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    0 comments / Posted by Melissa Matheson

    Finding Pleasure in the Pain


    A lot of people ask me why I do the things I do… why I paddle 32 miles in the middle of the ocean, get in the ocean when it is freezing cold, or push myself as hard as I do… The answer is simple… its truly because I love it.  I find a pleasure in pushing my personal limits and seeing where not only my body can go, but most importantly my mind. 

    Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazas takes the words out my mouth.  I just replaced the word “runner” for “paddler” to relate it to my sport.  He says,

    People think I'm crazy to put myself through such torture, though I would argue otherwise. Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. Dostoyevsky had it right: 'Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.' Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is a magic in misery. Just ask any [paddler].

    Just a few months ago I had the chance to really experience these personal limits when I traveled to the island of Bora Bora for the Ironmana Liquid Festival.  This isn’t just any ocean festival, but one where you know you are going to be paddling and swimming a total of about 60 miles in four days.  The thing is you don’t know how this will done… As race and event director Stephan Lambert says best, “Expect nothing, be ready for everything.”  Stephan does not tell you what the event each day will be until immediately before.  All you know is that there will be one long prone paddling day, one long swimming day, one combo day, and one extremely long SUP day.  The challenges have an element of adventure to them as they become much more about the personal challenge than racing your competition.

    I was fortunate enough to go with my best friend and business partner Jess Rocheleau who decided beforehand she was going to complete all the challenges, even with hardly any paddling training.  Jess is a tremendous athlete in her own sport of swimming and triathlon, but knew she would be relying on her underlying fitness and mental strength to get through this event.  I had been training a fair amount for this event, but Jess’s support became a major reason that I was able to push through those times I wanted to quit.

    The first day was one of the hardest… a 22 mile prone paddle around the island of Bora Bora in every condition you could ask for… pouring down rain, wind, and some sun.  After finishing this paddle with spaghetti arms we knew that three more days of this would take more than just physical strength, but even more mental and psychological toughness.

    That night we even had a second challenge… a sunset/night SUP paddle… but this became so much more about taking in one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.

    We woke up the second day and were greeted with sunshine! It was the swim day and Jess was especially ready for this.  The swim ended up being a little over 6 miles completed in four stages all around the island.  Thankfully we had a little break to swim with the sharks during this!

    It was during the second day we really got to know the local Tahitian competitors.  The Tahitians are born and bred water people as the ocean is such a part of their history and daily lives.  Outrigger canoe paddling (also called va’a) is the most popular sport in Tahiti and this translates extremely well to SUP paddling as well.  Still the Tahitian competitors were extremely strong in the prone paddling and swimming events and most importantly did it all with a positive spirit. 

    The third day we woke up again to rain in paradise and were greeted with a challenge that involved both forms of paddling, swimming, and running up a motu (small island).  This event really allowed those to shine who were good at a wide variety of crafts.  We were all still holding our breaths for the final day…

    The fourth and final morning we all knew would be the most challenging.  We were greeted with a 30 miles SUP paddle (at least it was broken up in 3 different stages!).  For me this was the most difficult by far as SUP is my weakest craft of the three we competed in.  This was also BY FAR the longest I had ever paddling on a stand up board.  But when the physical pain became real, I couldn’t think about how much longer I had to go, but come back to the moment and focus on each stroke at a time.  This intense focus allows one to go into a state of FLOW which is a very peaceful psychological state to be in and almost like a meditation.  Nothing else matters accept that PRESENT moment on the water.  For me, this is why I find so much pleasure in the pain.


    Well… Jess and I both made it… and it couldn’t have been any better moment to complete such an intense journey with your best friend.  Bora Bora will always have a special place in our hearts as this experience really showed both of us who were really are and why we do the things we do.

    I want to give a special thanks to Jolyn for always supporting me in my adventures and keeping me looking and feeling great in the best swimwear out there.   Thank you also to all the people who made this trip possible and helped out along the way including Stephan Lambert, Air Tahiti Nui, Sofitel Bora Bora, Surftech Tahiti, SUP the Mag, Donald Miralle, Tim Mckenna, and Tahiti Fly Shoot.




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    0 comments / Posted by Melissa Matheson


    What is your favorite dryland workout? (If you have a specific circuit or Cross Fit workout you like, let us know so we can share): 

    I like to change it up with my drylands and cross training/running so I don't have a specific workout, but my favorite exercise are plyometrics and box jumps!

    What is your favorite water work out (Masters polo practice, ocean swim, surf session, if you have a specific swim set you like, please share): 

    I have so many favorite water workouts! I love night swim training in the Long Island Sound and I love swimming masters practice in new towns and cities while traveling. In the pool when training solo, I have a tendency to make pyramid workouts pretty often which I usually find to be a good challenge. 

    What activities do you do in JOLYN:

    I do everything in Jolyn! Aside from swimming 240+ miles of just competitive open water swimming in 2016 (not including training distances), I love to hike in Jolyn, I wear Jolyn on beach runs, and to be perfectly honest sometimes I wear a Jolyn Tomcat top as a bra.

    What's your favorite JOLYN color:

    My favorite Jolyn solid colors are Mango and Black! I have way too many favorite prints.

    What's your favorite JOLYN style and why:

    I love love love Tomcat tops and Brazil bottoms! Tomcat tops are so great because I love how supportive, breathable, and stylish they are. Guaranteed, I always get compliments when wearing a Tomcat and thats just the bonus to them being comfortable for up to eleven hours of marathon swimming in a race. Brazil cut are my favorite bottoms because, just like my favorite top, the Brazil cut bottoms are so comfortable to wear for hours on end in the water. They are also extremely versatile and I love that I can do anything active in them, or feel good wearing them when just hanging out on the beach. 

    If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be:

    To be practical... I'd probably want to have a hat, a Nalgene bottle, and a knife. I'd just hope I ended up there while wearing my Jolyn! 

    What's your favorite beach that you have been to and what beach is on your list to go to:

    As much as I love spending time on the beaches of Bermuda, I'd have to say my favorite beach I've been to is Playa South Beach Park in Boca Raton, FL because no matter how many places I go and beautiful beaches I discover, that is the beach I grew up on and it will always hold a special place in my heart. 

    I most want to go to the beaches of Palau! Palau has intrigued me for years and has been my number one dream destination to explore!

    If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children:

    Live! Take every chance, always say yes to positive opportunity, follow your heart, be present, and do what you love. It is amazing where life can take you when you live this way and open your heart and mind to experiencing the world.

    What is the craziest thing you have ever done:

    I have trouble choosing just one craziest thing, but I suppose it would be my first ice mile swim. I did a one mile swim on February 3, 2013 in the Long Island Sound under the rules set by the International Winter Swimming Association (one mile swim in under 5C (41F) water temperature, unassisted, in a standard swim suit, cap, and goggles). The water temperature when I did my swim was 34F/35F and the air temperature was 24F/26F, on a very over cast day with a snow covered ground. I had never experienced a pain as aggressive as the feeling in my hands, like knives were repeatedly stabbing them each time they came into the air to take the next stroke. I experienced severe hypothermia that day but thankfully had no permanent damage. It was such an incredible accomplishment both physically and mentally just to even get into that water. Little did I know that was just the start of my winter swimming, and that years later I would end up in Argentina swimming in the glacial waters of Perito Moreno glacier, the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere in the middle of winter!

    What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

    Lots of spinach, almond butter, oranges... and there would be ben & jerry's in the freezer :)

    If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why: 

    If I were an animal I would be a sea turtle. I admire their grace in the water and I feel I relate to them in that during their life they travel hundreds of miles but always return to the same beaches from which they were born. I travel the world to swim but I love and appreciate going back to my home beaches, too. 

    What would you spend your last $10 on:

    A margarita pizza with broccoli and a side of butter for the crust. 

    What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced: 

    I did a 25k swim race July 30th, 2016 in Lake Memphremagog in Vermont. The swim race began at the southern part of the gorgeous lake, then the course went across the Canadian border and looped back. It was a hot summer day, but beautiful nonetheless. I started my swim strong with my favorite kayaker, Lizzy, by my side but after about two hours into the swim I started getting sick. I couldn't hold in any of my feeds (CarboPro every 30 minutes), but I kept powering on. At about six hours into my swim, my right shoulder started hurting and eventually gave out on me. By eight hours into the swim, my stomach was cramped up and sore from vomiting for so many hours and I could barely lift my arm out of the water for a full stroke. I was physically broken and had so little mental strength left to get me through, but I did not want to quit. A swim that I should have finished hours faster ended up taking me nearly eleven hours to complete. Despite my pains and discomforts, I realized my true ability to persevere and I discovered how much inner strength I have. This was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced because the challenge put me face to face with myself and challenged me to be the person I am. 

    What is the most important part of a sandwich?

    Avocado, hands down. 

    Any last words or testimonial?

    I am grateful for the role models I have in the sport of swimming and for the strong women role models I grew up with in life. I love being able to live my passion and do what I love, and I only hope I can inspire others the way I've been inspired, in sport and in life. Discovering Jolyn a few years ago changed the way I perform in the water and made my aquatic lifestyle more comfortable and fun, which makes following my passion in swimming that much better!

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    0 comments / Posted by Melissa Matheson


    What keeps you motivated to be active and healthy?

    I feel best physically, emotionally, and spiritually when I eat clean and live an active lifestyle. I’m addicted to endorphins and love the feeling that a good, hard, fun workout gives me, whether it be running the beach, surfing, or paddling. I’m a vegetarian and it makes me feel good eating sustainably and close to the earth.

     What is your favorite dryland workout? (If you have a specific circuit or Cross Fit workout you like, let us know so we can share):

    I love a good mid-distance run in the sand on Wrightsville Beach, with callisthenic stations at each lifeguard stand (approximately every ½ mile). Finish the workout off with 5 sets of 30 abs exercises and a sun salutation to cool down.

    What is your favorite water work out i.e. swimming, water polo, ocean swim, surf session, SUP (if you have a specific swim set you like, please share):

    When the waves are up, you’ll find me in the water all day long. I love to longboard and I am learning how to ride a short board. If it’s flat, I’ll be on my SUP board paddling the waterways and ocean side of Wrightsville Beach. And if the water is really clear and calm, a long ocean swim can’t be beat.

    What activities do you do in JOLYN:

    Absolutely Everything. Lifeguard, Train, Swim, Surf, SUP, Scuba Dive, Run, Paddle, Surfski, Beach Volleyball, Sail, Free-Dive, Hike, Snorkel, Travel….should I go on? I honestly do not leave my home without a JOLYN suit in my bag or car for whatever the day might bring!

    What's your favorite JOLYN color:

    Cabernet, followed closely by Army. Love those Earthy Tones!

    What's your favorite JOLYN style and why:

    The Weston Bottoms are my favorite! Seamless, cheeky, and a drawstring for security. So flattering and cute!

    If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be? 

    1. Sharp Machete
    2. Snorkel Mask
    3. Potato Seedlings

    What's your favorite beach that you have been to and what beach is on your list to go to? 

    Favorite Beach: Hatteras Island, Outer Banks NC

    To go: The Galapagos Islands

    Who is your favorite athlete?

    Mia Hamm was so inspiring when I was growing up! She helped lead the USA women’s soccer team to victory and was largely responsible for the huge surge in popularity for women’s soccer.

    What are 3 things on your bucket list? 

    1. Free Dive with Humpback Whales in Tonga
    2. Dive the Galapagos
    3. American National Park/West Coast Road trip

    If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children? 

    Follow your dreams; you have the capability to do or be anything you want to be. You may not have the same ideas as your parents, peers, or teachers, but your heart and the universe will guide you in making important decisions in your lifetime. Work hard, but find ample time to play, too. Travel. See the world. Take risks, but be smart. Be thrifty, and save your money for experiences, not things. Throw 100% of yourself into everything you do.

    What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

    Sailed to Columbia from Panama on a Tiny Sailboat with a Frenchman and a British guy. We had all just graduated as Scuba Instructors and went on a rogue scuba adventure trip diving on uncharted reefs off the Columbian Coast, living off of Lion Fish Ceviche and fresh Caipirinhas. It was an unforgettable adventure.

    What would we find in your refrigerator right now?

    Hummus, Carrots, Red Stripe, Grapefruits, Speckled Trout (Caught right off the backyard), Brie.

    What nail polish color are you?

    None- I bite mine

    What motivates you?

     My Peers and friends; I’ve been so blessed to be surrounded by women who inspire me every day. My family also; I would do anything for them.

    If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why? 

    Any bird of Prey for the flying aspect, but I would love to travel around the world’s oceans like the Humpback whales. Imagine what those creatures see in their lifetime!

    What book would you recommend to our readers? 

    Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel 

    What is something that nobody knows about you? 

    I’m really, really good at Super Smash Brothers the video game (N64 and Gamecube version)

    What would you spend your last $10 on? 

    NY Style Pizza and Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

    What is your signature dish in the kitchen?

    Spicy Thai Green Curry with Fried tofu

    What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced?  

    The death of my Grandmother

    What is your favorite holiday destination?

    I love to travel and try never go to the same place twice, but Koh Phayam in Thailand would have to be up there on my favorite travel destinations.

    What is the most important part of a sandwich?

    The Bread of course

    What is your most embarrassing moment you're willing to admit?

    I was going to make a rescue while lifeguarding and jumped off the stand and completely face planted after mis-stepping. The entire beach was watching me, but at least they all clapped when I brought the guy in.

    Any last words or testimonial?

    I am so thankful to work for JOLYN and with all of the inspiring women who make up our team!

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  • Meet Mother, Fitness Model & Open Water Swimmer: Micha Shaw

    0 comments / Posted by Hannah Sebenaler

    Name: Micha Shaw
    Instagram: @michashaw
    Brief description of yourself:  I’m a mom and sports model living in Huntington Beach. My pre-baby days were spent competing in Open Water swimming and Lifesaving competitions. I trained for the 2008 and briefly for the 2012 Olympics in the 10K Open Water event. I swam at Cal (GO BEARS!). I grew up all over the place…Washington, England, South Africa, but I consider myself an Alaskan at heart. That’s where I spent most of my time growing up. 
    What is your favorite dryland workout?  My favorite dryland workouts are yoga, boxing, hiking. Probably my most favorite workout would be when my husband and I work out together in our  garage or at the beach. I love box jumps, pull-ups and the TRX. If we are at the beach, I like to add sand sprints to really torture myself!


    What is your favorite water work out?  Ocean swims and surfing in warm water. Swimming anytime. Honestly, now as a mom I find it hard to be consistent with one particular workout. Anytime I can get out of the house by myself, it’s usually for a workout. I dream of one day joining a masters team, and being the overly competitive old chick that tries to keep up with the young kids. 


    Describe your dream day at the beach: My dream day at the beach would include my best girl friends, we would body surf, surf, paddle and swim until the only thing we have energy for is lifting a nacho to our mouth and holding onto an ice cold bud light. I imagine this would take place in Sayulita.
    What activities do you do in JOLYN? Play in the sand with my kids, swim, paddle, surf…I once did a crossfit competition in JOLYN!
    Favorite JOLYN color: Cabernet
    Favorite JOLYN style and why: Softy bottom, if I had to choose just one. But I’m pretty sure I never met a JOLYN I didn’t like ;)
    If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be: Since bringing my family is not in their best interest…I would bring a bikini, Sunblock and a giant jar of peanut butter


    What's your favorite beach that you've been to and what beach is on your list to go to?  Dream Beach, Lembongan Island. Noosa Heads, any beach off the Great Ocean Road, Australia. All the beaches in Bali. I got married in Changuu, Bali in 2009. Currently on my travel list is Sayulita, Sri Lanka (swimming with Blue Whales!!), and Turks and Caicos…which I will be traveling to in 32 days with my husband, but who’s counting?
    Who is your favorite athlete? One of my best friends, Natalie Coughlin, who showed me what it means to be a true bad ass. 
    What are 3 things on your bucket list: Swim with blue whales, travel to Morocco, drive across country in a custom airstream


    If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children: Always choose love. Regret nothing. Travel as much as possible.
    What would we find in your refrigerator right now: Salsa, eggs, peanut butter, blueberries and some forgotten leftovers!
    If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why:  A Dolphin, so I could know what it's like to be fearless in the waves.
    What would you spend your last $10 on: Coffee, chips and salsa and a lottery ticket.

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    0 comments / Posted by Melissa Matheson

    Motivational Mondays // Juliana Bahr-Thomson

    If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be:
    Coconut water, underwater camera and surfboard

    What's your favorite beach that you have been to:
    I have had the pleasure of paddling almost the entire east coast of Australia, to choose a favorite beach is one of the most difficult questions. But I’d have to say the points of Noosa and the National Park is my favorite other salty home.

    What beach is on your list to go to:
    I dream of going to Morocco, Taiwan and the Greek Islands to explore their coast lines and culture.

    Who is your favorite athlete:

    I have a lot of athletes I look up to but Siri Linley, Laura Bennett and Rebekah Keat are my fav. They have all been personal mentors for me at some point during my triathlon career.

    -What are 3 things on your bucket list: Simply to travel and discover new cultures, I have quite a list of places i'm still yet to

    If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children:
    Enjoy every day, you work your entire life you may as well love what you do. Chase good times not money and things.

    What is the craziest thing you have ever done:
    Probably paddling a board out as sea for 43 days, 202 hours and covering 1000km from Newcastle to Noosa.

    What's your favorite JOLYN color:

    I love the smokey grey color, I have a bikini top in it!

    -What's your favorite JOLYN style and why:

    I really like the 1 piece swimmers, they are a great cut and the subtle detail with the back
    straps as well as the side panels amazes me!

    What motivates you:

    Others stories of adversity and how they overcame obstacles, seeing people push limits and reading autobiographies of successful people.

    If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why:

    I’d be a Macaw parrot, I’ve always loved birds and I’m all about color!

    What activities do you do in JOLYN:

    I actually wear them as my work lifeguard uniform, I also train in my JOLYN 1 pieces and board paddle and surf in my 2 pieces.

    What's the most inspiring race you've ever seen:

    I think some of the best races that have inspired me have been the 1989 Ironman Triathlon world championship battle between Dave Scott and Mark Allen, and then again in 2010 with a very similar finish taking place between Chris McCormack and Raelert.

    How do you like to cross train? or What is your favorite cross training activity:

    I absolutely love running, only issue is I’m recovering from a major ankle surgery so I haven’t run properly in 1.5 years and I’m just relearning to jog and run all over again now.

    What book would you recommend to our readers:

    The 5 love languages, it is something everyone in life should read. It is such a great book and helps you reconnect with friends, family, work colleagues and partners on a much better level.

    What inspires you:

    Books, I love reading so much. I have my particular themes I stick by and I get so much out of reading and being able to relate to them.

    What is something that nobody knows about you:

    I get really shy so I’m not overly social and I keep to myself

    What would you spend your last $10 on:

    Maybe a sharpie pen and a coffee so I could sit in a café and sketch.

    What is your signature dish in the kitchen:

    My giant salad which is a mix of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.

    What is your favorite workout or gym exercise:

    TRX it’s a very versatile training tool and I make it a lot of fun not always taking things too seriously.

    What is your favorite holiday destination:

    California, I have spent a lot of time there over the years and I truly love it there, but I honestly have so many favourite places. Hawaii, Thailand, Caribbean, Singapore,
    Germany, Switzerland and Fort De France have all been amazing places to visit. I have too many favorites!

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