At Vermont Ski and Sport we specialize in beginner racing for stand up paddle board enthusiasts. Entering your first race will be exciting, stressful, and loads of fun all at the same time! SUP racing is a great way to improve your SUP technique and fitness level all while traveling to the coolest paddling locations. You will meet a wonderful group of people at the races who in reality become one big happy family.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but will give you a look into the basic necessities for your first SUP race.
1. Get your self a good displacement hull stand up paddle board that tracks, glides, and responds well.
2. A lightweight, carbon fiber stand up paddle board paddle is fundamentally key for performance and maintaining shoulder health. Having the proper blade size and length according to your weight, height, and athletic style will make all the difference.
3. Make sure you have a SUP board leash, PFD, and a hydration pack. We recommend fanny pack style, waist worn personal flotation devices. They are unobtrusive and comfortable to wear.
4. Fitness parameters should include strength, mobility, and flexibility. At Vermont Ski and Sport, we like to achieve these with kettle bells, body weight, and movement exercises paired with yoga.
5. Get a technique lesson or clinic right away. The sooner you understand the proper stroke mechanics the more efficient and faster you will be. We offer private lessons at your location or ours.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice. Often. And make sure you are having fun while doing it. Try training with friends, it’s a great way to improve and measure your performance. If you’re not able to train with others, I highly recommend a Speed Coach GPS 2 with heart rate monitor. It’s like having your own private coach and the numbers don’t lie!
7. Train in all types of conditions. I will always remember the advice I got from BOGA Team Racer Jeramie Vein last year. He told me to train in the most challenging conditions I could safely manage. Wind, rain, wave, chop, etc. will all help you to become more comfortable in uncomfortable conditions.
8. Understand the stroke mechanics by their individual parts called the Reach, the Catch, the Power Phase, and the Release. Being able to visualize and practice these on a land simulator is great help. In our private training programs for individuals we utilize slow motion video analysis, which is by far one of the best teaching tools around.
These are the 8 initial tips that will help you get ready for your entrance into the world of stand up paddle board racing. For more information and for help getting started racing, call (802)258-0282 or email us.
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All photos courtesy of Red Paddle Co. and Riviera Paddlesurf