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get into racing

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.

In this new SUPboarder ‘How to video” series we look at SUP racing techniques with Ben Fisher, the 2017 Naish N1SCO European Champion. Ben shares with us his top racing techniques and tips which will help you get more out of racing and hopefully closer to that podium finish!

This second video is all about SUP buoy turns. Races can be won and lost at the buoy turn. So being able to complete a fast smooth buoy turn is vital to keep that lead, and for less time swimming and more time racing! The great thing about buoy turns is that they are easy to practice and you don’t need much space on the water to try them. Head to your local estuary and find some unused soft rubber boat buoys and set yourself up a course involving front and backside turns and you will soon get them nailed.

N1SCO racing in the UK has grown dramatically over the last few years. SUPboarder has been involved in capturing N1SCO events with write ups and event videos in the past, and we’ve seen the stoke that these events create from paddlers all over Europe. But we’ve never actually taken part in a N1SCO event… until now! Will Rogers from SUPboarder decided to put the race bib on and give it a go, heading to the last stop on the N1SCO UK Series held in sunny Swanage on the UK’s South Coast. Will is not a racer, he’s much more likely to be found surfing or paddling a solo SUP adventure somewhere at the weekend rather than driving to race events. But after this event we think its fair to say that Will will be back for more of the N1SCO racing experience!

Check the full results and photos for the event here : n1sco.co.uk/swanage-not-inland-championships-results 

Read and watch more Naish N1SCO racing on SUPboarder here : N1SCO on SUPboarder

Feature image by Andy Stallman

98 Paddleboards in just after the gun

Passionate SUP racer Dr Bryce Dyer is back, but this time sharing his top tips on how to gain more speed and up your overall performance throughout the long race season…

There comes a time as a season wears on that your gains in speed become increasingly limited, or you start to get some mental fatigue as a result of ‘train, race, repeat’. The reality is that it’s hard sometimes to keep on it, day after day, week after week and month after month. Even elite athletes in many sports may only intend to peak two or three times a year and their season length will be dictated by this. UK-based SUP racers on the other hand can have a long season. For example, many of the big events started early April and the UK SUP national series can often head into October. That’s 8 months and is long by any sports standards. It’s going to be tough to keep at your best for that long and the science says you shouldn’t if you want to be at your best when it matters. This all said, going fast on a SUP board isn’t just a case of paddling fast – it’s a symbiotic relationship between man and technology and is basically one big system. What does this mean to you ?

It means that you don’t need to focus just on paddling hard to get faster but an understanding that to get faster, you need to maximise the things moving you forwards and/or reduce the things slowing you down.

In my own research, I suggest an athlete’s success is based upon the management of ‘assistive and resistive factors’. So with all of this mind, here are 10 low cost, lo-fi options for you to pick up a little bit of speed for not a lot of effort…

Downsize the fin

Hydrodynamic drag being what it is, the less surface area or things you have moving around in the water, the faster you’ll go. I’m actually a fan of scaling the fin to the size and force output of the paddler but nonetheless, trying a fin that is a little smaller than what you currently have might make your board a little tippier but it might add some speed too. Read more about race fins with Bryce’s feature here : sup-technical-bryce-dyer-looks-sup-race-fins

SUP Fin Testing - Bryce Dyer

Lose some lumber

This is a touchy subject for many of us (and one I personally avoided until I entered my 40’s). I’d spent 20 years relying on exercise as the sole basis to keeping my weight stable but as I age, our metabolism slows down and you become a true reflection of your lifestyle choices (read ‘sins’ !). The reality is that SUP paddling performance is influenced by a paddler’s power to weight. To move faster you can increase your power but this will be increasingly difficult to do the longer you are involved in a sport. Secondly, you can reduce your mass. This means you cut down the amount of energy you expend as you have to accelerate yourself every time you apply a stroke in the water. Taking a look at your diet in terms of its quality and quantity could shave more kilos than buying a new lighter board.

Get a computer or GPS with stroke data

There is an argument that suggests SUP racing is instinctive and that you don’t need technology governing your decision making, However, knowing aspects such as heart rate, current speed and stroke length can tell you a lot of what is going on with you or with the conditions. Consider races like this year’s Head of the Dart – At the race briefing we were instructed to always try and hold the centre of the river as this was both fastest and safest. This advice was born out when in the latter stages, a fast group that was behind me (comprising Team Starboard’s Ben Pye and Crispin Jones) took the shortest distance through one of the bends towards the end of the race. However, when I decided to start to move in to cover them, I noticed quickly on my GPS that my board speed was dropping fast and my stroke length drastically reduced – Put simply, I was moving out of the main river flow. Yes, I would have saved a few yards but the loss in speed wasn’t worth it. I opted to stay out where I was and increased my gap to them. Without that information, I wouldn’t have known.

Go with the unfamiliar

Sometimes racers can get locked in to a pecking order finishing order mentality. They finish in front and behind of the same people time after time as that’s what their brain tells them to expect and accept. Changing the race distance or style of racing or racing outside your normal region can allow you to make breakthroughs you wouldn’t get by doing the norm.

Sand the fin

Boards run aground or can strike objects in the water and this can take the odd nick or chunk out of a fin. Those imperfections will disrupt the water flow and as a result, will create drag and slow you down. Get some sand paper or emery cloth and a flat sanding block and spend a minute or two getting them out.

Clean the board

You may not have noticed but when you paddle on rivers, lakes and the sea, the board does pick up grime. This grime, (even if you can’t see it) can affect the skin drag of the board and again can slow you down. Hydrophobic coatings are used on some watercraft but you can get somewhere close to this by using washing up liquid or degreaser. There is also some social responsibility attached to this as cleaning your gear prevents bacteria and contamination being spread from place to place.

Head of the Dart 2014

Eat for performance

To be honest, this is something I’ve been aware of for years but literally only implemented in the last couple of months. This is different to the weight management issue I mentioned in tip 2. Eating for performance involves eating the right stuff pre training/racing and doing the same after it. If you’re worried about your weight, this may seem counterintuitive but with a fired up metabolism and some sensible eating, I’ve personally found this lets me train harder, for longer and to recover faster. Keep that up for week after week and you this can allow you to do more and therefore get faster.

Develop functional strength

The jury is still out on this one for me but I do performance some strength work at the important times of my racing year. For example I train with ginormous paddles sometimes. The reason is to develop sports specific strength that I have found helps apply extra force when needed or to be flexible to adopting a wider range of stroke rates. Go easy with paddles though – they can be joint wreckers. However, there are alternatives such as towing tennis balls off the tail of the board. This will increase the boards drag substantially but means that you need to apply more force to the catch of your stroke to keep your momentum up.

Try different clothing

I’ve been known to wear the odd bit of lycra in a race since the second I started racing in the sport. I probably (and quite reasonably) looked ridiculous. The reason for this though is that aerodynamic drag can be a factor – even at the low speeds we experience (and particularly when you’re as tall as I am). Hit a headwind section and your body could be subjected to a breeze of around 20-30mph and that’s the same as a racing cyclist will see. Board shorts and t shirts are only a fashion statement. Plus, if you get wet, they’ll hold more water and for longer and that could add a kilo or two back on the board. I’m not saying run out and don the spandex but a bit of thought on what you wear can make a difference.

Practise aggressive starts and drafting

Learning to hop on the draft of a faster paddler can send you rocketing up the field in terms of position. Even if you tire and have to drop back sooner or later, you could gain yards that your competition may have to spend a vast proportion of their own race chasing back down.

Words – Dr Bryce Dyer.

So, before you go and splash out on a new faster looking race board, go back to basics and consider all of the above. These low cost, low-fi options may be just the solution to increase your speed, overall performance and position during this years race season. 

In this new SUPboarder ‘How to video” series we look at SUP racing techniques with Ben Fisher the 2017 Naish N1SCO European Champion. Ben shares with us his top racing techniques and tips which will help you get more out of racing and hopefully closer to that podium finish!

This first video is all about SUP sprint starts off the line. Getting a good start is half way to winning race. Being first off the line not only gives you nice flat water in front of you, and puts you in a good mind set for the rest of the race. It also allows you to set control of the pace and saves you having to paddle twice as hard and claw your way back up through the pack later on in the race.

There were smiles all round after another great weekend of N1SCO racing in Swanage. This may have been the final of the N1SCO European championships 2017 but it still ticked all the boxes when it comes to fun racing for all ability paddlers and racers. There is no other event in the world that you will find first time paddlers, family cruisers and performance athletes on the same start line. It’s certainly a sight to be seen and experienced. But don’t just take our word for it!
Check out three mini interviews by Helen Dennison with 3 very different paddlers.

The event video below with Soaring Productions and Ian Gray Promotional Filming and photography gives you a really good feel for the event.

10th/11th June saw 100 Naish One paddlers from 8 countries including one die hard competitor from Japan race at the N1SCO European Championships. Taka took the 22 hour commute from Tokyo to race on the sheltered waters of Swanage Bay, nestled in a beautiful valley on the UK’s South coast. Competitors ranged from 10 years of age through to 69 years young and from first time racers through family cruisers to trained SUP athletes vying for the title. Regardless of paddling experience smiles were all around as new friendships were made as tales of racing were shared on the beach and in the N1SCO Beach Bar. Racing followed the N1SCO format with three race disciplines; Sprint, Mid distance and a Long distance race on the Sunday with guest appearance of local pirate Slack Sparrow. Saturday evening saw the racers and their families sit down to a social dinner in the beach bar overlooking the waters of the bay with free beer from event sponsor Whitstable Bay before enjoying live music and the atmosphere of the towns yearly Fish Festival. Attention now moves to the final UK N1SCO Championships of the year at Bray lake on the 8th July for the N1SCO Inland Championships which expects to welcome a sell out fleet once again to enjoy the N1SCO race format. Words : Alex Tobutt / Naish UK

Remember N1SCO racing is for everyone and you don’t even need to have your own Naish One Design board (N1SCO) as you can rent one from the event organisers.

The next event will be held at Bray Lake, near Reading next month on the 8th of July.

Get involved here : n1sco.co.uk

Feature image : Mark Ellis 


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