It’s a new year and time to focus on SUP basics and there is no better place to start… than Starts. That is exactly what JP Australia Ambassador and team rider, Packet Casey focused on for the first 954 SUP class of 2018.
Having a strong start and smoothly transitioning from 0 to full throttle can be a challenge with water starts, but avoiding the chaos of white wash at the start can really get you in a good mindset for the rest of your race.
Here are 5 tips to get off the mark fast from Packet…
1. Position yourself for success
Many times less experienced paddlers will line up in the back trying to stay out of the way. It can be scary to position yourself in the front, but getting aggressive will pay off after few successful clean water starts are under your belt.
2. Start off with shorter strokes to build momentum
Trying to muscle through a long stroke from a full stop is a huge waste of energy and can make you prone to shoulder injuries. Start with shorter strokes that builds your momentum and gradually lengthen out to your full stroke as you get up to speed
3. Bury the Blade
Make sure you utilize the entire surface area of your paddle by burying the entire blade in the water before taking the stroke. Many times during the mayhem of a start, paddlers don’t focus on this technique.
4. Try a staggered stance
A staggered stance on your strong side helps you to use the power of your core and legs (not just pulling through your shoulders) to get out front and find clean water. If you do get caught in the whitewash with a staggered start be prepared to even out your stance for stability.
5. Practice, Practice Practice
Like mastering any skill-set in sports, practice and repetition is the key to mastering it. Building muscle memory is the main factor in making it happen when the nerves kick in at the start of a race. Additionally, having someone video your start, is key to seeing the difference from what you think your stroke looks like to what you are actually doing.
There is a lot going on at the start of a race and the confidence of feeling like you know how to stay focused and have a solid start is the key factor to a successful race.
For more detailed techniques, classes and instruction, contact Packet Casey @ Packet31@gmail.com