Ian Walsh. Paige Alms. Annie Reickert. Izzi Gomez. Greg Long. Summer Macedo. Travis Rice. Eli Hanneman. Savanna Stone. Sierra Quitiquit. What do all of these incredible athletes have in common? They all train at the same gym in Haiku, Maui: Deep Relief.
The heart and soul of Deep Relief, Samantha Campbell has been an athlete her entire life. Although she was never a standout, she found she was good at supporting the needs of her teammates and was able to help them troubleshoot injuries. She has been interested in the medical side of sports since childhood and knew that she wanted to do something that entailed working with bodies, anatomy, or biology.
Following her passion and a call to help athletes, Campbell attended the University of Florida where she earned a degree as an athletic trainer. From there, she began working with the football and track teams as an athletic trainer before an internship led her to Maui.
“I found there were a lot of individual sport athletes that were performing at a really high level but had almost no support like what we had for the teams in the college setting and pro sports settings,” says Campbell. “I saw that gap and wanted to fill it.”
At first, Campbell focused solely therapy side, working with athletes one on one when they were injured. As she was in the process of getting her business off the ground, Campbell simultaneously worked at a small gym in town before it shut down in 2014. As the doors closed on the Haiku gym, Campbell decided it was time to open her own business. And so, in 2014, Deep Relief was born.
As a certified athletic trainer, certified strength and conditioning coach, and a licensed massage therapist, Campbell 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, consult with a therapist, and anything else they may need to support their sport. She also wanted to be able to cater to a wide net of athletes, so she hired a team of massage therapists, physical trainers, and personal trainers to round out her practice.
In an effort to be a well-rounded training and rehabilitation center, Deep Relief offers regular group classes, personal training, physical therapy, power camps, grom trainings, nutrition coaching, yoga, massages, and outcalls. Most of the elite athletes regularly attend group training sessions and save one-on-one sessions for troubleshooting injuries.
Today, Deep Relief caters to a wide net, both near and far. They have a crew of professional and everyday athletes that come through their doors weekly and several athletes that fly in seasonally or work with them remotely. Although Deep Relief hosts a wide variety of athletes, one of their biggest markets is surfers.
“What I notice with the surfers, especially those who have been doing it from a really young age, is their body gets kind of locked into a board sport rotation,” says Campbell. “We really focus on balancing that— we want the athletes to be able to maintain their performance on the water but also be able to walk around in the world and be a normal human for the rest of their lives.”
Instead of having athletes train in their surf stance, Campbell goes 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 hurt, you’re not going to be able to perform at your best,” says Campbell. “The nice thing about having a well-rounded team is that we can maximize the strength part around whatever somebody’s injury is and also be strengthening the injury at the same time.”
Each winter, Campbell gets an influx of surfers from the mainland that head to the Hawaiian Islands to chase big waves. Some only come when there’s swell and Campbell works with them while they’re in town, but others come in regularly and train with her remotely throughout the year.
“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 great atmosphere being surrounded by others athletes and people who are motivated to push themselves. My favorite thing about the camp is that I’m able to go hard and get stronger, but also take the time to slow things down, work on my form and allow myself to develop proper movement patters.”
Deep Relief’s classes are currently booked out and they’re in the process of expanding so they can accommodate more athletes. Campbell has worked with many of her athletes since they were kids and enjoys 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 staying healthy and injury free.
“The people that [the program] is good for understand the program and they understand that we’re playing a long game,” says Campbell. “Our core group is really dedicated and communicative and everybody is supporting each other. We get feedback and talk about our goals for the season, what we feel like we need to work on, and what’s going well. [Athletes] come here and I put them on a schedule and hopefully they leave feeling better than when they got here.”