Author Topic: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP  (Read 707 times)

LoudounSUP

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Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« on: July 08, 2020, 10:05:56 AM »
1.   My body is unbalanced – very one side dominate
2.   My head weighs a lot (even the slightest wobble can cause instability)
3.   10 cm longer than my standing height is my preferred paddle length
4.   I cannot paddle straight – especially on the left side (right dominate hand on T-grip)!
5.   Standing like a statue on your board creates numbness in your feet – it’s painful!
6.   Smoothness in your stroke takes thousands of kilometers of training
7.   Developing a smooth rhythm with a stroke rate higher than 40 is very difficult
8.   After pumping up your iSUP for the 5th time you’re more likely to just leave it inflated and purchase a SUP car rack (LOL)  8)

SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

TallDude

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 10:29:02 AM »
That was pretty much the same conclusions I had with my first year of SUP'n. My first board was an inflatable which I paddled for months in the harbor before venturing out into the ocean. Then I bought an Infinity touring/ tandem race 16' x 31" wide race board as my first hard board. Here's a few throwback photos.
It's not overhead to me!
8'8" L-41 ST and a whole pile of boards I don't use.

surfcowboy

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 12:40:18 PM »
All true. But know that it comes quickly. Keep at it!

PonoBill

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2020, 03:25:10 PM »
This is a good time to find someone to teach you a proper stroke. You can learn a lot from the various how-to videos but in person instruction will move you forward very quickly. Back in the early days of SUP racing I won or placed on the podium in a lot of events for the sole reason that I got Dave Kalama to teach me to paddle. Back then most people just used their natural stroke, which is always inefficient. Simply having good equipment and knowing how to paddle gave me an unfair advantage that lasted for years. Don't expect that to happen now, I use that only as an example of how valuable a good stroke and disciplined practice of a few drills can move your progression forward rapidly.

For example, a good stroke solves issues 1 through 7. Number 8 tells you that pretty soon you're going to want a higher performance hard board.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

LoudounSUP

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2020, 03:55:42 PM »
This is a good time to find someone to teach you a proper stroke. You can learn a lot from the various how-to videos but in person instruction will move you forward very quickly. Back in the early days of SUP racing I won or placed on the podium in a lot of events for the sole reason that I got Dave Kalama to teach me to paddle. Back then most people just used their natural stroke, which is always inefficient. Simply having good equipment and knowing how to paddle gave me an unfair advantage that lasted for years. Don't expect that to happen now, I use that only as an example of how valuable a good stroke and disciplined practice of a few drills can move your progression forward rapidly.

For example, a good stroke solves issues 1 through 7. Number 8 tells you that pretty soon you're going to want a higher performance hard board.

Good thoughts Bill. As you can tell from my handle, I'm in Loudoun Co. Virginia - about 30 miles outside Wash DC. Do you know of any good coaches in the area? I was thinking of joining the Washington Canoe cCub just for this reason but the fees are expensive and I live too far away to benefit from their instruction daily - it would be only on weekends.

One positive is my rowing background has helped me with the catch and release. 9 years of competitive rowing taught be the 'sound' and 'feel' of a good catch and clean release. I really could use a good stroke coach to clean up any bad habits before they become ingrained to the point that I can't unlearn them. I know from swimming that's not a place you want to be!  Footwork is another area that needs work. Soon I'll start practicing the 'buoy turn' but I need to get comfortable walking around more on my board. Honestly, I just need to fall in the water once (lol). However, my body of water is kinda gross so I'm hesitant to do any "risky moves" fearing that I'll grow a third limb.
SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

LoudounSUP

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2020, 04:01:12 PM »
That was pretty much the same conclusions I had with my first year of SUP'n. My first board was an inflatable which I paddled for months in the harbor before venturing out into the ocean. Then I bought an Infinity touring/ tandem race 16' x 31" wide race board as my first hard board. Here's a few throwback photos.

Wow Talldude - a 16x31 board...that must have been literally like paddling a barge.  8)
My board isn't too far away at 14x28. I'm curious - I'm on a iSUP which tends to plane on top of the water unlike the more canoe shaped hard boards that actually submerge a fair bit. I would think iSUPs are easier to turn but also harder to keep paddling in a straight line. Are any of my assumptions true?
SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

TallDude

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2020, 05:42:44 PM »
You're just scratching the surface and headed in the right direction. Like Bill says, find someone that's a good paddler and paddle with them.
As for inflatable vs hardboard speed, there is always going to be too much flex in an inflatable. That flex absorbs some or a lot of power your are applying to the board. Plus because all inflatables use a drop stitch fabric (which it the same thickness throughout), it drastically limits any real high performance hull designs. The hard board will have a higher performance hull shape and all the energy you put into your stroke will translate into the board moving forward faster.
As for hull shapes, displacement (canoe) hulls track better (zig zag less). Flat planing hulls don't track well. They zig zag a lot. Planing hulls are used for surfing where you want maximum turning ability. Inflatables are pretty much planing hulls. Some race/touring boards are a combination of the two. All hull designs will zig zag. Less if you really know how to paddle. An unlimited board (longer than 14' -- usually 18' range) will zig zag the least of any board because of the length. In fact they do not want to turn period. At 14' is a great length for most people. Gives you good tracking, but still somewhat maneuverable. I have lots of boards ::)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 05:52:43 PM by TallDude »
It's not overhead to me!
8'8" L-41 ST and a whole pile of boards I don't use.

Quickbeam

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2020, 06:04:48 PM »
You’re doing great. And as Pono and TallDude have suggested, a good paddling coach will help you progress that much further.

Just one other point. Don’t get too set on #3 yet. As you get more experience, and as your paddle stroke improves, your preferred paddle length will invariably change. I almost always recommend an adjustable paddle for anyone starting out as it allows you to experiment. I know it took me a long time to get my paddle length dialed in to where I consistently liked it.
Infinity Blackfish 12’ 6” x 23”
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 24”
Infinity Whiplash 12' 6" x 24 1/2"
ONE SUP Evo 12’ 6” x 26”
Bark Competitor 12’ 6” x 29”
Red Paddle Explorer (Inflatable) 13' 2" x 30
Red Paddle Race (Inflatable) 12’ 6” x 30”

LoudounSUP

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2020, 02:37:40 PM »

Just one other point. Don’t get too set on #3 yet. As you get more experience, and as your paddle stroke improves, your preferred paddle length will invariably change. I almost always recommend an adjustable paddle for anyone starting out as it allows you to experiment. I know it took me a long time to get my paddle length dialed in to where I consistently liked it.

Thanks Quickbeam and Talldude! And Quickbeam - so true about paddle length - today I shorten it 2 inches to relieve some shoulder pain into a headwind. Still dialing in my perfect length.
SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

PonoBill

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2020, 10:59:46 PM »
Catch, with a SUP or canoe paddle is very different from rowing. What catch really means in canoe/sup paddling is that there is no air on the paddle face when you start to pull it. Without air, the water has no easy place to go. It has to flow around the entire blade and displace water on the other side--which takes a lot of force to make it move. Any air pocket, especially on the back of the blade, lets the water flow across the face quickly. Worse yet, an air pocket creates a low-pressure area when you pull, which can draw more air down from the surface.

So most of the good paddle technique is about inserting the blade into the water in a way that traps minimal air, and then pressing it down as you pull to ensure the blade is fully submerged is engaging the water at an optimal angle to apply the greatest force. You'll know you have a good SUP catch when the paddle you like the best suddenly is too big.

That's going to take about a year if you work hard on it, and will never happen if you don't.
Foote 10'4X34", SIC 17.5 V1 hollow and an EPS one in Hood River. Foote 9'0" x 31", L41 8'8", 18' Speedboard, etc. etc.

LoudounSUP

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Re: Eight Lessons Learned During My First Month of SUP
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2020, 04:40:57 PM »
You'll know you have a good SUP catch when the paddle you like the best suddenly is too big.

That's going to take about a year if you work hard on it, and will never happen if you don't.

Because with a good catch you'll have the max amount of water resistance on the blade (i.e., making the 'load' feel heavier)? 
SUP in Nordic Virginia
2019 SIC RS Air Glide 14x28

 


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