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Sunshine State Paddler Hopes to Set New 24-hour Record

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Next month, Robert Norman, a personal trainer from Inverness, Florida plans to set a new SUP World Record.

on making into the Guinness Book of World Records.  He’s hoping to break the current standard for “longest distance travelled in 24 hours on flatwater”  –  99.8 miles – by paddling 120 miles.

 On his GoFundMe page, he says the reason for the attempt is mostly personal.

” I want to push myself to my absolute physical and mental limit to set a new standard.. and I hope it will inspire someone to pursue breaking the record in the future.”

We wanted to know more. So we shot Robert some questions and he was gracious enough to oblige.

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What made you want to attempt this record?

I’ve always been fascinated with world records, the idea of doing something no one else can is very alluring. I heard about the record when I first started paddling. This was when the men’s record was around 90 miles, and when I did the math… it was a pace I couldn’t even do for an hour at the time!

I acquired a Starboard Sprint Unlimited, which is a 17’6×23 pintail rocket, and ever since then the idea of attempting the record and claiming it became more of a realistic thought. This board is made to maximize glide, and it really would be a shame NOT to use it for this type of event.

So having the desire to pursue this goal and having the perfect equipment is really the motivator for me.

How long have you been paddling? Do you paddle other craft besides SUP?

I picked up my first paddle in July 2014 renting with my coworkers, bought my first board in late August, and raced it in November of the same year. 

I had no prior paddling experience or water experience prior to that… if you asked me what SUP was in June 2014 I would have been clueless. I’m still in many ways brand new to SUP compared to most competitors.

I recently just picked up prone paddling and love it. I plan on doing at least one race on it in Florida 2017. If you want a cross training exercise for SUP, prone paddling might just be the most humbling choice in my opinion!

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Tell us about your training for this attempt?  What has your regimen been like?

I started training the second I picked up a paddle for the first time and didn’t even realize it. It’s taken years of build up in technique and strength to get to this point as a foundation to use. I’ve had my eyes set on this since around September 2016 and started training for it October 2016. 

Mixing in long low intensity paddles (4, 6, 9, 12 hours) has been the only real change. Most of my workouts are lower in work volume and higher in intensity in contrast.

What has been the hardest part preparing for this?

Physically I believe I can accomplish my goal and set the new highest standard, and I’ve believed I’ve had it in me for awhile now. 

Mentally this challenge is what is the most difficult. There are probably 100 paddlers that are stronger, faster, more technical athletes that can do this better than I can. But making the mental decision and commitment to it is something very few even find interest in. Just wrapping your mind around a scheduled 9 hour long paddle at a certain pace is very difficult. Then 12…16…20 and so on.

The easiest?

I think the easiest part has been finding support for the event. Especially through my sponsor shop CGT Kayaks in Bonita Springs FL.  I’ve had numerous people step up to offer help and volunteer for support at the event. I am putting everything in their hands for the technical side of things while I get to just paddle!

Has anything surprised you as you prepare?

The mind is very powerful. It’s very interesting having a certain hour hit you incredibly hard and you struggle so hard to maintain pace… then the next few hours after things are better. Part of that is hydration and nutrition, but the other part is the suggestion from your mind to your body that it wants to stop. Once you clear those mental hurdles it’s smooth sailing for awhile.

Besides a world record, what do you expect to take away from this whole experience?

Not very much honestly. It’s something I get to fold up neatly and carry around in my backpocket for the rest of my life. An accomplishment to be proud of and understanding my own absolute limits.

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When you are not trying to set a world record paddling, what other paddle activities, events, races do you do?

I try my best to be at every race in Florida. As a personal trainer I pretty much live in the gym and schedule my free time on the water, so I have the oppurtunity to train for SUP much more than most people. I attribute my paddle performance entirely to the amount of time I have available for it.

When you are not paddling, what do you do?

I think about paddling. Seriously as of lately I eat paddle work paddle sleep paddle. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

After this, what’s next?

Try to take the experience of this event and equate it to better race performance in 2017. 

Last year during the winter season I participated in 500 miles in 100 days which helped tremendously in my transition from short course to elite distance racing so why not go for the 120 miles in 1 day challenge and see where I end up!?

If anyone wants to help volunteer or be a witness at the event it is at Nathan Benderson Park Feb 10th-Feb 11th they can contact me at [email protected] or through Facebook as Robert Norman. You can also donate to the event to help cover park fees, and any additional funds will be put into an account for St Jude Children’s Hospital! http://www.gofundme.com/guiness-world-record-24hr-paddle

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Lisa
Lisa is managing editor of PaddleMonster.com and is an avid paddler of all the things - including sup, SurfSki, outrigger canoe and prone, though she especially enjoys paddle surfing and downwinding. She is a former journalist with more than 30 years experience in print and broadcast journalism and in government communications. She is a six-time Chattajack finisher, racing both sup and OC2. When not paddling, she is an outdoor instructor.

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