How Neuroscience Coaching Helped Waterwoman,
Dagmar De Zwart Conquer Fear of Water

Neuroscience Coaching
Dagmar De Zwart, MAUI, Hawaii

Neuroscience Coaching helped Dagmar De Zwart, Haiku, MAUI: “Little did I know that this time the rough conditions out there, the fear of those steep waves the catamaran was often riding on, would trigger a severe anxiety of getting out in the ocean stand up paddling by myself in even small wave conditions.”

The first time I met Suzie was in 2010 on Maui’s Southside where she organized the first largest SUP event “Stand Up for Women’s Health & Fitness”. There were over 400 women on the beach from around the world. And I was one of them and hooked on Stand up Paddling.

What an amazing inspiration this event was for me and my girlfriends.

So, inspiring to see and hear her story and then she tells us all, “If I did it, you can do too”.

I followed Suzie all those past years, read her SUP Coaching Book and love her amazing encouraging and positive mindset “The mind wins first, the body will follow”.

“Mind Over Matter, from the Maldives past the North of Madagascar through the
Mozambique Channel to South Africa

My husband Bart is an amazing waterman and his mantra is “Mind over Matter”. So, since a lot of years, I was already surrounded by a similar mindset, but to hear that from a water woman was an extra inspiration for me.

My husband, our daughter and I sailed around the world from 2005-2008. I was used to be on the water for weeks at a time, be surrounded by just water, the endless horizon and difficult sailing passages with lots of wind and waves.

Beginning of last year, we started a new business that involved a 57ft catamaran and taking care of guests in remote places around the world, but included to bring the boat from one destination to the next. Long ocean passages were waiting for us. And I thought I did that before and it was easy to get used to that again.

But this time it involved a very difficult sailing passage, one of the most difficult one there is, sailing the catamaran from the Maldives past the North of Madagascar through the Mozambique Channel to South Africa.

Little did I know that this time the rough conditions out there, the fear of those steep waves the catamaran was often riding on, would trigger a severe anxiety of getting out in the ocean stand up paddling by myself in even small wave conditions.

When I was back on Maui I went out on my SUP and couldn’t overcome this fear of being surrounded by waves even if they were just small ones. My friends, through all those years consider me brave and fearless. But that’s not me right now and I really want to have that feeling, that emotional strength back in my life.

“And what was really an eye opener for me, was her statement that this knowledge about my brain could be transformed into my personal secret weapon.”

And then I read Suzie’s post about her Neuroscience advanced brain-based coaching. And what was really an eye opener for me, was her statement that this knowledge about my brain could be transformed into my personal secret weapon. Would that be the answer, a shifting of my mindset? And after a coaching session with her, I am back out in the ocean, visualizing and setting my goal for my time on the water, realizing what my triggers are and training my brain to focus on a positive start of my day.

Thank you, Suzie, for sharing all your experience and knowledge, for letting me realize that the power is in me to reach my full potential, to change my mindset first and then my body will be ready for the performance I am so longing for.


Dagmar is a strong, courageous woman with a heart of gold and a fierce passion for everything water. I was so honored that she could share with me her desires and needs to come back to the place that feeds her soul and what is a part of her every being.

As her friend and coach, it was a beautiful moment to help her see and create her own passage back to the water. I gave her the tools and the confidence and the rest was up to her.

The day this photo was shot, was a pretty decent large North swell day on Maui. I was out there too and then to learn that Dagmar took her board and charged that ocean was a great reward but most of all allowed her to face her fear and fill her heart with joy!

Thank you sincerely Dagmar for trusting me to help you conquer your fear and get back out there. It’s GREAT to see you smiling and on the water again.

Please feel free to leave Dagmar a comment and applaud her bravery! She is an inspiration to me and to many around the world!

Mahalo for reading this post and please feel free to contact me through my website if you’d like to have a conversation on how I may help you or someone you know. Also learn more about how you can work with me.

Remember “The Mind Wins First”

The Mind Wins First Suzie Cooney

Suzie Cooney, CNTC, CPT

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