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!