Three Weeks Away from Paddle Racing Season
The Carolina Cup, what many on the East Coast and in professional racing circles consider as the start of the new racing season, is less than a month away.
That means veterans as well as first-timers alike are starting to put the finishing touches on their pre-season training. It’s a time of confidence, or lack thereof, anticipation, uncertainty, giddiness, speculation and possibly abject fear.
Race with Aloha
So, recognizing that there are likely to be lot of first-timers at this year’s race – first timers to the sport of SUP or OC racing, first timers to the event itself, and first-timers doing the six-mile Money Island course as well as the Graveyard Course – here are some tips for everyone to keep in mind. And these tips are applicable to any race, not just the Carolina Cup.
- Races are fun. Sure, some folks might race to compete, or for the best or better time. But bottom line, getting out there on the water and challenging ourselves, and supporting each other is supposed to be fun. Smile a lot, laugh a lot and enjoy each other’s company.
- Remember we are all connected by water. We are Ohana or family because of this. And our sport is unique because of it.
- Be supportive. If you’ve finished your race, hang out at the finish line and shag boards, cheer on your fellow racers and hand out high fives. You never know, cheering on that last racer might be the one thing that makes their race experience.
- If some one tells you that they are nervous or scared, be positive and encouraging. Maybe pass on your favorite race tip. Mine comes from Mark Colino who did that very thing before my first race: Every fifth paddle stroke, smile.” See, I have never forgotten that. It makes a difference.
- If someone needs help during the race, stop and render assistance. That actually is a general race rule. If someone looks like they need help, ask. If its clear they need help, then give it.
- Abide by the race rules. If drafting out of class is not allowed, then don’t draft out of class, etc.
- If you have a question about the race course, just ask. It’s okay. You’ll find most folks are more than happy to help.
- If you can, a take a clinic. You will not regret the opportunity to learn from some of the best in our sport. No matter how long you’ve been paddling, you can always improve.
- Paddle with Aloha. In other words, be nice. We can still be focused and competitive and kind at the same time. Again, that’s what our community is known for.
2018 is going to be a great year for paddling, no matter what you race, if you even race at all or where you paddle. Let’s enjoy our time together and have the most fun possible! Remember, the best paddler out there is the one having the most fun!