach and smoothness now, don’t add any more complexity, this is tough enough.

Keep your cadence slow and hesitate slightly just before you push the paddle in order to load your upper body to it’s full potential and then unload on the paddle as you drive it down into the water. Some time in the first few hours of practicing this you will suddenly find this magical moment when your stroke merges with your boat or board, and everything flows effortlessly forward. It may not last, but you’ll know what we’re shooting for.

It’s quite a simple drill but it really helps to illustrate what part of the stroke is most important to focus on, and also shows why the Tahitians would spend most of their time focusing on the most effective part of the stroke. Hopefully after you’re convinced about how important reaching is, you’ll be inspired to focus on all the techniques that help you to maximize your reach to get the most out of your effort. I’ll show you more later, but for now, Reach, Dammit, Reach. Have fun.

Visit Dave’s site: A Waterman’s Journal: Dave Kalama

Dave Kalama Story – Possessed

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

About four years ago, Laird and I had concocted a plan to Stand up paddle across all the major channels in Hawaii and ride our bikes across every island, in an effort to help support our friend Don King, who was making a documentary about raising a autistic child.  He needed some money to finish the project and Laird and I needed something to occupy our comfortable summer with some type of pain and suffering.  It seemed like a great idea at the time of inception but turned out to be way more than I bargained for, but that’s par for the course when you run with a like minded, slightly skewed, well intended, but over zealous type like Laird (meant in the best way possible).  In the end, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

While there are numerous stories to pick from, for this article I’d like to share an experience that I had while paddling between Oahu and Kauai.

NAISH featured at REI

We started from Kaena point at ten thirty at night, hoping that we would get to Kauai before sunset the following evening.  That channel can be done in the course of a day but unfortunately for us the winds were blowing Kona.  Not strongly but nonetheless the opposite direction you want for paddling that channel. With trades it’s 12 to 15 hours, with Konas 18 +.  I honestly thought when we jumped in the water we were just playing a game of chicken, because neither one of us was going to back down–the Kauai channel is hard enough when the wind is blowing with you, it’s just unimaginable when the wind is against you.  But in classic testosterone-fueled fashion, neither one of us was going to be the first to say uncle, so we paddled on into the night and for the next twenty two hours.

Somewhere around one or two the next day, Laird had managed to get at least a mile ahead, probably closer to two.  It was weighing on me heavily at the time because I wanted this to be something we did together–literally.  But over the course of about three hours Laird was really maintaining a faster pace then I could.  When I first started to consider a push, to try and catch up, it seemed unimaginable.  After paddling for at least fifteen hours at that point, where would I find the energy to make a push like that?  I waffled back and forth for about twenty minutes trying to decide if it was a smart thing to do.  If I went too hard, I might kill my chances of even making it, and after paddling that far I did not want to come up short.  So I came up with lots of sound reasons to just maintain my pace and finish the journey. But I would have finished in the dark and probably an hour or two behind Laird.  No shame in finishing second to Laird right?  Wrong!

This was a moment in my life, where I was presented with a true challenge. Not a game of chicken with a friend or a challenge from a drinking buddy, but one that could possibly define me.  Define what was inside, define what I stood for, define my very soul.  Was I going to be content to just finish, or was I going to stand up to a task that just seemed unfathomable at a point where everything sensible told me to be smart, conserve my energy and finish.  So to get my mind right for the challenge I used a technique I employ when I am being worked by a big wave.  I compartmentalize the situation and just try to manage the task right in front of me.  Don’t try to manage the whole thing at once, just deal with what’s right at your finger tips.  And then after a few seconds deal with the next thing that’s at your finger tips and so on.  That way you make your path through a tough situation one small manageable step at a time rather than overwhelming yourself with the whole ball of wax.

So with that in mind, the first thing I attacked was my breathing.  Starting slow at first and very cautiously increasing at an almost unmeasurable pace forward.  In my mind I kept saying to myself  ’just go for a little while and see how you feel’, being careful not to try and catch up all at once.  After about five minutes I felt like I was playing with fire but still under control, so I thought I would turn up the focus on breathing for a while then turn up the intensity of my stroke.  This went on back and forth for about twenty minutes and by this point I was starting to work myself into a bit of a lather.  I had focused so much on my breathing that it had literally sucked me into a trance.  I looked up occasionally  to see if my effort was making any difference and for the first half hour it was hard to tell because he was so far ahead of me.  And then one time I looked up and YES!  It was making a difference.  So that fueled the fire and I took my breathing to a full blown possessed inhale and exhale, which in turn sucked me into a complete paddle frenzy.  So much so, I distinctly remember saying to myself ‘I don’t care if I make the paddle across the channel, I will catch Laird if it takes my last breath’.  I had managed to work myself into a full blown possessed paddle frenzy, and I don’t say that lightly.  I’ve never experienced anything like it before or since, but at least I know it’s in there. If I ever really needed to call upon it again I hope I could find it, but I’m not sure.

What I think was unique about this was not that I had got myself into that state, but rather that I maintained it for about an hour and a half to two hours.  I remember seeing Laird’s escort boat captain Donny looking back when I started to get closer and doing the full double take with his head, as if to say, ‘you’re not supposed to be there, you were just a couple miles back’.  During most of that time I had never considered what I would do if I actually caught him.  I was so focused on paddling, but as I began to near I thought to myself, ‘now what are you going to do if you actually catch him’?  I hadn’t put much thought into that part of the equation but it started to dawn on me that, yeah I might have caught him but now can you stay with him after expending that much energy to catch up?  I didn’t know. I was in a very vulnerable place.  When I finally did catch up and Laird turned around and saw that I was ten feet behind him, it was one of the most satisfying moments of my athletic career.

Winning prestigious down-wind or channel races is great don’t get me wrong, but people expect me to do well.  I expect me to do well, so there’s a bit of this: I’m only doing what is expected of me. But this time, I didn’t expect it, and anyone that really knows Laird knows what a physical freak he is.  True, some of his strength is God given, but nobody out works him when it comes to preparation, not even me.  He’s not just the kind of strong that comes from weights, that strength is accessible to anyone.  His might comes from within, within his heart and his mind.  There is never doubt in his actions, there is never caution in his movements, only confidence. To me that is real strength.


Giant Wave SUP – Stand Up Paddling Hawaii

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Keali’i Mamala, Garrett McNamara and other top stand up paddlers ride giant waves on Oahu’s North Shore – one that is most likely the largest wave ever ridden on a SUP