Meet Your Instructor: Nicole Harrow

At Mike's Paddle we have incredible teachers and we wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know a few through this series. In this segment, we meet Nicole Harrow of Wild Meditations based in Walnut Creek. She is one of our SUP Yoga teachers offering Half-Day Sup Yoga retreats (there is still time to join her this weekend by registering here) and Boga Yoga Flows. She will also be leading a trip to Croatia this August. You can see her full schedule here.  Learn more about why she loves SUP Yoga and what her favorite experience on the water has been thus far. 

Mike's Paddle SUP Yoga Instructor Nicole Harrow.

Mike's Paddle SUP Yoga Instructor Nicole Harrow.

 

1) Why do you love SUP Yoga?
It leaves me feeling exhilarated and connected with myself and nature.

2) Paint the picture of one experience on the water that you'll never forget?
 We were out on the bay one November morning. The water was calm and clear. A low layer of clouds covered the horizon, giving the feeling that we were in open water with no cities nearby. When I started the class a light drizzle began to fall. We continued to practice and slowly the rain began in earnest. Instead of stopping the class there was a feeling of invigoration and connection. As we raised our arms to the sky we laughed and stuck our tongues out to taste the rain! Then this magical thing happened. A seal came to observe the class! Half of his body came out of the water…he stayed like that for some time…watching us play :)

3) What do you want all your friends to know about SUP Yoga?
It is fun!! When you practice SUP yoga you feel like you are LIVING life!!

4) When you bring students onto the water, what is your main message to them? 
Open your eyes, allow everything in. Fear may come in…and this is our opportunity to play with it!

5) What's your favorite element that you connect with in your SUP Yoga practice? 
That is hard!! I have two. The feeling of the sun resting on my skin, and the sound of the water as it laps against the board.

6) What's your SUP Yoga spirit animal/creature and why?
The Pelican. There is something ancient and magical about these birds. I almost always see them when we practice at Mikes paddle. When they fly by I am reminded of dinosaurs, of the freedom of flight, of the fearlessness when they plunge into the ocean in pursuit of fish! They inspire me to be daring, raw and graceful!!

7) What's your favorite SUP yoga pose?
Standing Splits. 

8) Where would your dream SUP Vacation be?
Croatia!!!!! 

9) Anything else you'd like to share with the Mike's Paddle community? 
I am so honored to be at Mike’s paddle and to share this sacred experience with all of you!!

You're Invited: Athleta Trunk Sale

Happy Summer! This August we are hosting an Athleta Trunk Show:

Sunday August 20th from 11am-1pm

Everyone is invited to stop by the shop for an exclusive look at all of Athleta's made-for-water-and-sun clothing collection. There will be snacks and clothes to try on and buy! 

If you choose, you can join Athleta Influencer and Mike's Paddle instructor Nicolette Tura for a specialty class ($55) on the water from 10am-12pm. If you decide to join the class you will be given a special goody bag and a raffle ticket for a chance to win Athleta's beloved Pacifica 2.0 UPF-50 protected rash guard - Perfect for paddleboarding and being out in the sun! 

Athleta Specialty Class
August 20th 10-12pm

It's going to be a fun day! Throughout August there are many awesome SUP Yoga classes for you to attend whether it's one of our weekly classes, a 2-Hour Flow or a Half-Day SUP Yoga Retreat. We hope to see you on the water soon. We should all take time to enjoy the best that the Bay Area has to offer at Mike's Paddle.
 

Jen Fuller's Body Mechanics and Paddle Stroke Clinic with Team Mike's Paddle

 

Jen Fuller is a long time bay area fitness guru and elite paddler. We're excited to have her come and do a specialty clinic on body mechanics and paddle stroke! This is going to help our team members not the race team but it will definitely help all of the paddlers at Mike's Paddle!

April 1st with Jen Fuller
Body Mechanics and Paddle Stroke

Cost $25

Hi Everyone,
Some of you know me, and some of you don’t. Regardless let me introduce myself. My background is in physiology and human movement along with teaching and coaching athletes, 6 years of intense SUP racing and before that various sports including a spot on the US Olympic Windsurfing team.

I have been an exercise therapist for the past 15 years specifically using the Egoscue method plus my background in bodywork and teaching.
You can imagine what I think about when I paddle! Yikes, geek out! Really I constantly think about how to help explain paddle mechanics and how
to correct problem areas for people whether they paddle or not. What I have observed over the years is that one can teach the paddle
stroke until they are blue, but what if someone has a replaced hip or knee or something else that hinders the normal mechanical patterns? Yes, that includes being a spaz!

Here is where my approach comes in. First, when I work with someone or a group, I identify where the person/s is compensated. Helping correct as many compensations sets a functional foundation for more easily understanding and experiencing a solid paddle stroke, or whatever sport a person does. The principals I will share have worked for me over a lifetime of training and competition, all of which are extensively tested in the field and some in the lab. What we will do on Saturday April 1st is first make sure to have some good April fools Jokes up your sleeve. 2nd we will do what I call an alignment class where I will take you through some exercises you probably have not seen before. This will inevitably bring up a discussion on what you could and could not do easily and of course during class, lots of questions come up. Before we get on the water to
paddle I’ll take you through my favorite pre-race or adventure warm up.
I am really excited to have you all join me and I look forward to sharing what has helped me stay on the competition and activity game for a long time. If you have any questions or special requests let me know.
 

Halloween is coming!

Halloween is the best holiday in the bay area because who doesn't like dressing up? This year Mike's Paddle is prepared to give away great prizes for the best costume!

On October 29th, we have a lot planned. Malia Hill is going to host a special Halloween Edition of her popular Boga Yoga Flow class ($45) Mike Wang is going to lead a social paddle ($40, no charge if you bring your own gear) - costumes and dogs are welcome! To top it off, after these classes, we'll have a delicious snacks and drinks at the shop while we vote for the best costume!

Mike's Paddle

National Mutt Day 7/31/2016 - Paddle with your pup

Does your pup love the water? Do you want to spend some quality time with them? This July 31st we are celebrating National Mutt Day on the water. Bring your pups and we'll take care of the water time! This social paddle welcomes beginners and we'll have some dog trainers on staff to help with them getting acquainted with the water. After the paddle, we'll have plenty of treats for both humans and pups! The paddle is from 10am to 12pm, the cost is $40.

Register for the social paddle here.

Father's Day Social Paddle 6/19/2016

Celebrating father's day on the water with us! Give gratitude to Dads all over the world by getting them an Intro to SUP class gift certificate. Our social paddle is a 2 hour paddle suitable for beginners (must have taken a class or can paddle straight, stop and turn). Families and kids are all welcome! 

Register for the social paddle here.

Email to purchase gift certificate at mike@mikespaddle.com.

 

Discovering Taiwan 2016

Judy and I planned a long 5 week trip in Taiwan and China in early 2016 and after much traveling we are finally back in the states! It was a long trip with lots of family visits and a lot of rain too due to El Nino, but we managed to get out on the water quite a few times and had so much fun!

Our weeks in summary:

Week 1: Arrive in Taipei (northwest coast of Taiwan), visit family for a week.

Week 2: Drive from Taipei to Tainan (southwest coast of Taiwan) for a couple of days, then 5 days in Kenting National Park (south coast of Taiwan).

Week 3: Fly to China Hainan (southern island of China near Vietnam east coast) to visit my dad and fly to Xiamen to visit my maternal grandfather's birthplace (and finding 100+ family members in the process).

Week 4: Fly back to Taipei for a week to experience the city. Unfortunately, it was the coldest week in 14 year history of Taipei.

Week 5: Drive to Taidong (east coast of Taiwan), surf and paddle! We found Ribbit (a stray dog with a broken leg) on the highway at night and our journey to rescue this little guy.


Food and Night Markets

What can I say, the food in Taiwan is TOP Notch! First: it's the coffee capital of Asia. There's a cafe every corner and good too! There's all kinds of food: South Asian, American, European and best of all Taiwanese. Second: street food rules. On a busy street, almost every shop is a restaurant dedicated to a couple of specialties. 

Night markets are all over the place in cities and small towns. Check them out!!!


People

Click on the photos to the left to see stories behind them.

The people in Taiwan were extremely polite, generous and clean. Coming from China, I was pleasantly surprised at how people treated me with respect even with my Mandarin accent. 

Service was excellent wherever you went. Even street market vendors are generally open to talking with you, granted most people did not speak a lot of english and some didn't even speak Mandarin only Taiwanese.

Of course, we were visiting family so we got a lot of star treatment. Great breakfast lunch and dinner with afternoon tea in between. Heavens! Gotta get back to paddling so that I can lose all that weight I gained!


SUP Touring

There is no shortage of beautiful and calm waters in Taiwan to paddle! Since it's an island there are many different spots to paddle in the west, south and east coast. The south coast is probably the best area for touring due to the sunny weather most of the time. The south coast has miles and miles of beach, some more remote than others but all of them with turquoise waters. The best thing is the water is 80 degrees. Falling in the water is as good as bath tub. So nice!  


SUP Surfing and Surfing

The surfing scene is getting very popular in Taiwan. There are multiple surf shops along both south coast and east coast. The east coast has the most number of surf breaks. Typically in the spring and summer, good breaks comes with typhoons (before and after). But in the winter time, breaks are much better for beginner and intermediates under calm conditions. In addition, there are multiple breaks that are great for SUPs and not good for surfers so we are all able to get along!

The only drawback to some of the breaks that we went to was that even though the breaks were gentle, the beach sometime were rocky (not jagged but round) and they tend to hurt fins when you're coming back in. So we went searching for sandy beaches and we found quite a few!