Author Topic: Itís that time of year - 2018 Race Board Gossip ?  (Read 4159 times)

Area 10

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Re: Itís that time of year - 2018 Race Board Gossip ?
« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2018, 02:07:06 AM »
Yeah, I handled one of Mo Freitasís paddles and it was too short for me - and he is a bit taller than me.

You only need to try paddling on your knees to see the advantage of being closer to the water. From a performance point of view, standing up to paddle is really stupid. Only an idiot would do it from the perspective of traveling efficiency and speed, which is why the canoeists look down on us.

So it is inevitable that as SUP progresses now, the elites will develop some very strange-looking techniques that allow you to get closer and closer to the sitting or keeling position, and use ever shorter paddles. Itís going to end up looking as ridiculous as competitive walking does (to most peopleís eyes), and as impossible to do as Olympic canoe, where unless you have started before your teens you are pretty much never going to be able to do it.

But this was predicted by Jim Terrell years ago and weíve been over it a million times.

Itís interesting however that itís still the ocean athletes who are still dominating SUP racing - even in flat water. One of the predictions from years ago has not yet come true - which was that soon the top SUP racers would all come from an inland (flat) water background (the Gorge doesnít really count!), like younger versions of Larry Cain. But that hasnít happened yet. Maybe the skills learnt in choppy waters translate better to flat water than vice-versa. Or maybe itís that pure flat water is boring compared to the ocean: itís hard to motivate yourself for a 5-hour training paddle in the same old bit of flat water, but the same bit of ocean changes from day to day so gives greater variety of activity.

The other thing is that these ocean athletes do not have the same kind of obsessive commitment to things like diet and training regimen that youíll get in eg. rowing and other inland flat water paddle sports. Itís a culture thing: the ocean athletes will often spend 8-9 hours a day on the water so just bolt down whatever food is to hand and then get out there again because they are enjoying it so much. Whereas competitive rowers are all about ergo machines, weighing scales, strict training regimens and optimising every mouthful they eat. Itís a very different mentality. I thought that by now the ďtraining robotsĒ (as ukgm referred to himself) would have taken over. But it is nowhere close to happening yet. It is interesting to speculate why. Maybe itís all about marketing: ocean athletes in bikinis surfing raceboards on pristine island waves somewhere hot is an easier and more profitable marketing tool than some sweaty training robot in a drysuit on a muddy river in the rainy, dreary UK midlands, or in the arse end of Germany somewhere miles from the sea :) So the ocean brands still dominate the market at the top end, and the athletes who practice a panoply of their sports, like Kai, get all the money to travel to races etc.

Maybe it will be this that will also slow the development of the stranger-looking future techniques, where SUPers will crouch like they are laying eggs and use 2ft long paddles, using a stroke that would put 99% of the population in traction. That stroke is not going to look too good on Instagram next to a pic of Kai on a 100ft wave. Maybe the marketing BS is actually going to slow the progression of SUP into a weird pastime for a few training obsessive who have no shame.


ukgm

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Re: Itís that time of year - 2018 Race Board Gossip ?
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2018, 04:42:39 AM »
1) Yeah, I handled one of Mo Freitasís paddles and it was too short for me - and he is a bit taller than me.

2) You only need to try paddling on your knees to see the advantage of being closer to the water.

3) ....where unless you have started before your teens you are pretty much never going to be able to do it.

4) ..like younger versions of Larry Cain. But that hasnít happened yet.  itís hard to motivate yourself for a 5-hour training paddle in the same old bit of flat water, but the same bit of ocean changes from day to day so gives greater variety of activity. The other thing is that these ocean athletes do not have the same kind of obsessive commitment to things like diet and training regimen that youíll get in eg. rowing and other inland flat water paddle sports. Competitive rowers are all about ergo machines, weighing scales, strict training regimens and optimising every mouthful they eat. Itís a very different mentality. I thought that by now the ďtraining robotsĒ (as ukgm referred to himself) would have taken over.


1) I actually experimented with this back in the spring but I found it hard to compensate my technique for the loss of reach. It also sent me to the chiropractors....

2) ..... plus lower probable aerodynamic drag and a fractional increase in stability. It makes a lot of sense but I suspect this will widen the gap between recreational paddlers, elites and guys like me caught between the two.

3) This really came home to roost for me this year. When you see 16yr olds like Starboard UK's Ben Pye doing a downwind race on a 21.5 Starboard Sprint, well, I realised that it was time to diversify my athletic stock as I knew upskilling was eventually coming but I'm not hanging around in SUP much longer to try and contend with it.

4) I think the ICF worlds might start to create its own group of athletes or some canoeing crossover. However, at this moment in time my feelings are that the sport has no incentive for good athletes to come across from other disciplines as there is no Olympics, no decent prizemoney, no governance and that the training tools that create such people (such as power meters) are not in place yet. It will remain a lifestyle sport in the manner you described.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 04:54:54 AM by ukgm »

robon

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Re: Itís that time of year - 2018 Race Board Gossip ?
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2018, 11:12:45 PM »
Quote
Itís interesting however that itís still the ocean athletes who are still dominating SUP racing - even in flat water. One of the predictions from years ago has not yet come true - which was that soon the top SUP racers would all come from an inland (flat) water background (the Gorge doesnít really count!), like younger versions of Larry Cain. But that hasnít happened yet. Maybe the skills learnt in choppy waters translate better to flat water than vice-versa. Or maybe itís that pure flat water is boring compared to the ocean: itís hard to motivate yourself for a 5-hour training paddle in the same old bit of flat water, but the same bit of ocean changes from day to day so gives greater variety of activity.
Quote

I have to give a shout out to Lina Augaitis who came from Ottawa Canada (inland) and became the fastest female flat water SUP paddler in the world, and she was also winning rough ocean races against the very best before taking time out to start a family.

I think there are many reasons for inland paddlers not having success large scale and you mentioned one being water culture with oceans, which is huge. I liken it to hockey in Canada as around 50% of all players in the professional NHL league are Canadian, and it has much to do with hockey culture and development beginning at a very young age. Many people here begin skating and playing hockey before they are 5 years old, and it's very similar to ocean athletes in primarily warmer climates learning board sports at very young ages and sticking with it. Even starting at older ages, the amount of water time would aid greatly in becoming proficient.

As it gets colder and winter sets in, participation in outdoor paddling falls off dramatically in northern climates (major in Canada), even in areas where the water doesn't freeze. Training alternatives help, but it takes absolute commitment, travelling and financial backing to take it to the next level, which is very rare here. Another probable reason is population close to ocean environments. More people generally live closer to the coasts, and fewer people generally live far inland, and throw in the ocean culture with a higher level of participation with SUP, beginning with other board sports typically starting at a younger age, and the probability for success would seemingly be much higher. I know of exactly one paddler in the entire region where I live who enters races somewhat consistently and he is pushing 40, and we are surrounded by water. The other people around here who enter races go into the touring or recreational classes, and the closer you get to the coast, the bigger the cities and there are far more racers. The United States Dwarfs Canada exponentially for racer participation.

As far as paddling conditions out here go? I think you need to come take a look for yourself ;) The Great Lakes are inland seas with conditions that can have epic storms and produce very large swells. The conditions where I live are highly variable and a zoner mentioned in another thread the value of having a rough water board for paddling on Mountain Lakes, as his conditions change so quickly. Same deal where I live. It can go from glass to thigh high+  in a matter of minutes, and consistent wind can produce good sized swell. It gets sloppy with cliff backwash in many areas, some areas on the lakes have current, and each lake seems to have it's own attitude and characteristics that present different challenges. So, while the lakes out here may not have the true ocean ferocity found in some areas around the world, elite paddlers can be, and are challenged in the conditions that get whipped up here.  There is also a wide, deep river right beside me that always offers variable conditions and is never truly flat in multiple areas, with boils, whirlpools, eddy's and wave trains that can be run on composite boards without risking damage. I've seen some very experienced paddlers from the coast go swimming during a race that used to be run down the Columbia here. Fun times for sure.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 11:27:08 PM by robon »