Ultimate Waterman World Champion Zane Kekoa Schweitzer Shares His Best Stand Up Paddling Tips

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo from ZaneKekoaSchweitzer Facebook page

My name is Zane Kekoa Schweitzer. I am world champion Waterman – 15x world title holder including 2x Ultimate Waterman World Champion and Ocean Enthusiast and aloha environmental Ambassador! I am from Maui, Hawaii. I am currently in Denmark representing Hawaii at the ISA World Championships and defending my title from my gold metal in last years ISA World Championships!

I am interested in everything in the ocean and am passionate about sharing the things that bring so much joy into my life with hopes that these sports I practice in our environment can create a connection with nature to the people I teach! Therefore, having more people respecting nature and being an ambassador themselves for this playground and even church to me that most of us call the ocean!

I am a full time professional athlete and run many different businesses and foundations such as Maui Sports Adventures Surf Camp and actives, InZane Clinics world wide, Co-founder of StandUp For The Cure (raising $1,000,000 million dollars for uninsured breast cancer patients and saving over 25 people with that money raised and with our on site screenings) and as well a novelist publishing my first book in October! (Preorder available and live on www.zaneschweitzer.com)

I am nicknamed InZane, Zaniac, Mister Enthusiasm and mister aloha by most my loved ones and fans for my passion and love for life, and my dedication to want to share the philosophy that I hold close- standing firm for your dreams and what you believe in and taking a step towards them everyday, and doing what is “pono” or Righteous for not only the benefit of your own livelihood but as well the well being of your loved ones, and the environment and people around you!

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo from ZaneKekoaSchweitzer Facebook page

How and why did you get into stand up paddling?

I started SUP around 10 years ago and was introduced to it by my windsurf sponsor at the time, Starboard, and as well first influenced by it around that time when it was first being practiced as a sport by the original pioneers, Dave Kalama and Laird Hamilton!

It was a great combination of two of the sports I love: Short board surfing and longboard surfing! I have always been in shape because I have always lived around the lifestyle of sport and the lifestyle of my family – my father is a 18x world champion and my grandfather invented the sport of windsurfing!

My first event I won was a surf contest in 1996 when I was 3 years old! I love all sports, Ive competed in Motocross, windsurfing, surfing, canoe paddling, swimming, kitesurfing, SUP, Triathalons, ocean decathlons, and more!

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo from @zaniac1

How do you train and become better?

Im always pushing myself to grow but make sure to always have fun and learn from my environment and the people around me! I believe practicing a diverse range of sports makes me more skilled and knowledgeable for most sports! I also make sure to always stay fit and healthy with proper diet (vegan) and as well a very active schedule of activities (at least 20 hours of training a week).

My coach is my brother, and he has always been the person I look up to and chase around as he is my best friend and five years older than me!

What do you consider the hardest parts of stand up paddling?

The traveling!! Lately the traveling that the sport demands and that I like to upkeep with is around 7-10 months out of the year! This is my lifestyle, but I believe that I am not necessarily a competition 100%. Competition has offered a platform for me to work off and I am grateful for the opportunities and credibility it has given me, and now I have managed to create my own brand and continue my family legacy, which Im confident will create longevity in these passions and lifestyle of mine!

To keep in shape, I do yoga, meditation, and work to continue to learn and grow as much as I can in many different areas of mental and physical capacity. I love to listen to podcasts on performance and mindfulness. Most the books I read are on philosophy, diet, and sports performance! I am consistently getting requests to attend, races, charities, speaking engagements and more- I try to make the best decisions for my heart and professional career and what falls in place with my philosophy and frequency!

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo credit @dooma_photos

How do you handle injuries and recovery?

I have had broken bones on dozens of occasions, countless stitches and more concussions than fingers on my body. Yet, I am grateful to feel strong and recover quickly. I believe my activities on the ocean create longevity and my environment in the water and in nature is healing!

What takes the biggest toll on my body is SUP Racing as I have found myself dealing with lower back injury and rip problems stemming from a fall off a 30 foot cliff back when I was 18 in Peru at the IFCA JR World Championships. I was near dead, with no pulse and no breath for over 5 minutes and miraculously am still walking and still strong and alive. I believe my guardian angel and god is responsible to give me the opportunity to still be on this earth and am so grateful to be alive and well everyday. This motivates me to share, be compassionate, and instill hope on the people I come across!

I have a sponsor by Dr. Shawn Thierney where I get free PRP operations/injections, which have accelerated my healing process for my recent injuries in the last two years!

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo from @zaniac1

How do you eat and sleep?

My sleep pattern, diet pattern, environment and training times is always inconsistent because of the constant traveling — I find myself not in the same place for more than a week often. I sleep when I can and I am mostly ready to rock and see this world and leave a footprint of positive impact with the people and environment I am fortunate enough to come across!

What is your best advice for people who want to follow your footsteps?

Enjoy nature and always use the buddy system, and for those who have been paddling for years, don’t forget about why you fell in love with the sport. Keep your heart in the game and as well as your head. 😉 I wish that this sport could have more support on the professional side as it does have so much success on the recreational side. This is the world’s fastest growing sport and it is very diverse and because of this, I see it only continuing to grow!! I can see this sports in the Olympics soon and wish the best for the future Olympians from nations all across the globe!

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo from @zaniac1

How do you balance normal life with your sport?

Life is my sports, and the community around the sports are my life. It has taught me to appreciate nature, understand life and share with others! My family is everything and I believe that the people before are the people I can honor and give credit to for my success!

For most it can be tough to balance what is right in your heart with what is right in your head, and can be easy to do things for money that we may not truly believe in. I stand firm to only support the things that I can believe and that are on the same frequency as I am on! I need to believe and trust in my work for me to give all!

I miss my family and my home nation of Hawaii most my time. Although, I know that I am making my family and my community proud by sharing our aloha spirit with the world and representing my family and environment every step of the way! The toughest part about my job is the amount of time I spend away from my loved ones and my homeland.

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo credit: Paige Laverty

How do you bring your gear with you?

I travel with a Starboard Windsurfing Triple Board Bag, this allows me to travel with 3-5 boards in 1 bag and still have room for clothes, wetsuits and paddles, etc. I always have running shoes, a foam roller, my sports gear either a surfboard, sup board, or windsurf gear, sometimes swimming goggles and fins especially if it’s a warm water location and essential oils such as Island Spice Magic Oil.

I usually always travel with at least 1 board bag and a paddle bag (which I usually fit inside my board bag). I try to minimize my other bags to a small carry on roller and a lunch box for some healthy snacks and super foods. Sometimes I will also have a backpack or at least a backpack packed away in more board bag for To and From the beach.

I prefer a backpack for daily transit and to/from the beach, but I prefer a carry on roller for airline travel to avoid back pain. The brands are Mafia bags and Starboard bags/accessories. Always feel like I don’t have enough room but somehow most the time feel like I end up wearing the same few pairs of clothes (laughs).

I try to pack the heavy things in a duffle bag and the boards and light/soft gear in a board bag.. I put the duffle and anything else that will fit in board bag so that I can check in one bag and avoid dragging around multiple things and as well avoid extra baggage fees.

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo from @zaniac1

What kind of board and gear do you use?

I ride Starboard for all my SUP and Windsurf Sports, and Bark Boards for all my Big Wave and Surfboards! I have my own pro models with Starboard including the InZane 7’2” x 24” Pro! I have over 100 boards in my garage and at least three with me at all times! This is between all the many ocean and board/boat sports I practice. Also, between my boards available for my non-profit kids clinics and community equipment!

What has been your best sport purchase below $100?

A journal to track my performance, travel, and daily life — all this keeps my grounded and continuing to strive for excellence!

SUP Zane Kekoa Schweitzer
Photo credit: @puredigitalmedia

What will the future bring?

I am so excited to release my book, “Beneath The Surface”, to you all and share my ins and outs on how journaling has positively effected my life and success while also inviting the readers to get to know me, beneath my surface! If you are interested, please check it out!

I am also very excited to continue pushing the limits in the sports I am passionate about and set an example for my community and the next generation to stand strong in what they believe in, follow their dreams while actively taking a step towards them everyday and keeping those dreams and goals locked in their heart and in their mind while doing these things for the better of not only themselves, but for their loved ones and the environment around them!

Follow Zane Kekoa Schweitzer on his website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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