By Alice Shih, edited by Kate Masri
It was a calm night. The only light came from the thin beams of our headlamps, and the only sounds besides our footsteps were frogs and crickets echoing across the dark lake. We’d decided to do a late night photo shoot, so I was carrying my paddle and board through the cool, wet grass to the lake’s edge while my husband Toni stayed back on the hill with his camera. I pointed my headlamp out onto the lake and it sent a single beam of light out onto the still, black mirror of the lake’s surface. I turned back to look at Toni one last time before launching my board into the darkness.
I glided further away from the shore, my paddle disappearing into the black water below. I could just make out Toni’s small silhouette on the hill. As I tried to stand still, I saw something small and black move towards me on the board. When I looked down I saw more and more of them and began to panic as they closed in on my feet. I tried to stay still as Toni took the picture, not wanting to cause a blurred photo, but after a short while I couldn't take it anymore so I called to Toni and paddled quickly back to shore. When I got close, he was already at the water’s edge and looking at my board, which was spotted with many creepy creatures. He told me to quickly get off the board, and I climbed back to shore as fast as I could, my heart pounding. Once I was back on land, Toni told me that the slimy creatures on my board were leeches! I looked on with disgust as he pried each one from the board and tossed them back into the dark lake.
Unfortunately we didn’t have the right lens to capture the photos we wanted to get, but we did get a good story from the night!
It was one of those moments when you find yourself in the most jaw-dropping, beautiful place you’ve ever been; it’s picture perfect, but you don’t even bother to grab your camera because you know a photo won’t do it justice. All you can do is step out into the scene and become a part of the picture.
We hope that you’ll find yourself in that moment where you get to be a part of your own picture-perfect scene. Every time you step onto your Paddleboard just remember that you aren’t just watching from the sidelines, you’re "in the picture."
This was shot at Moraine Lake, in Banff National Park, AB.
Written by Kate Masri
Stand Up Paddleboarding allows you to explore and experience health and fitness in a whole new light. My training style is functional training first, then we load and fire full force. There's a million and one ways I could show you how to do this, but for now we'll keep it simple.
The simple act of standing and paddling on a board uses your stabilizer and abdominal muscles. Core Training in any workout targets the muscle groups in the mid-section of our bodies, essentially joining our lower bodies to our upper bodies.
Training on unbalanced surfaces is very effective for building the core muscle groups, (stomach and lower back) and for training muscles to fire in co-coordinated ways so that the benefits are immediately transferable to other dynamic sports and activities. It's almost as if your core and abdominal muscles are "gripping" the board. In turn, you work on conditioning your back, arms, legs and even your toes and feet while paddling.
A good half hour on a paddle board will make you sweat for sure. Once you get acquainted to SUPing, it's like any other rigorous exercise -- an excellent cardiovascular activity -- however it is also uplifting and relaxing in a way few other sports can match. It's all about fun and celebrating the beauty of the outdoors so don't let your doubts hold you back, get out on the water and master paddle boarding today!
Written by Alison Calder
Recently we sat down with Mala Collective to talk about SUPing, meditation, and some beautiful jewelry.
Check it out here
Wen–Ling Chou aka: Tim Mei
Paiwen Team/ SUP Surfer
Date of birth: March 11th 1987.
Resident: Hengchun Town, Pingtung County, Taiwan.
Languages: speaks and writes Chinese, Japanese and English.
Stance: Goofy foot.
Favorite waves: Jialeshuei Taiwan, Noosa Heads Australia and Riyuewan Hainan Island.
Favorite maneuver: Nose riding and round house cut back.
Inspiration: Joel Tudor, Kassia Meador and Steph Gilmore.
When did you get into Stand Up Paddleboarding?
I remember the very first time that I surfed on SUP was three years ago when I was living in Australia, you know, lots people SUP there… One afternoon my friends and I were so bored since the wave was super tiny so we decided to try something different or things we never do just to find the excitement, so we got off the couch and went SUP Surfing. It’s different from surfing on regular surfboards and very challenging, and I think I got into it since I caught a wave and literally surf on it (so stoked), but I never get a chance to do it continuously as I said. Great
thing is that I met the Paiwen team last year and got a chance to pick it up again, now I can SUP whenever I want here in Taiwan, it is great!! (Smile)
It has many benefits… We all know doing exercise like running, swimming and so on 30 minutes three times a week will keep you in good shape and build up your energy level, it’s just the same but more fun, It’s fun because it’s friendly. For me as an athlete I have been told/taught that I have to do different kinds of workouts to keep my body strength, now comes a perfect choice which allows me to combine training and surfing together for more fun, so why not SUP?
Do you think it's important that there is a women's specific
Of course! I’ve surfed on different kinds of SUPs, choosing a nice board that fits you it key. Having a shorter, lighter SUP designed specifically for females is definitely a plus, it helps to pick up SUPing quicker that’s for sure!
What is your favorite Stand Up Paddleboarding route?
Ocean! There’s no word to describe the feeling of riding waves. I mean, I’d like to cruise rivers and lakes to explore that’s for sure, but as a surfer, I would like to be able to ride anything on a wave. SUP Surfing is a new challenge for me, it’s not easy but I enjoy in it. There’s no fun if it’s too easy!
About Tim Mei
Born and raised in Taiwan, Tim Mei has been surfing for 9 years now. Starting on long board which is her first love and in recent year’s also showing skill in short board riding. She started competing 6 years ago in local Taiwan competitions and from the experience decided to pursue a dream and surf internationally.
In the last three years she has competed in Japan, Australia, Mainland China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in ASP, JASP, ISC and ASC contests. For her efforts she has been awarded entry for two years running now to the ASP Worlds Women’s Swatch Pro China in Hainan. In doing so she is the youngest and the most successful female surfer from Taiwan.
She has competed in the ISC and ASC circuits Open Long board division being the only women in the division against seasoned pro men long boarders and enjoying the challenge.
Coming from a traditional Taiwanese family background, Tim Mei has fought hard to follow her ambitious dream, and with help from her family and friends has to date achieved solid success in her chosen path in life.
She has drawn from the people and new friends she has met in the journey of surfing to formulate a plan for her future. Her determination to be a success shows in her competitive nature, but her love of surfing and the experience it has given her also becomes apparent when helping others become involved to share that feeling.
In Tim Mei’s own words “There’s just so much to see and to learn by hanging around with the surfers from all over the world regardless their background and surfing level. I just want to exceed my surfing level and also get to experience different surfing lifestyle and thoughts so I can learn and hopefully share it with surfers in Taiwan.”
While she will follow her plan to surf as many competitions as she can in coming years, her long term plan is to show other girls in Taiwan and in Asia that anyone can be a success not only in surfing but in life in general, if you have a dream to follow. The spirit of life comes out when you have special happy people to help and support you regardless of the results, Tim Mei has found this spirit in the surfing family around her.
For more details on Tim Mei’s she can also be found at:
www.facebook.com/haze3110 ; http://instagram.com/wenlingchou
Owner-Shanti Yoga/ Paiwen Team - SUP Yoga Guru
written by: Kate Masri
Chantal has been practicing yoga for over a decade, and brings her experience and enthusiasm to yoga and paddleboarding. She recently started SUPing after getting her first Paiwen board, and naturally brought yoga and SUPing together. She enjoys paddleboarding near her home in Tsawwassen, and teaching yoga in her studio, as well as retreats abroad. She also loves spending time with her dog, Lola, who teaches her as much as her friends and students.
As stand up paddleboarding gains popularity around the world, people are looking for ways to improve the sport, and ways to make it competitive and more diverse. And because stand up paddleboarding (aka SUPing) is so accessible and can be done as a leisure activity, it has room to expand into something more dynamic.
This is where paddleboarding meets yoga. In the past couple of years stand up paddle board yoga or SUP yoga has taken off, bringing innovation to both activities. While yoga is typically done in a quiet, indoor space, SUP yoga brings yoga out into the wild, natural setting of oceans, rivers, or lakes. Not only that, but the ocean’s constant movement makes for a more challenging yoga practice, especially because of the importance of balance in yoga practices.
And just like SUP yoga brings new challenges and possibilities to yoga, SUP yoga also allows paddleboarding to diversify as a sport: It challenges paddlers to develop flexibility, strength, and balance in ways that cannot be achieved by merely paddling on the board.
Our friend Chantal O’Sullivan has been practicing and teaching yoga for over a decade, and believes that yoga should be, first and foremost, fun! So, it is no surprise that when she started paddleboarding after getting her first Paiwen SUP that she brought the same enthusiasm to the sport. We talked to Chantal about her experience going from yoga to paddleboarding, and how they work together as a sport.
When did you get really into SUPing?
I got my first board in 2011 and it's been so much fun. Amazing exercise and just the perfect way to be outside, on the ocean.
I live near the water in Tsawwassen so I just wheel the board to the beach, get on and go out exploring. It's a great way to unwind, relax and be out in nature. And there's so many people out SUP-ing, it's also social. In fact, my mom just got a board so it's something fun for us to do together.
Why SUP and yoga?
Yoga is all about connecting to your body, breathing and your mind. It's an amazing way to relax and to let go of stress, while opening up your entire body, head to toe. In my own life, yoga has taught me to be more present. I think these ideas can translate into anything we do off the mat, from going for a walk with your dog to really enjoying a cup of tea.
When I got my SUP from Paiwen, it seemed natural to paddle out and practice yoga surrounded by the ocean. The water is often very still and cIear here in Tsawwassen so it's perfect for yoga.
I wrote about this, and included an easy routine, in Elephant Journal. Here's the link:http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/06/sup-dog-yoga-on-a-floating-mat-chantal-osullivan/
What do you like about your Paiwen board?
Everything! It's not just good looking — sunny-looking bamboo with a styling' logo — it's also pretty smooth on the water and very stable. I love how it came with everything I needed, from the bamboo paddle to the deck pad and carry bag. It's a great board for any paddler too, so I feel confident lending it out to friends who are new to SUP since it's so user-friendly. There's almost no learning curve.
Do you think it's important that there is a women's specific paddleboard? Why?
I think paddling is for everyone and anyone. That's why it's so great and inclusive. You can literally just get on, and in a few minutes or so, feel confident to stand up and paddle. I like how Paiwen focuses on making boards for women but to be honest, my husband is always using my board. He loves it too!
What is your favorite SUPing route?
I like to put my board on it's wheels and then pull it down the road to the beach access in Boundary Bay, where I live. From there, I just carry my board to the shoreline, get on it and head out to explore the bay. On a clear day, I can paddle out towards Point Roberts and see crabs taking a walk under the water, or even some really cool fish. If I'm warm, I jump in for a swim. If I'm lazy, I just lay down on the board and watch the clouds overhead.
How are yoga and SUP similar?
Just like yoga is for everyone — not just the bendy people — I love how SUP is so accessible and great for anyone and any body. You don't have to be super fit or into extreme sports to try it. But by doing SUP, or yoga, you end up feeling stronger and fitter. You become more aware of balance and more in touch with your body. Both are great ways to exercise, and to have an amazing time too.
Anything else you'd like to add?
If you haven't tried SUP, what are you waiting for? Try it. You'll love it.
ON PAIWEN: http://chantalyoga.com/about/supyoga.html
- owner, Shanti Yoga, in Tsawwassen (www.shantiyogabc.com)
- Join Chantal on her upcoming yoga and surf retreat to Bali, Indonesia in April. (LINK here: http://www.shantiyogabc.com/eventsandworkshops.html )
- favourite food: fresh pineapple
- Facebook.com/chantalyoga + Facebook.com/shantiyogabc
Paiwen has just started a blog!
The reason for this blog is first and foremost to inspire people to get out and experience stand up paddleboarding and the best life has to offer.
What you can expect:
Beautiful photos, captured by us and other Paiwen riders.
Original videos, created by us with our partner production company Scribblevision Media.
Useful Tips. Tips relating to Stand Up Paddleboarding and other life hacks.
The Paiwen Team
Fresh News From The Paiwen Women's Paddleboarding Community