Q&A With Robert Norman: New 24 Hour SUP World Record Holder

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New SUP World Record Set

New SUP World Record Set

This past weekend, Florida resident Robert Norman went after the world record for most miles paddled in a 24 hour period on a SUP on flatwater and he crushed it. He needed to beat the current record of  99.8 miles, which he did by about 12 miles – 111.8 miles in 24 hours!

Here’s what he had to say to the Distressed Mullet afterward:

New SUP World Record Set

Describe for us the highlights of your record paddle!

The true highlights go towards my support team. Many members made some big sacrifices to be there that many wouldn’t have. I am forever grateful to them for their efforts. Everything was in their hands to keep me functioning and maintain the calculations for Guinness verification. My success is based entirely on their success. 

What surprised you most about the entire experience?

Nothing really jumped out and surprised me, I was very prepared going into the event. I underestimated the night paddle for sure though. Not that it was hard to focus or stay awake, but maintaining my base speed was shear agony and it eventually forced me to slow down. We had a windy start for 5-6 hours and I think being tired from that and the lack of sunlight had a play.

New SUP World Record Set

You said on Facebook that you feel like you fell short of your goal – why? 

We had calculated somewhere closer to 40 (118  miles) laps being well within reason. Ended up at 38 (112ish miles.) The first 12 hours I was on pace and the final 12 I fell behind. I attribute it to the night paddle killing my pace, one hiccup of hitting an object in the water that forced me into an emergency stop (my only stop during the event) and a partial personal failure with my calorie intake source. We finished with 14 minutes to spare and wanted to finish on exact laps. Laps being right under three miles long meant they were taking 36ish minutes to complete. With those few logistics not being a factor, we could have easily fit two more laps or at least one more. For those reasons I fell short, personally.

What did you learn about yourself in this whole process?

Being prepared pays dividends. Despite having the lackluster sections, my overall game plan was able to carry me past the goal distance. I was joking with my girlfriend on the way back, I’m the same dude I was Thursday as I will be Monday when I go to work!

Would you do it again? 

I want someone to scoff at this record and break it. I would respond accordingly and take the knowledge and information from this attempt, reassess the game plan, train harder, and leave no doubt on the next record. But, until then, nothing is planned. I’m still new in the paddle world, so even in six months I will be stronger than I am now to push further… I may come back to the record to beat my own distance no one accepts my challenge, who knows what the future holds.

New SUP World Record Set

What would you change if you could do it over or for the next time? Training wise, nutrition, gear, etc.

My equipment was perfect, the ultimate flatwater production board in the Starboard Sprint unlimited, the best long distance paddle in the QB 76 Trifecta, and the most efficient unlimited race fin with Larry Allison’s Lunar keel fin. If I do it again it will be with all that gear. 

I felt like my training paid off, I underestimated the night, but physically I overcame it. If I had failed when it got tough it would have been an error in my training. Only difference is next time I’d go further faster. 

Carbo-loading was perfect, I love Delgrosso pasta sauce and their meatballs. It had me starting on the right foot.

Nutrition would have to change. I hated my cliff bars after hour 12 and they were my primary food source. Definitely would vary my calorie intake to make it easier to eat when I really need it.

Anything you’d care to add?

I picked this date as a random available day two months in advance. The winds were fairly stiff during the daytime, but the nighttime had clear skies, a full moon, an eclipse, and a comet. It was like the universe was pulling for me to succeed. Almost an ideal venue at Nathan Benderson Park… I don’t think I could have picked a cooler night paddle to stay out from sundown to sun up.

I also want to thank the SUP community for everything. All of the outward support was critical in my success. I’m glad to be part of this and look forward to continuing moving forward in the sport. 

New SUP World Record Set

Congrats Robert!!

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