SUP Sprint Starts - SUP Racing Technique - Goosehill SUP

Table of contents

1.SUP Sprint Technique
2.Race Paddle Stroke Technique
3.Step Back Turn
4.Main Factors In Stand Up Paddle Board Racing

If you are interested in taking part in a SUP race, note that it requires more skills than just paddling on a calm lake. For starters, in order to gain advantage in the game, you need to know how to start the game and not be left behind in the beginning.

The technique you need is called SUP sprint starts. It’s an important SUP racing technique that could give you a huge advantage if you learn it and use it well in the game because having a good start is half way winning the race. If you can be first off the line, you will have the good flat water out in front of you and gain more confidence right in the beginning of the game.

SUP Racing Technique

SUP Sprint Technique

  • To increase your sprint speed, stagger your stance so that your back foot is positioned further back on the side you are paddling on. This will allow you to twist all your weight into each stroke.
  • As you paddle, you can lift your heal of the back foot to reach further forwards to generate extra power from the stroke.

Race Paddle Stroke Technique

(1)The race stroke requires you to really engage your core muscles and use your weight to maximize the power applied in every stroke.

(2)To maximize the glide and speed, stand in the center of the board with a parallel stance to keep the board evenly trimmed.

(3)Extend the grip with the lower arm and insert the blade as far forwards as possible to increase the leverage and power of each stroke.

(4)Continue using the top arm to drive the blade deep in the water, keeping the paddle as straight and vertical as possible to track in a straight line.

As you pull the paddle towards you, twist your hips to engage your core to help generate extra power. Apply your weight downwards by bending forwards with each stroke, focusing on pulling yourself past the paddle.

SUP Racing Technique

Step Back Turn

  • Step your leash foot back and move to the back of the board to lift the nose out of the water to initiate the turn. Place your back foot sideways so that you can push your heel into the board to help aid the turn and keep your front foot facing forwards to remain stable. The further back you step back, the faster the turn.
  • Place your paddle as wide as possible on each stroke. Keep your paddle close to the water to use as a tool to increase stability as it can be used as a brace.
  • As you step forwards, bring the back foot forward again so that both feet are facing forwards. As you build in confidence you can cross-step back into a parallel stance to increase the speed of the transition.

Main Factors In Stand Up Paddle Board Racing 

In a racing game, the pace is an important factor that can affect the result greatly and if you are able to have a good start, you’ve at the same time set the control of the pace. If you are left behind and want to catch up with the leading group, you’ll have to paddle really hard.

So having a good start will save you a lot of energy on the race. So if you want to have a good start in a SUP race, be sure to check out our tips on the racing techniques in the content below.

First, when you are getting ready on the start line, make sure that you are not over it or behind it. There are a lot of factors that can affect your performance on the water when paddle boarding and you need to take them all into consideration like the tide, flow or wind if the game is held on a windy day.

Because of these factors, you might not be able to keep your board still on the water while waiting in line, so you might need to paddle for a bit to make small adjustments to keep you in the right position on the line.

After the game starts, take the first few strokes on your preferred side because you can take a few extra strokes on that side and it will help in building up your sprint speed.

Usually you will hit your flat-out speed within two to three strokes but it’s not necessarily a good thing when you are in a SUP race because instead of building tempo up, you will just have turbulent water and inefficient release of the blade. And that’s not a good and efficient way to propel your board forward. So don’t rush into getting your sprint speed.

Once you reach your full sprint speed, the right thing to do is maintain it for about 100 to 200 meters. This might sound easy to you but in fact, it’s much harder to do than you think.

SUP Racing Technique

In the first few hundred meters, you should try to get into a train which will allow you to benefit from the draft of other people. Trying your best in the beginning and getting a good start will make things easier for you because it’s never easy to chase other paddlers down in the rest of the game.

Now let’s talk about paddling flat-out. It means the fastest reps you can achieve with the right paddling technique. Ideally, paddling technique you use should help you gain fast speed right in the beginning of the game.

Shorter strokes are what you need. You should enter the water early and exit early. It’s completely different than cruising on calm waters. The goal you should be aiming for is the paddle reps or cadence to be around 80 to 100 per minute. When trying to maintain your speed and cadence, you can try dropping your hand off the grip.

This way you can get the paddle out of the water quicker without it catching, thus making your strokes shorter which translates to faster reps and more effective paddling over a shorter distance. But this paddling technique has some side effects that can’t be ignored.

Here’s something you should know about this technique before actually applying it in your game. Be more cautious when you are planning on using it for prolonged periods because it could put more pressure on your lower back and cause lasting damage. Always pay attention to your posture when you are paddling.

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