Competitive stand up paddleboarder shares tips on racing

If you have ever thought of racing a stand up paddleboard here are a few pointers to get you prepared for the big day.  

Equipment

Make sure your paddle is the correct length. There are debates within the community on the right length but you can't go too far wrong with the handle at your wrist when the paddle is standing upright. Make sure you are comfortable on your board in the conditions of the race. It's always best to have practiced with your hydration equipment as well. Being comfortable with and knowing your gear will help ease some of the race day jitters.

Getting on and off your board

There are a variety of different types of starts from standing water starts, sitting water starts, beach starts, and beach runs to your board. Get out and practice a variety of starts so you are comfortable without people around.  Once you stand with 200 other paddles, things get a lot more complicated and intimidating. I like to do a few quick strokes right off the start to get ahead of the pack and paddle cleaner water. On beach starts I aim to get on the board quick. It is a good idea to practice your reaction time off the gun at home with no pressure.

Sprinting

Using the 'Choke down stroke’ and widening your grip on your paddle will help increase your cadence and really power through strokes. This style of stroke is not sustainable for a long period of time but is very efficient for sprinting off the start, catching others, catching waves, and or at the end of the race. 

 

Turning

Learn to pivot turn—this is the fastest way to turn. Put weight on the back of the board, stand in a surfer stance, and stroke forward with the paddle to pivot the board. The tighter the turn, the faster you can be around a buoy.

Enjoy

Have fun and feel the aloha around you. SUP has an amazing community of people! 

Lina Augaitis left competitive gymnastics and has since explored numerous sports and competed in most of them. Adventure racing introduced her to kayaking and the water, which eventually lead her to compete in stand up paddleboarding – SUP for short. She is going to share her stories of success, failures, firsts, thrills, goals, and opportunities within the rapidly-developing sport of SUP. She was a keynote speaker at FEAT Canada in March 2013.

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