In this series Peter Kosinski, Starboard Team Rider, talks you through what it takes to be a top SUP racer! Buoy turns, sprinting techniques, paddle grips, training ideas & racing tactics… Peter will explain them all and show you himself how they’re done. So whether you’re a first time racer or already a die hard racer, Peter’s tips will definitely help you to be fast and get to the front of that racing pack! (But sorry he can’t always guarantee you a first over the line!)
“When SUPboarder asked me to create a number of feature articles all about the essential skills for SUP racing I had to step back a bit and look at how I race and how others race. Every single SUP racer has a slightly different technique when it comes to everything from sprinting to buoy turns. However the common denominator is getting around the course as fast as possible!” – Peter Kosinski.
It’s now the third week of my racing tips so lets take it up a gear and look at sprinting. If you’ve ever been in or watched a SUP race you’ll no doubt have seen it happen. It is your first SUP race and you’re at the start line. The gun goes off and the competitive guys are gone, leaving behind a mess and you stumbling to just stay on your board!
There are two main techniques to this fast pace stroke – the ‘choke down stroke’ and widening your grip. But the common thread is getting your lower hand closer to the water.
Personally I prefer the choke down stroke as you can choke at different lengths depending on how much work you have to do. It is like changing gears on you bike but you move your grip up and down the shaft of the paddle. If you look at this picture above, my lower hand is less then a foot from the water.
So how do you do it? The choke down stroke is very simple but needs a lot of practice. Hold the shaft below the handle and off set your stance slightly. Take your strokes quick and snappy, and don’t worry about reach. Your aim is to get your blade in and out of the water as fast as possible.
Widening your grip is often unnoticed by the average paddler but if you look at Kai Lenny or Danny Ching it is obvious to see. It has the same dynamics as your standard stroke, with an early catch but concentrate on where the blade exits the water. It needs to be out a lot earlier than normal. This is for a quick recovery.
- Place the paddle between your index finger and middle finger
- Off set your stance
- Pump the board through your feet to get it on the plane
So, all that’s left to do now is grab your board and give some sprinting a go!