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get into racing

Our race doctor Bryce Dyer is looking at answering the question… Are expensive SUP paddles worth it? With so many paddles out there to choose from, at all kinds of price points where do you start and is a $300-400 paddle different to a $100-200 paddle? This doesn’t just apply to race paddles but all paddles. Believe it or not even a newer paddler would benefit from paddling a nice paddle. Once you have used a good paddle you will never go back!

It’s always good to see SUP action from all over the world. And this event held in Japan Kakegawa shows there are some great fun waves to be had there, and surfers of all levels to make the most of them.

Looks like Japan also has a good level of juniors coming into the sport which is always great to see.

Below is a highlight video of the race event which saw some close finishes.

Belo

The best way to get good at something is to do it lots! When SUPs are involved this means lots of time on the water, but unfortunately we don’t all have lots of free time. 

But what if there was a way of speeding up progression. A way of making marginal gains more like major gains in just one session?

Well, when it comes to racing there is one thing you can do to help you train and improve your performance… get your race board out in the surf. I can guarantee it will do more than just make you paddle faster!

Read 5 reasons why you should take your race board out in the surf…

Increases board control
Moving and paddling your board out through the surf line and surfing back in again is great practice for tuning and improving your board control. Having to adjust and balance on your board throughout the whole session keeps you fresh and light on your feet. Imagine the opposite training. Paddling in a straight line for 2 miles, doing 1 buoy turn and then paddling back again. Great for tuning a good paddle technique but not for increasing board control.

Great for sprint practice
Catching waves early and trying to ride very small waves on a race board is a great way of doing sprint training without knowing you’re doing boring sprint training! This is one reason why SUP surfers often make good race sprinters. Being able to use quick bursts of energy to catch the smallest or earliest of waves. Trying to catch waves really early when the bump is the smallest of slopes is a really good way of tuning your technique. Waves can move quickly and generally the bigger the swell the faster the wave is moving. Try catching a big swell far out from the beach or in an open channel where it’s not breaking, and you will see how fast you have to sprint to keep up with an open water swell. 

Really get to know your board
Using your race board in the surf will help you work out when and why your board works best. It’s important to understand the limits of your board and how far you can push it. ie at what point does your board nose dive when catching a steeper wave? And how can you best trim your board to stop it nose diving? Also where do you need to stand to be able to paddle the fastest to catch the wave the earliest? There will also be a sweet spot at the back of the board which makes your board turn the best on the wave face. This will also be the same sweet spot that works best when doing buoy turns. 

“Every board has pros and cons. Good paddlers know their board and know what they are.”

Pushes your comfort zone
Doing stuff you are used to and good at is fine and good for muscle memory. But pushing your limits now and then, and practising something you’re not so good at is important too if you want to progress your paddling. After just afew sessions, chances are what you may have thought as too difficult or maybe even too dangerous a few weeks ago could almost feel the norm. For example, entering a race in surf can feel very alien and nerve-racking to many flat water paddlers. But by practising in very small waves at first, you can slowly increase your confidence until you are happy to go out in bigger surf. Then when it comes to race day you will feel happy and confident using your race board in a wave environment and all you will have to do is think about your race plan and paddling around the other racers who haven’t been practicing in the waves! Not to mention how much more confidence you will have when you go to a flatwater race after paddling in the surf. It will feel easy!

It’s lots of fun! 
If you can make something fun I can guarantee you will be doing it more often and for longer. Paddling a race board in surf is a lot of fun. A 2 hour session can easily slip away feeling like you’ve been out for just 30mins. But that evening your body will tell you it was longer session!

“Hard training can be made easy and fun.” 

If you’re keen to race and improve, getting out on your race board in the surf is a must. It really will turn those marginal gains into major gains. Your increased board knowledge, board skills and overall confidence will leave you more head space to tackle that next race in your paddling calendar. 

Video by SUP Norte SIC Maui RS 14’0 x 24.5”, in Matosinhos Beach, Portugal

Feature Image by Georgia Schofield

The cross bow turn is a simple manoeuvre to do and many paddlers learn to do it in their first SUP session. Turning a big, long race board can be hard work, but if you do the cross bow turn effectively you can turn almost as fast as the more complex step back turn. In this SUPboarder Pro how to video we look at how we can take this simple turning manoeuvre to the next level.

Naish N1SCO 2018 Entry is live

N1SCO returns for 2018 with 3 stand alone UK Championships. The One Design Racing class where all paddlers race identical boards to keep racing fair and affordable has now grown into the largest SUP racing class in the UK.

N1SCO Championships feature multi discipline racing where competitors get a chance to try sprints, slalom stlye and more traditional long distance races all in one day to decide their overall standing. Racing is focused on fun competition which is open to all experience levels. To reflect this venues are chosen that allow racing in sheltered waters close to the shore and in areas where there is plenty to do for the whole family. Venues voted as favourites by the paddlers make a return to the calender with Emsworth and Swanage hosting the Spring Championships and National Championships respectively.

Topping off the bill will be Nottingham which is a new venue for the year and will see N1SCO venture further North to where some of the biggest N1SCO SUP clubs are based. Whether paddling or not, all three venues will offer up close and personal racing so spectators will be very welcome. Competitors can enter with their own equipment or can opt for rental equipment provided by Naish UK but this is limited so is likely to sell out first. All events will be capped at 100 paddlers and are expected to sell out to full capacity.

Entry is live at www.n1SCO.co.uk along with information on the racing and venues. Championship dates are;

19th May Emsworth

16th/17th JUne Swanage

7th July Nottingham

Read more about Naish N1SCO one design racing on SUPboarder here.

Launching a SUP in waves can be a daunting task if you don’t know how. But with a basic understanding of how best to control your board and paddle in the surf, you will soon feel confident and feel able to go out in bigger waves. Whether it’s a surf SUP or race board the basic principles are the same…

  • Don’t put your leash on until you get to the waters edge
  • Consider where is best/easiest to launch
  • Keep your board at 90º to the waves at all times
  • Stand to one side and use 2 hands to control your board
  • Ensure your paddle blade is pointing towards the shore at all times
  • Keep your fingers away from handle when in the waves
  • Push down on the tail of your board when the wave approaches
  • Don’t get on your board until approx waist depth
  • Paddle hard and get out back as quickly as possible
  • Stand up as soon as you feel confident to do so
  • Get you confidence up launching in smaller waves before you attempt the big stuff!

When it comes to SUP racing knowing how hard to paddle and for how long can be a really tricky thing to work out. For most of the race you should be paddling at a general race pace… but what is your general race pace and how do you keep it up? These are questions all levels of racers should try and answer before entering a race. In this SUP race video Ben Fisher gives us some of his general race pace tips and tricks to get you paddling harder for longer and keeping a happy general race pace.

Starts don’t get anymore dramatic for both paddlers and spectators, than when SUP racing starting with a running start from the beach. But when starting like this it’s vital to get a good start off the beach because a fast beach starter can launch themselves into a good lead that sometimes can be hard for other paddlers to claw back later in the race.

Starboard UK Team rider Ben Pye gives us a run through of his super slick beach starts.

Remember : Depending on the race and what the race organisers allow you may or may not be allowed to wear a leash.