At the time of typing this, I’m currently into my third year of Standup Paddleboarding, and my third year of racing, which is not very coincidental given that my first SUP outing was a race down Lake Bala in North Wales!
So, I’ve done a few races, usually on my Naish Air One Design board, or N1SCO as they’re called.
When you see SUP racing, it’s usually exactly how you imagine it would look like – lots of speed, skill and fitness. And to be fair, there is an element of that. There are some exceptionally skilled and fit competitors who turn up and race.
With the N1SCO races, everyone is on the same board, so it’s very much up to the paddler as to how well they do rather than if they have the latest 21″ wide piece of carbon fibre trickery. To make onto the podium is mainly down to how well you paddle, and sometimes a bit of luck!
And here’s a little secret…
I don’t actually enjoy racing that much!
It involves travelling for hours.
There’s training to be done beforehand to try and beat your last race position.
There’s the pre-race anxiety.
And it’s really really hard work!
So, why do it?
Well, that’s a question I’ve often wondered, and I saw some photos posted today that reminded me why I do it.
A few weeks back, we were down in Chichester Harbour for the N1SCO Championships. This sees around 100 N1SCO paddlers descend upon the sleepy town of Emsworth for Technical, Distance and Sprint racing. This year I was privileged to be one of the N1SCO angels, and given a orange race bib. The idea is to be visible to anyone who might need a bit of advice about what happens at the races if they haven’t been to one before.
So, we’d finished the Technical Race earlier in the day and had just finished distance race. There’s a drone taking photos, as well as several rescue boats with photographers onboard. With most of the N1SCO events, there’s a fantastic atmosphere, with the front runners going out along the course to encourage the slower competitors, and some general messing around going on.
And this set of photos surfaced today (photo credit to Supjunkie)
And thinking back to other races and events…
And this is the common theme to my racing career – whilst the racing is hard, the entire event is an absolute blast!
The majority of the SUP community is ace and very supportive, but there is a special something with the N1SCO fleet!
Roll on the next race 😀
Photos are shamelessly stolen from Facebook.
Credit to SUPJunkie, GBSUP, Hydrophilous (me!), Casper Steinfath, and N1SCO UK.