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Project WSUP: Introducing SUP Chi

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

Energy Integration

Elemental energy, Gravity expressed in moving Water, gathers into the Blade travels up the Shaft into the Hands spiraling through Bone, Tendon, Muscle, Heart – a vortex of elemental and life forces – releasing through the Feet into the Board and back to Water … then back the other way in a pulsing, alternating current of energy.

#SUPChi is all about energy. The energy of water and its currents as they diverge and converge driven by the massive gravitational forces of our Sun, Moon, and Earth. The energy of the human body and its currents of habit, awareness, curiosity, and fear driven by the massive forces of Creation. SUP Chi is a framework for understanding and experiencing the intertwining energies of moving water and your physical body.

In less flowery terms – SUP Chi is a meditative method to develop muscle memory and situational awareness for shredding whitewater rivers.

I’m still working on SUP Chi as a formal moving water practice – but while we wait for that to emerge here’s Elin Fisher suggesting one aspect of SUP Chi. Pay attention to her paddle blade – how it is consistently slicing the current with minimal drag and steering the board with small twists of her T-grip to engage the blade in either a draw or a pry. Note where she focuses her weight on the board to present either the bottom or the rail to the oncoming current and carve either left or right without being blown off the riffle. And finally, notice how she shifts weight to one foot before moving the other. Smooth, quiet footwork is essential for staying on small waves like this.

This type of gentle but mindful river-play that I call SUP Chi is definitely fun and rewarding in its own right – but – the physical strength and intuition it builds will change your game on more rambunctious and rowdy whitewater. #SUPYoga is pretty cool and extremely challenging, but other than building mental focus it does not directly establish a foundation for the dynamics of whitewater. SUP Chi is about focus, refinement of movement, and efficient collaboration with the power of water.

You may also be interested in this 2016 post, Project WwSUP: Riffle Meditation, where SUP Chi is sorta born for me.

In development:

  1. Structured footwork

  2. Rail control

  3. Blade awareness

  4. Shift from riding to driving

SUP Chi classes available.

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