This Maui-Based Gym Produces Some Of Surfing’s Best Athletes

Paige Alms, putting her training to the test. Photo: Sweet Water Hawaii

The heart and soul of Deep Relief, Samantha Campbell has been an athlete all her life. Although she was never outstanding, she found she was good at meeting the needs of her teammates and was able to help them with injury issues. She has been interested in the medical side of sports since childhood and knew she wanted to do something that involved working with bodies, anatomy or biology.

Following her passion and a call to help athletes, Campbell attended the University of Florida where she earned an athletic coaching degree. From there she began working with the football and track teams as an athletic trainer before an internship took her to Maui.

“I discovered that there were a lot of individual sports athletes who performed at a very high level but had almost no support like what we had for teams in college and professional sports,” explains Campbell. “I saw this gap and wanted to fill it.”

Ian Walsh and Izzi Gomez. Photo: Sweet Water Hawaii

At first, Campbell focused only on the therapeutic side, working with athletes one on one when they were injured. While launching her business, Campbell worked concurrently at a small city gym before it closed in 2014. As the doors of the Haiku gym closed, Campbell decided it was time to open. his own company. Thus, in 2014, Deep Relief was born.

As a Certified Athletic Trainer, Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach, and Registered Massage Therapist, Campbell has already brought a lot to the table. But she wanted Deep Relief to be a one-stop-shop where athletes could train, work on injury prevention, rehab injuries, get a massage, see a therapist and anything else they might need to support their sport. She also wanted to be able to meet the needs of a large network of athletes, so she hired a team of massage therapists, physical trainers and personal trainers to supplement her practice.

Aiming to be a comprehensive training and rehabilitation center, Deep Relief offers regular group classes, personal training, physiotherapy, power camps, grom training, nutritional coaching, yoga, massages and tours. Most elite athletes regularly attend group training sessions and book individual sessions for injury repair.

Today, Deep Relief addresses a large network, both near and far. They have a team of professional and daily athletes who come through their doors every week and several athletes who fly seasonally or work with them remotely. Although Deep Relief caters to a wide variety of athletes, one of their biggest markets is surfers.

Ian Walsh, one of the best big wave surfing athletes. Photo: Sweet Water Hawaii

“What I notice about surfers, especially those who have been into it from a young age, is that their bodies are kind of locked into a boardsport rotation,” says Campbell. “We’re really focused on balancing that – we want athletes to be able to maintain their performance on the water, but also be able to walk around the world and be a normal human for the rest of their lives.”

Instead of letting athletes train in their surf stance, Campbell goes in the opposite direction and focuses on stretching and strengthening the hamstrings and back. For her, injury prevention is the top priority.

“No matter how strong you are, if you’re injured you won’t be able to perform at your best,” Campbell says. “The benefit of having a well-balanced team is that we can maximize the strength around someone’s injury and also strengthen the injury at the same time.”

Every winter, Campbell receives an influx of mainland surfers who head to the Hawaiian Islands to chase the big waves. Some only come when it’s swell and Campbell works with them while they’re in town, but others come regularly and train with her remotely throughout the year.

Izzi Gomez flies every winter to train with Deep Relief. Photo: Sweet Water Hawaii

“Every year I look forward to heading to Maui for Winter Power Camp,” says California-based big wave surfer Izzi Gomez. “It’s such a good atmosphere to be surrounded by other athletes and people who are motivated to excel. My favorite thing about camp is that I’m able to go hard and get stronger, but also take time to slow things down, work on my form and allow myself to develop good patterns of movement.

Deep Relief classes are currently full and are expanding to accommodate more athletes. Campbell has worked with many of his athletes since they were children and loves the challenge of meeting their needs as they learn and grow. She is passionate about what she does and wants her athletes to succeed, while remaining healthy and injury free.

” People who [the program] is good at understanding the program and they understand we’re playing a long game,” Campbell said. “Our core group is really dedicated and communicative and everyone supports each other. We get feedback and talk about our goals for the season, what we think we need to work on and what is going well. [Athletes] come here and I put them on a schedule and hope they leave feeling better than when they came here.

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