NZSUP revisits 7-times NZ Champion Annabel Anderson’s advice from 2017 on getting to the Hoe Toa start line…  

As the World No. 1 ranked woman, Annabel has a demanding International Race schedule, and it is a big effort for her to come back every year to support what happens at home and on a grass roots level.  We certainly love to see her in action, inspiring the next generation of SUP athletes.

Here’s some of Annabel’s tips to make it to making it to the start line with the butterflies under control and ready to have a great weekend of racing.

Nothing like a deadline

There’s nothing like the deadline of an event to give you some reason and focus to put some structure around your training.

Set goals ~ but don’t fixate on results.

Build goals around skills and improved fitness. These are what you can control, results are alway dependent on the actions of others so don’t fixate on the results.


Preparation is the best way to calm nerves and lessen anxiety. Nationals is no joke and it’s the pinnacle of the NZ Summer competition season. Regardless of how much time you have to prepare, what ever time you have, be consistent with it.

Embrace Summer and all it has to offer.

For me, Nationals happens at a point in the year when I do a lot of different sports and compete across codes. Making the most of the kiwi summer and doing lots of different things keeps our minds and our bodies fresh and is one of the reasons I’ll be lining up at my 7th consecutive NZ Nationals. Don’t be afraid to get out and enjoy all things NZ has to offer at this time of year. If the surf is pumping….make the most of it. The flat water will still be there when the swell has died.

Pace Yourself

If you’re making the jump from doing short distances to the long course at Nationals, anticipate how long it may take you and plan your preparation (training and race day nutrition/hydration accordingly). If you’re confused about how to prepare get some help (see below).

Get familiar with conditions

NZ is notorious for having highly changeable conditions and weather. Make sure you have the skills and are comfortable in all conditions prior to race day. If this means learning how to tackle wind, waves, currents and tides – develop the skills necessary to become confident in all conditions….preferably before race day.


Be familiar with your gear but don’t get caught up being a “magpie attracted to bright flashy new things”. Know your gear, practice with it and don’t change things at the last minute.

As long as you are comfortable and confident in your equipment, that is all that matters.

Preparation races

We are lucky to have a lot of week night races in Auckland. If you’re local, make the most of these to blow out the cobwebs, get accustomed to what happens in a race environment and test out your gear before the big day.

Bring your family, bring your cheer squad

Orewa is a great destination for a couple of days at the beach. Bring your crew, find your posse on the beach and let them marvel at the entertainment that is about to unfold – especially the surf race.

Need help?

If you feel like your surf skills need a bit of help, the open water throws you off, that you’re confused about what gear to use, what to eat, how to hydrate or how to make the most of your final few weeks of preparation before March 24-25 get in touch.  My Salty Sweaty Coaching services cover everything from skills development, training programmes, mental preparation, clinics, online training, individual stroke evaluation & prescriptions, gear recommendations/fittings that are tailored to your specific needs and more.


I look forward to seeing you all in Orewa

Annabel Anderson

World #1