I love connecting with community, following years of travel to far away places. I believe in sustainability. Intuitive dance, and mind/body practices keep me blissfully healthy. Hoping to share unique people's stories with you.
Published January 28th 2015
Pilates on water for body, mind and soles Get your feet wet
Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Pilates is ideal if you love water, want to improve core strength and overall conditioning, if you love peaceful calming environments, and if you enjoy the camaraderie of fun loving people. The person to take SUP Pilates classes with is going to impress you with her list of credentials and qualifications, so rest assured you will be in more than capable hands under the instruction of Liz Guilhaus, holder of two SA state titles, and three top ten titles in national and international SUP events.
Fancy floating on the calm shores of Glenelg or Seacliff? Check out this internationally growing fitness craze with Liz.
Liz Guilhaus studied her B.A. in Modern Dance - one of only 20 applicants out of 300 to successfully audition - following a life of training in jazz, classical and modern dance styles. At 19 years of age she'd gained employment with a dance company, travelled the world for almost 9 years, and came to Adelaide for her Modern Dance studies. During her childhood, Liz had also grown up by the sea, where her father taught her about respect for the ocean. Her youth was spent outdoors, much of the time in and on the water, and throughout years of dance there was a constant love of ocean activities.
Both men and women love the challenge of pilates and the exhilaration of the water
I interviewed this remarkable woman and have taken a SUP Pilates class with her so this is my experience. The stress release of being on a stand up paddle board, being gently guided through movement with Liz is both invigorating and relaxing. I didn't know what to expect. Would I fall in? Would I look uncoordinated? Would I feel like I don't fit in with 'Pilates' people? At no time did I sense any instability on the beautiful, big, reassuring board loaned to me for the session. All exercises are tailored to each participant ensuring that everybody can achieve movements at their own ability level.
The other participants were so lovely! But even more so, Liz Guilhaus has a joyous and encouraging presence. She is a person with a depth of enthusiasm that radiates throughout her entire being. Her genuine love for what she teaches is apparent through always smiling eyes. I felt compelled to say this because following is a simplified version of her list of achievements and what I received from her as a person was just as great as her impressive qualifications. As well as being a highly credentialled coach you will love her as your SUP Pilates guide, and I highly recommend you contact Liz for an enjoyable, addictive experience.
There's always the possibilty of playful dolphins joining in the fun.
Liz's path to Pilates materialised after a snow boarding accident - while pregnant - which damaged a tendon in her knee(baby was fine, the knee not so much). A friend suggested Pilates instead of immediately taking the surgery route, and her Pilates therapist rehabilitated her knee very quickly to her amazement, leading to her interest in what was then a relatively new practice in Australia. Liz's creative study of movement and anatomy through years of dance gave her a solid basis for easily understanding the principles of Joseph Pilates. Liz is currently certified in Dance Medicine Australia Pilates and Polestar Pilates She is a master trainer in Chi Ball technique after 6 years studying. She has immersed herself in meditation studies over the years.
Initially Liz was the only female paddle board race competitor in South Australia. This is where her interest evolved to combine SUP with Pilates.
Classes are held at different locations. This one is at Holdfast Shores marina.
Racing interstate against 20 year olds, Liz asked herself, "What do I have that would allow me to stay at the top? And what I had was dance training and Pilates so I used my knowledge to enhance my SUP performance in competition. With engaging the muscles I could catch that wave, paddle that bit further, paddle faster. So I started researching surfing, paddling. A friend of mine is a kayaker, so I asked what he did with the paddle and considered the muscles they use.
I found the guys were powering through everything, blowing a shoulder out, gripping too hard, and so on. As SUP grew, and was becoming better known throughout Australia I was asked to go to NSW to present findings on shoulder injuries, so I drew from the Pilates exercises I knew that would be good for paddling, to improve your paddling, improve SUP technique, and improve surfing, and consequently you get all that core strength, the joy of being outside, and meditation is a big part of it. The looser you are on the water, the smoother you are in transitions, the easier, faster and more efficient you are going to be. So that's why so many older people can do it. And I've had some students who have improved to being better than me now!"
Pilates on the water is accessible to people of all age groups and fitness levels.
Liz is a sponsored rider for a number of companies.
'Fanatic' has supplied a 14ft x 24" wide racing board made of carbon fibre.
'Deep Oceanboards' made a custom 8ft x 30" board this past year, ideal for surf SUP, and catching waves.
'Bic' sponsored her with a 10ft x 30" board, used for SUP Pilates, but it has also been used for surfing. Ke Nalu have sponsored with paddles. Roxy surfwear keeps her looking surf ready at all times.
A board maker from Hawaii called HYPR gave her a board made from black African ebony wood with a dragon depicted on the back Geoff McCoy of Byron Bay has also supplied his first ever SUP board made. I just want to know where she stores all these boards!
So, when are classes held?
Saturday and Thursday mornings, usually starting from midday at Glenelg North, or sometimes outside of Seacliff if it is a calm glassy day, depending on weather.
Numbers are limited due to the nature of the classes - Pilates being very individualised, and also so Liz can comfortably ensure clear instruction can be heard out in the open, so please pre-book.
Liz has a 'no splash policy', "If you listen to my instruction then you won't fall off." Pretty straight forward.
There are limited boards available. If you need to borrow a board, class price is $25. If the student has their own board, price is $15. Riders can go out for coffee after class, and when the weather is calm, classes finish with a meditation session, with all boards tied together floating peacefully, connected with each other and with the emerald seas. As Liz says, "It's cheaper than a float tank."
Any events throughout the year can be found on the SUP Crew website, and Liz's schedule is updated on the FB page.
For more SUP fun, every Wednesday evening from paddling enthusiasts can meet up at Brighton/Seacliff Yacht club and go out and have a paddle or a race, depending how the mood strikes. There's plenty of time to talk to the crew, and always time for a beer afterwards at the yacht club.
And if you come along with a group of friends, the post SUP photo is going to look really cool.
I hear you Bryony! I swear not a single person fell off the day I went, and it was an open day with well over fifty people trying out boards with different teachers. These boards are amazingly stable - of course we newbies get the wider boards... Oh, and if you were going to try acro SUP then yes I believe there is a 'falling in' factor, but that's a separate option to Pilates. And then of course there is the potential of the deliberate dive in, and that's possibly the most fun outcome😀
Wow, Natalie. Tahnks for a great article and also thanks to all those that made a comment. If you're keen to try this out please do contact me and I'll give all the new people from here a free 'tips and tricks" session before class. firstname.lastname@example.org is best for bookings. See you on the water!
I have been doing this with Liz for about a year and a half now and absolutely LOVE it. You cannot find a better more experienced instructor who has an infectious smile and enthusiasm for life. I have learnt so much about Pilates and paddling from her. I highly recommend giving it a go.
It is a beautiful concept. I highly recommend giving it a try. It actually isn't overly challenging. We even did a 'wobble' test before setting out to prove how steady the boards are. Of course, just constantly readjusting your centre on the board is constantly working the core - but that's not even noticeable, it's just chillaxing.