If you’re looking to up your game, either competitively or recreationally, then 2021’s the time to check out another area of stand up paddling (if you aren’t doing so already). Whether you consider yourself staunchly into one thing, or haven’t even considered other possibilities, now’s the time to make take that leap. After all, you only have to look at the upper echelons of SUP to see how this crossover benefits (even though SUP comps haven’t been happening of late). But what are we on about?
Racing to SUP surf and surfing to stand up paddle board race: by doing one the other will improve, and vice versa – simples. In particular we look at getting out back efficiently and putting yourself in the sweet spot. Using a race SUP helps refine these skills so when you’re back on your trusty surf weapon it’s easier.
Alongside flat water SUP racing stand up paddle board events happen at coastal venues where there’s a distinct possibility swell will be a factor – either offshore bumps or actual breaking waves. There are plenty of paddlers whose local features swell and choosing to ride a race SUP (some of eth time) is a good choice for cross training purposes.
With prior surf knowledge punching through white water and getting to the first mark is a given, even if only for yourself or few paddle chums, is a skill worth practising. It’ll help when you revert back to your surf SUP and just make you more rounded in general.
Having dropped a flawless hammer buoy turn (refined and perfected when surfing – it’s just a bottom turn after all) it’s then a mad dash back to the beach. Your nearest rival is slightly edging until the tail of your board rises, the nose drops, your board accelerates and you intuitively step back into surf stance, powering down the face and red lining into pole position. If you didn’t have any those all-important surf skills then you’d be nothing but dust.
As we say you may not be actively SUP racing currently. And possibly not likely to in the future. But all the above are must have skills for any ocean paddle board aficionado.
Heading out for your first wave it’s a similar situation to punching through flotsam on a race SUP described above. A set swings in just as you’re in the critical spot – read impact zone (the place you don’t want to be!). With white water looking to mow you down it’s time to bury the hatchet, get low and climb on over the top, thus avoiding a smack down and retaining positional advantage.
With added stamina in the bag, from all that race/distance training you’ve been smashing, busting through the froth is made all the more easy than if you hadn’t been race training. Muscle memory kicks in, you’re feeling pumped and your whole body is poised to nab the prize: a place in the lineup waiting for some sweet bomb sets. Quickly and efficiently you stroke out back and it’s into prime time you go without breaking sweat (nearly).
These are just a couple of benefits crossing disciplines and types of SUP board will help your overall game – there are more. Whichever way you look at it all areas of stand up paddle boarding complement one another. Arguably you can split each section off and describe them as disciplines in their own right, but this would be missing the point. None of the pros focus on one specific area of SUP alone. They all cross train, utilise everything stand up can give and in turn emerge as fully rounded paddle athletes. We’re not suggesting you all become world tour competitors but there’s method in this madness and therefore a leaf out of the same book should be plucked. Your favourite type (or all) of SUP will thank you for it…