SUP

Featured, Outdoors — June 26, 2014 at 6:22 am by

 

by SUP Bart

Hello all you stand up paddlers.  It has been a long while since I have written about my SUP experiences.  It’s good to be back.

I was able to do some paddling over the winter and spring months and I scored a few days of good waves in Ocean City, but then the deep freeze set in. 

Maybe it was time to go a little south for a race. I traveled to Wrightsville Beach, N.C. in January for the Cold Stroke Classic with my fellow SUP Annapolis race crew.  The weather conditions were not favorable for a paddle board race on the Friday before with gusty winds and choppy seas, so me and the other guys decided to do the 3 mile course.

The 3 mile course consisted of a short downwind leg, continued around an island for the longer upwind portion, and finished with a ¾ mile paddle thru gusty 20 mph winds and side chop.  Our entire SUP Annapolis group did very well, especially for a race in the dead of winter in which most of us were lucky to get a Saturday training paddle in.  Yes, we try to paddle all winter long wearing the proper gear.  (Hyperthermia is no joke!!!!  I had a bit of it start to set in during one paddle in December while it was snowing.  The proper wetsuit booties are a must.)  Sup Neil took 1st and I squeezed out a 2nd place finish.  The rougher conditions definitely aided in my placement as I seem to paddle better in bad conditions.  Jeff Cook, Larry Lubers, and Wyatt Everhart were very close behind.  Ron Gossard (Ocean City) took 2nd place in the Elite 6 mile course, finishing in front of Starboard’s Dan Gavere.  Basil “Chip” Tydings finished in a well paddled 6th place in the Elite Course.  I give all the elite racers much credit for completing that course, as it was an extremely windy, cold, and choppy grind of a paddle. After the race, Wyatt and I did score some knee to waist high clean waves before the awards ceremony.  It was a fun day of racing and paddle surfing.

 

Wrightsville Beach is a very welcoming surf town and probably the SUP capital of the East Coast.  It hosts the Carolina Cup Race each year, which attracts hundreds of racers and fans, including many of the top pros.  The Carolina Cup also puts on clinics for paddlers of all skill levels. It’s hosted by world famous athletes, including reigning 2014 Carolina Cup Champ, Danny Ching, Dave Kalama, and others.  I have not had the luxury to attend the event but it is on next year’s to do list.  My friend, Jeff Cook, traveled there this year with his family and had a great experience.  His children both participated in the events and did very well.  Even if SUP racing is not your thing, you should visit Wrightsville Beach.  It is a beautiful place for a vacation with pristine beaches and a welcoming local community.

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When this year’s race season started to approach and with my impending 40th birthday in May, I decided to get more serious with my race training and concentrated on cross training to help me become a more efficient paddler.  I also did this to get into a better condition overall physically and mentally.  Feeling good about me and training for SUP has an amazing effect on how I deal with life’s day-to-day problems.  I cannot say how glad I am that I found Stand Up Paddling.  It can truly be a life changer if you want it to be.

 I also studied Larry Cain’s You Tube videos and practice his paddling techniques (as well as I can.)  If you are a novice paddler or even a more advanced one, proper technique is very important.  Take the time to watch his videos on YouTube and practice his drills.  They will help!  Paddling with proper technique will give you the max physical workout and you can cover more distance while you paddle.  Keep in mind, Larry Cain is a professional athlete and has been paddling different types of water craft for many years.  Take away what works for you from his videos and go have fun.  After all, that is why we do this.

I will continue to write about my SUP experiences and anything SUP related.  Check out MARYLANDSUP.COM.  It is a new website dedicated to stand up paddling in Maryland.  Founded by Ben Butterwei, his goal is to connect paddlers in Maryland, update paddlers on upcoming races, report on anything SUP related, and spread the SUP stoke!  The website has a general forum where anyone can sign up and start a conversation, or get involved in someone else’s.  MDSUP also puts up pictures sent in by local Maryland paddlers.  It is a great tool for the Maryland stand up paddler.

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