SUP race boards – from a bit-of-fun, too seriously competitive
Racing is perhaps the fastest growing sector of our favourite paddle sport and we have race paddleboards for sale & hire to suit everyone from the absolute beginner (who’s in it for the social & fitness aspects) to the seriously competitive (who wants the best possible race board for their budget).
The latest race boards borrow design features from high-speed sailboats, including displacement hulls and carbon fibre construction. For our money, though, all you need is a long board with a pointy bit out front; a reasonable dose of competitive spirit, and you’ll have an epic time SUP racing anywhere.
SUP clubs around Australia offer casual racing either on weekends or in twilight race meets where you battle it out around a series of buoys. Every day, however, there’s thousands of SUP riders having heaps of fun because someone said “race you to the point and back”! Any board, from your 8-foot wave machine to a 14-foot downwinder board works for racing. As long as you can stand on it, you can race it!
Take two people, two cars, two SUP boards, add a decent blast of wind and you have yourself some epic downwinder action on the way. Leave one car at the downwind location, head to a point upwind and let mother nature (and your paddling skills) help you surf your merry way back. Wear a leg rope (in case of spills – the board might blow away faster than you can swim!) and take precautions like wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) if you think you might enter offshore/exposed waters.
Once you’ve done a few downwinders to get your sea legs, go on longer missions, add more people, go in stronger winds and really prove you’re a downwind wizard.
We have specialist race boards for sale that are longer and narrower to increase glide. There are two SUP racing categories – 12 foot 6 inches and under for sprint races, and 14 foot for long distance. Whatever type your board is, however, if it meets the length criteria you can go for it. All you need is guns of steel, a competitive streak and the ability to put on the speed in straight lines and manage fast turns around a buoy. Hook up with your local SUP club for regular race meetings, or aim high: travel the Australian (or world) circuit and take on the high rollers! (You’ll see some crazy gear.) (And rock hard abs.)
Reckon you could paddle over 140 kilometres in one hit? It’s been done – and the record still stands to be broken! Endurance racing requires a different skill set to short course racing – stamina and pacing are critical – with one mistake costing valuable time and energy. Racing from one long distance point to another can involve anything from massive swells to 40 knots of wind. We recommend you start training for endurance racing in flat water, doing something like a 1km course for increasing periods of time.
It’s probably unwise to jump straight into the heavy stuff like Hawaii’s Molakai to Oahu, the Carolina Cup in America, or Western Australia’s King Of The Cut downwind race or The Doctor from Rottnest Island to Sorrento. But hey, if you do, we’ll be your number one cheer squad!
Hire and Demos
As well as race SUP for sale, we have lots of boards you can try before you buy. Take out a demo board, give it a good work out and get a feel for your needs and requirements. Back at SUP Gear Australia, we’ll use your own experiences to help make the best decision on your perfect board and gear.