Like all inventions, the S4 was born out of necessity - and was as basic as it could be!
|Using sand for resistance|
The story starts over 20 years ago when Glenn Hening re-located to teach computers and English in Ventura County. He decided to live at Oxnard Shores - where he could also surf some of the most challenging waves in California a block from his home.
His experience as a serious surfer up and down the coast, Hawai’i and Australia, along with five years in El Salvador, gave him the skills to surf the Shores, not to mention Strand, C-Street, and Rincon at their best and biggest.
But soon his real world priorities being a husband, father, and teacher began to keep him out of the water more often than not. And when the big winter swells started to roll in, Glenn had a problem common to so many surfers: when you are not in the water all the time, how do you stay in shape for those career days you dream about? When the surf is good, "noodle arms” is no laughing matter, as Glenn learned only too well one epic day at his home break.
The afternoon wind was strong offshore and 6-8’ lines were coming out of the northwest one after another. There was no one out as Glenn launched off the beach full of adrenalin. But things quickly went south: he was quickly caught inside by a big set that swept him down the beach for over 100 yards. He tried again– only to have another set come through and push him backwards almost to the beach.
Glenn got out of the water, ran up the beach, and tried again. But now the tide was dropping and the waves were almost non-stop.
For ten minutes he couldn’t make any progress against the incoming white water and the longshore current. Then the adrenalin ran out - and his paddling muscles turned to jelly.
And after another ten minutes of duck-diving wave after wave Glenn was now almost half a mile down the beach and making no progress, When he just couldn’t paddle anymore he finally turned around and came in.
With his dream session turned into a sobering defeat, Glenn lay down on his board and watched dredging, perfect waves peeling on the outside sandbar. He stretched out his aching arms into the sand and started to loosen up his tightened muscles and shoulders by moving his hands through the sand.
Then he noticed the sand’s resistance through the range-of-motion as if he was paddling. And suddenly, Glenn realized how to get ready for the next time the Shores was as good as it gets.
He ran home, put together a test setup in his garage, and immediately knew he was on to something. Glenn constructed a durable unit out of two wooden boxes half full of sand – and for the next 20 years did paddling workouts at home every day as his teaching schedule and family responsibilities permitted.
Then in 2016 he decided to refine his invention - and a year later, the S4 Trainer was introduced to the public at the Boardroom Surf Show in Del Mar, Calfornia.
And of course, ever since that fateful day back in 1994, he has been able to stay in great shape for paddling – and has never had “noodle arms” again - no matter how challenging the surf both down the street and up and down the coast.
Rincon Invitational - 2015