Thursday, April 12, 2012


Some times change can come along in your life when you least expect it. Change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity, or to make different in some way: to alter, to make radically different: to transform.

Seven years ago I experienced a change that suddenly did all of those things, it altered my life and made it radically different, I felt as if I would never be the same, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Suddenly all that I knew and was accustomed to had become extremely different, initially it was a challenge and something that was very scary in many ways, and I was definitely paddling in uncharted waters. But I eventually realized that this change was something that I could not will myself through, and that there was no cure for. I was forced to learn about diabetes; and began to look at my life and how I did things with a new perspective. I began to adapt and incorporate the fact that I now had a chronic disease with my very active and high energy lifestyle, and slowly began to except the change in my life.
Me, after a short 4 mile paddle.
Adaptation and Incorporation!
Change is never far away from any of us, whether it is the loss of someone or something that was very dear to you, or you are suddenly diagnosed with a chronic disease, maybe things did not turn out the way you thought they might or perhaps picking up your life moving to somewhere new.
 I just recently sold most of everything I owned and moved back to the Islands....just a little bit of a change!
No matter what we do changes in our lives are going to happen, and so maybe if we learn to accept these changes and adapt it might not always be that bad.
I still swim, paddle and train just as before I was diagnosed.....but now I just need to check my blood sugars before I do these things.

So if we can agree that change will occur in our lives, the next step is realizing that most of the time the only thing that we can really control is ourselves and what we choose to do with change. Taking control of your own destiny in regards to the change will help you to accept and manage the changes that may occur in your life. It’s basically similar to when I am out on the water training for or racing in an event, if during the paddle the water conditions change I need to adapt to the changing conditions, being sure not to necessarily deviate from my plan, but to go with the surrounding conditions to lessen their impacts. This allows for me to continue with my training, or racing but with a few minor adjustments.
2011 Tahoe Nalu Distance race, the wind had picked up and this guy on a 14' Bark had been drafting on the back of my 12'6 Hobie for at least the last 3 or 4 miles.

So I choked up on my paddle and increased my cadence, caught a couple of small bumps heading into the beach and dropped the guy like a bad habit!
Even though changes will occur in your life you don’t need to be totally knocked off course, they might force you to change direction a little, but with some adjustments you can eventually continue on your way. We need to be open to change and to be flexible to the possibilities that may come from the change, this will allow for you to adapt and stay focused on your dreams and aspirations. This will assist you in staying on course, having direction and purpose.
The finish at the 2011 Hennessey's World Championships. Caught a wave into the beach was totally gassed, got launched, stayed focused and still managed to run up the beach to a descent finish!
Easy to say, hard to do….we should always try and look for the silver lining, the positive, in the changes that occur in our lives. From the very first day I was diagnosed I began to think of ways that I might be able to someday use this change to help others. It was more than likely at the time just a way to cope with the change, but hey, whatever works. Once the initial shock, denial and anger began to subside and I began to accept that I was going to spend the rest of my life as a type 1 diabetic, I began to look for opportunities that may exist. Eventually Stand up Paddle (SUP) came into my life exposing a whole bunch of different opportunities.
What an incredible opportunity to be blessed with a 2nd place finish at the 2011 Tahoe Nalu distance race  and  perhaps provide others with the motivation or inspiration to go out and tackle their own personal obstacle!
I did not have a choice in being diagnosed with type1 diabetes, a chronic disease that has no cure, but I do have a choice in how I deal with this change that has altered my life. I have chosen to continue to live my life just as I had prior to being diagnosed, but with just a few adjustments thrown in. I basically adapted and made the decision to manage my diabetes and not let the diabetes manage me!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Be Courageous and Standup for Your Cause!

A few weeks ago I was competing at an event in Dana Point, California, the 3rd Annual 2012 Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup and met Judie Vivian, the organizer of the “Standup for the Cure” event. We talked about the upcoming event in Newport Beach, California May 5, 2012, and in general the work that the Susan G. Komen organization does regarding finding a cure for breast cancer

As promised Judie included in the news letter a note regarding diabetics and their struggles and accomplishments related to their experiences with a disease that is in epidemic proportions throughout the United States and the world. Take a look at an article that was just published in the Miami Herald

The Standup-for-a-cure newsletter included a photo of Ryan Maloney and a short message about his courage, his battles with type 1diabetes and how he is determined to not let it hold him back from doing  all kinds of things, like Standup paddling. I was also stoked to see they included a link to

I have been diagnosed with type1 diabetes now for about 7 years and competing as an Elite Standup Paddle racer and SUP surfer for the last 2 years. I met Ryan after his father Bill Maloney saw me paddling and racing in the many SUP races in California that are held almost every weekend, and contacted me through Facebook. Ryan and I have since become good friends and while I was living in San Diego, California we would meet up at the beach and get in a SUP surf session or a paddle. We would share stories of our experiences with diabetes and we talk about SUP surfing and SUP racing.

Ryan is fairly new to the sport of SUP and is a young and up and coming endurance athlete that is trying to make a difference in letting the world know that diabetes can be controlled and people that are faced with having to deal with disease such as cancer and diabetes can overcome these obstacles, with a little hard work and dedication. Ryan is an ambassador for the sport of SUP and can be seen paddling one of the may awesome SUP boards that Boardworks provides him with from time to time!

I have since moved from California back to the beautiful state of Hawaii and will continue to train, race, surf and paddle my way towards educating, motivating and inspiring individuals like Ryan to get out there and do the things that you enjoy, and to not let their diabetes control you, but to control their diabetes!

Obviously I am passionate about diabetes and the quest to one day find a cure, but finding a cure for breast cancer is huge on my list as well. My step mother, who has been in my life for more than  35 years is a three time breast cancer survivor and an inspiration to me as to what we can accomplish if we put our minds and hearts into something we believe in. Rose I love you, you are my hero!

I wish that I could be at the “Standup for the Cure” event in Newport Beach, CA. this coming May and paddling to help find a cure, but instead I will be competing at the upcoming 2012 Waikiki Paddle Festival

I’m SUP surfing as much as possible and once I can get my hands on a SUP race board (had to sell my race board to help with the move over to Hawaii) I will start to put in some distance training and get out there an paddle my heart out for all the people like Ryan and my step mother Rose!
Do everything you can to enjoy every day because just like my good friend Jeff Archer says,” you only live once”’ YOLO!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2012 Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup

This past weekend I went up to Dana Point, California to the third annual Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup at Baby Beach, in Dana Point Harbor with Bill and Ryan Maloney. I met them up in North San Diego County and we all piled into Bill’s van and were on the road, looking forward to our chance to paddle with surf legend Mickey Munoz.
Bill Maloney going with the now infamous Conner Baxter stroke!

The Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup is an event filled with fun, SUP clinics and all kinds of watersports vendors and super cool people. All of the money raised from the event goes to benefit local charities and surfing organizations.

Super famous photo of Mickey - "the Quasimoto"

If you don’t know who Mickey Munoz is, take a look, the guy is amazing and a surfing legend! Who is now in his 70’s and paddles like crazy, and lends his expertise as a waterman to the SUP community. I could only dream of being as hip and awesome as he and his wonderful wife Peggy Munoz.

Mickey signing his book, "No Bad Waves: Talking Story With Mickey Munoz".

I first met Bill Maloney through Facebook, his son Ryan is 13 years old and also a type 1 diabetic. We instantly hit it off and I have since become great friends with their whole family. Ryan was interested in paddling and saw that I was a T1D just like him so we hooked up and have since gone SUP surfing and paddling together a number of times. Ryan has inspired me in so many ways and I am stoked to call him my friend.
Ryan and I at La Jolla Shores.

I have tried to show him whatever I can in regards to SUP surfing and racing, the kids a natural. We share information about managing our diabetes and about how to compete as SUP racers successfully and safely despite having diabetes.

Ryan and I talking story with Pam Strom.

We arrived at the event and Bill kind of stood back and let Ryan and I do our thing, we unloaded the boards and took off to register for the race. Then he and I began to run all over the place like two little kids in a candy store, “well one little kid and one grown up that basically acts like a little kid”.

We visited with all kinds of old friends and met all kinds of new friends. I introduced him to the Infinity SUP team and he introduced me to the VictoryKoredDry guys. We met Judie Vivian, the organizer of the “Standup for the Cure” event for Susan G Komen. I think they ought to call it, “Standup for A Cure”. Seeing as how there is more than one disease in this world that I think should be cured. But Judie was super cool and even told Ryan and I that she might include a small piece about SUP with Diabetes in their April 13th newsletter! Ryan and I were super stoked to hear that.
Brian Hagg, Ryan Maloney and Paul Zacharias. Three generations of SUP racers and type 1 diabetics.

We then tested our blood sugars and took off on the fun paddle around Dana Point harbor with a couple of hundred or so other paddlers. Ryan and I were laughing and playing as we paddled the short couple of miles, and at one point we tried to switch boards and got all tangled up in Ryan leash and both fell into the water. It was cold, but with the sun shining and he and I filled with all kinds of energy, or maybe it was sugar, we got back on our boards and took off laughing.

Then it was back to the beach for some of the awesome SUP clinics being conducted by a few of the sports super stars, we first listened to Byron Kurt talk about being aware of the waters conditions prior to paddling and how to navigate certain situations caused by things like tides, waves and currents. The next one we attended was be given by Rob Rojas, he was offering his expertise on paddling technique. Ryan through him a curve ball and asked about stacking your shoulders at the top of your stroke just prior to your paddle entry, kind of caught him off guard, but Rob being the consummate professional that he is and expert paddler handled it just fine and integrated his answer perfectly with his explanation on how to get the most power from your stroke.

Ryan soaking up information during Byron Kurts SUP clinic.

Ryan and I during the SUP clinic on stroke technique from Rob Rojas

With all that was going on around us we soon lost interest and took off back out on the water to practice what we had learned and to just have some fun! We tried different boards and Ryan let me use his Boardworks M & M race board. I love this board and really think that it is one of the fastest boards on the water. Ryan was on the new C4 Travis Grant race board, equally fun and fast!

Blah, Blah, Blah....tippy...Blah, Blah, Blah!

Then more blood sugar testing, a little insulin and then lunch. It definitely was not a healthy lunch, but who cares we were starving! Then it was relay / race time!

I was super excited to see which team I was on, turned out it was team one and our teams captain was Byron Kurt! This guy is super-fast and really talented, the other team members were a guy named Dave and I brand new paddler Kelly. We got to race on Byron’s stealthy looking carbon fiber Hobie, I like these boards, especially because my first and only SUP race board was one of the custom carbon fiber Hobie race boards made for one of their team riders from a couple of years ago.

As always the relay is meant to be fun but trust me when Kelly French, the beach Marshall yell’s those famous words, “racers are you ready!”, and the horn blows, it’s on. Amateurs and pro’s hit the water, rails bashing, paddles flying and a lot of cheering from the crowds on the beach. Got to love it!

As always, the crazy SUP start!

Byron killing it along with Bruce Brunson.

Waiting for the transition.

We did pretty well, Byron took off and came back into the beach in second place, then it was Dave’s turn, he had a great paddle out and around the bouys. Kelly, bless her heart had never really paddled much but was so filled with enthusiasm and desire she took off and gave it her all. A lot of the teams caught up to her as she enthusiastically navigated around the buoys. I was jumping up and down cheering her on as she paddled back to the beach. We had a pretty good transition and away I went, I paddled as hard and as fast as I could and was able to pass a number of other paddlers. I hit the beach and ran through the chute to finish in seventh place, the last team to qualify for the finals! I was spent, got some water and ran over to check my blood sugars….trending towards a low and not wanting to crash I grabbed a juicy juice and ran back to the water’s edge for the start of the final.

Grippin' it and rippin' it!

The run up the beach!

Again we all lined up and waited for Kelly to start the race. This time though each team had to paddle the course twice! Byron got tripped up at the start and missed getting out in front of the pack, but the guy is like superman and as always he paddled super-fast and managed to keep us in the race. Again Dave and Kelly both took off and kept us in there, I was left with trying to bring it home. Well that didn’t happen, but I did manage to contribute to a very respectable 11th place finish out of like twenty-one or so teams.  It was a blast and I would do it again!

Craziest thing ever was that the team that won the relay was led by Brian Hagg, team rider for 404, a good friend of Ryan and mine, and get this, a type 1 diabetic!

Awesome day !

I had lost track of Ryan and his Dad during the relay race, but we met up after and said our good bye’s to everyone and were on the road back home by late afternoon. I ended up having dinner with Ryan and his mother and father. It was awesome hanging out with a super cool family and enjoying a home cooked meal. Ryan showed me all of his stuff and we talked about SUP surfing and racing, having diabetes and living life. By the time I got home I was one tired puppy, within minutes I was sound asleep and dreaming of my next adventure, Hawaii!

Yep, I am moving back to Hawaii! I can’t wait to paddle the clear blue waters of the Islands and experience the pure stoke and Aloha of the SUP community, SUP racing and SUP surfing in Hawaii! Stay tuned......

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Long Term Side Effects of Diabetes - What Scares You?

I’m not sure if everyone understands, I know that few choose to talk about it, but there are millions of people out there that have been diagnosed with diabetes and their scared, feeling as if there is no hope. They are worried about the long term side effects of their diabetes. Amputation, blindness and heart disease.
Just ask your doctor, or do the research yourself about all the side effects of the disease and it’s enough to scare the living shit out of you. I am constantly running into someone that has a story about a loved one that had diabetes and eventually went blind, or had to have a leg amputated, or eventually died. “YIKES!”

This is scary stuff, but you can reduce the risk of diabetic complications. When I was first diagnosed about seven years ago I was told that if I chose to ignore the disease and continue on my marry way  I would ultimately fall victim to one of the many possible complications of ill managed diabetes.

Look, I grew up with an older brother who was paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk, born with only one kidney that he eventually lost in his early twenties. I don't want to have to go through even a little of what my older brother had to, so I choose to fight while I can! My older brother was born with most of his disabilities, and though he fought for many years he eventually lost his battle. But not before spending almost twenty five years on dialysis. He was sad to die, but glad to be done with dialysis. I will try and do everything I can to avoid the complications of diabetes.
It bums me out and I get pissed off when I think about my diabetes controlling me. I want to try and do everything I can to avoid the not so inevitable long term side effects of diabetes. This desire to overcome is what I sometimes draw on for my motivation. What ever your motivation may be, find it and hang on. We are in a fight for our lives, but with a little hard work, some determination mixed in with desire we can gain control and kick diabetes in the butt! 
or the stomach!

I have only had diabetes a short time, but it seems to me that all these things I have heard from others about a loved one suffering from some horrible side effect caused by their diabetes might have been in some cases avoided if they would have fought a little harder to try and control their diabetes better. I am sure that most of these poeple fought to live, but maybe they didn't clearly understand that with a healthful diet and exercise they could have lived a longer, perhaps even avoiding some of the long term side effects of diabetes.

I have read tons of literature about how we as diabetics can live a long and healthy life with diabetes. These complications that happened to your loved ones, be it your grandmother or your uncle, didn’t have to happen. We as diabetics can live a long and healthy life. Serious complications do not have to happen.
Actually from all reports it is not diabetes that will end up hurting you, but poorly controlled diabetes might. Poorly controlled diabetes is more than likely what killed your loved one.
I was told by my doctor that if I keep my A1C below 7.0% I will have a much lower risk of running into serious problems. So taking good care of myself and keeping a tight control over my diabetes will allow me to live a long and healthy life just like someone who does not have diabetes.

This means, regular trips to the doctor, managing my cholesterol, watching my blood pressure, checking my feet regularly, exercising and eating right. I think that there is also a little bit of luck involved, but if you will do these things the fight for your life will be a lot easier than if you choose to ignore the problem all together.
You really can make a dent in this disease and change the overall outcome if you will become fully informed, take positive actions. You can live an active, long fulfilling life filled with adventure and fun if you get the information you need.
So take a big bite out of life and together we can help the world in the fight against diabetes!

Fight For Your LIfe!

Monday, January 30, 2012


All of us have had to face it in our lives. Maybe it is some random misfortunate circumstance, an unexpected medical diagnosis, or a period of hardship. If your anything like me, you probably never really gave it much thought that your life could be affected by these things.
Adversity hits us all from time to time during our lives. It may be in the form of marriage trouble, a lost job, financial hardship, maybe even your health. It does not care about who it affects; all of us will face it in our lifetimes. The question is how we deal with it once it is upon us.
When the proverbial shit hits the fan and everything is going to hell in a hand basket most of us have the tendency to run and hide, duck and cover, and withdraw. Most will say that this is not the right thing to do when faced with adversity.
When I feel like a crab in a bucket and nothing seems to be going right, what ever adversity that I have in my life, I try to keep moving forward. There are many times that I feel down and defeated after what seems like a never ending string of misfortune, but I stand up and choose to deal with each obstacle, facing the adversity head on. 
I know that in your heart it feels as if you can't go on, and it feels impossible to move forward, but even one small step can make the difference. Sometimes if we stop for a moment we can find hidden blessings in our lives, it seems hard at times, but they exist.
I find comfort and strength in the water, when I am paddling, SUP surfing, swimming, diving or just hanging out at the beach I feel better and the time I spend in or on the water allows me to think things through and gain some focus. What ever your hidden blessings may be they are out there, you just have to stand up and put one foot in front of the other open your eyes and heart and you will find yours.
Ignoring the adversity I face in my life, and that you might be facing is not the answer, so for today I will choose to continue my fight to overcome!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Should you wear a medical ID bracelet?

Sticky Jewelry is a company in Florida that makes medical alert jewelry. They have a huge selection of bracelets, charms and necklaces.  There are all kinds of styles to choose from, I was provided with a medical alert bracelet and asked if I would wear it and write a lttle something in review.
As for looks this bracelet was super hip and kind of fit my character, laid back and all about the surf and the beach.

Believe it or not, the one thing that bugged me to no end was the litlle beed things that secured the thing to your wrsit . They would get in the way when I played my ukulele and just generally would get hooked up on things. I could see this becoming problem for someone who is active and adventourous. But again, killer design (less the beads) and look, decent functionality. All around I’d give it about a seven.
Do you need to wear one?
I have been a diabetic for seven years or so now and there have been a number of close calls during trainging for a distance paddle event where I crashed hard and could have gone into diabetic coma. I always think what would happen if I had no identification or information regarding my being a type 1 diabetic and a first responder would have not a single clue, that could be the difference between living or dying So it makes sense to me, a medical ID may save your life.
Who should consider wearing one?
Anyone who has a condition that may require special attention in the event of an emergency. For me its diabetes, but there is a list as long as my arm of different examples, heart disease, autism, asthma, food allergies…..
So if this sounds like something that might benefit you or someone you know take a look at the Sticky Jewelry web site, there are so many styles to choose from your sure to find something that you will like.