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goodbiz C asi Rynkowski By Wyman Knott

SUP Fitness Not your Average Burn

photo© Peter Casson *EMS School

photo© Rachel McCarty

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My SUP Fit classes include paddle stroke instruction as well as circuit training on boards, utilizing exercise bands, body weight exercises and paddle sprints. Paddling, after all, is fitness training...

When Casi Rynkowski says that strength training on a paddleboard is one of the greatest additions to functional training to come around in a long time, believe it. The 44-year old fitness guru works for Eastern Mountain Sports Schools as an ACA Level 2 SUP instructor and SUP Fit trainer. She’s also a BIC ambassador and a Werner team paddler. And she gets her kicks with open ocean expedition paddles running thirty plus miles. Clearly, the woman knows her way around a board. We caught up with Casi between classes, expeditions and her extraordinarily active lifestyle for the latest on her SUP fitness adventures. First, give us a bit of background on your fitness qualifications and your introduction into SUP. I am a certified personal trainer specializing in sports performance. Five years ago, I started a program called Adventures in Fitness with my local YMCA, which pairs personal training sessions with outdoor fitness adventures. One of the trips was stand-up paddleboarding, and I immediately fell in love with it. I was already an avid snowboarder and surfer, and it felt like a continuation of those passions. I love the fitness aspect of paddling and just simply being on the water. Tell us about your classes and your personal fitness routine. A year ago, we launched SUP Fit on BIC soft top boards with EMS Schools, and the reaction was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. My SUP Fit classes include paddle stroke instruction as well as circuit training on boards, utilizing exercise bands, body weight exercises and paddle sprints. Paddling, after all, is fitness training, and keeping it a part of my SUP Fit classes is important. Training on a paddleboard provides a whole-body workout that can hardly be equaled in any other way. My training routine includes cardio strength training three days a week. Kettlebells, rowing and Olympic lifting are staples in my workouts.  The others days, I spend time exploring fitness outdoors because it feeds my soul. Depending on the time of year, you might find me paddling, surfing, snowboarding, winter mountaineering, kiting or ice climbing. Cross training outside is like nothing else.   Tell us about your expeditions and how you train for them. Expedition paddling is my new love. I love planning for a trip and the flipside of the complete and utter unpredictability of the weather and conditions that makes all that planning obsolete! I love the challenge of open ocean paddling, with the interaction of tides, swells and wind.

The expeditions have been distances of twenty to thirty plus miles. We are planning longer distances and even self-supported overnight trips around New England in different seasons. Our first expedition was last October, a twenty-mile circumnavigation of Conanicut Island in Rhode Island in beautiful, calm weather. The next trip was thirty miles of the coast of Aquidneck Island in RI, but this time the weather did not cooperate. We struggled with strong, twenty plus knot winds, cross chop and cold weather that left me slightly hypothermic. But by the time we reached the end, thirteen hours later, all I could think about was, when do we get to do this again? What do you feel when you’re out on the water? What is the connection?  My favorite time on the water is sunrise. At sunrise, the stresses of the day haven’t even begun, and you don’t have anything to think about except the beauty of your surroundings. I love the challenge of reading the water. I love snowboarding, but the mountain doesn’t change in an instant. Half the allure of SUP paddling and surfing is the unknown. Especially in surfing, you don’t know what wave is coming next. It takes a lot of time to learn the contours of the ocean, and every time I paddle out, the education continues.  Where do you see yourself in ten years? Where do you see stand-up paddling as a lifestyle, sport and fitness option? I see myself still surfing, paddling, training, exploring fitness outdoors and hopefully still inspiring many to do the same. I would like to relocate to spend more time near the ocean as I currently live an hour and a half away and it cuts into my paddling time.  Things will continue to evolve  in stand-up paddling and new SUP disciplines will come. There will always be people looking to change up their fitness routine and this is a great option. Would you rather be sweating it out in your basement or gym, or be outdoors in the sunshine paddling?  Tell us about your favorite boards. My BIC 12’6” Limited Wing is my long-distance companion. It’s always under my feet for tours and downwinders. In the winter, the ice-breaker bow gets me through. My 9’ C-Tec is my go-to SUP surfboard. I love how responsive it is under my feet. The BIC Cross is my board of choice for SUP Fit. It just has so many advantages that make it ideal for SUP fitness and recreational paddling. My kids like to paddle the 10’ soft top, and I also use it for some of my SUP Fit classes as well.

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expedition paddling is my new love. ... i love the challenge of open ocean paddling, with the interaction of tides, swells and wind.

photo© WIllIaM Gayle

photo© raChel MCCarty

How does what you do in fitness influence other women? i feel that i inspire women to get outside their comfort zone. so many of my clients have never thought of fitness outside of the gym. Fitness can be on the water, on a mountain, on a sheer cliff of ice. inspiring others is what gets me out of bed in the morning. i work with women of all ages but one in particular comes to mind. she’s 60, your typical cardio-only gym goer. it’s been over a year, and now when we’re working out, people will stop and stare. she’s lost 41 pounds doing olympic lifts and swinging kettlebells. When you see her crank out a burpee, you have no excuses. she’ll even say it herself when i propose something new, that she can’t do it, but she crushes it every time. i believe that fitness outdoors is the real key to a healthy and happy lifestyle. i took her surfing and she also took one of my sUP Fit classes. she is so stoked on the sport that she plans to buy a board. one of the best things about our age bracket or even getting older is we can really get away with doing what we want, saying what we want and trying what we want. no one is going to judge you for trying and no one can hold you back but yourself. There’s no sense in waiting; now is the time to get out and explore fitness outdoors.

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Samata Magazine  

Not Your Average Burn

Samata Magazine  

Not Your Average Burn

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