There are lots of things to think about and consider when you turn up for a race: What do I eat and when, what board is best, what paddle is best, which fin should I use. Should I warm up before the race and what should I do in my warm up. How do I stretch my sore muscles after the first day of racing?

The list goes on.  I find the best way to deal with all these things is do what you normally do!!

SO if you want to do well your “normal” routines need to be planned and practiced before you turn up on race day. Here are some to think about:


Experiment with some warmup routines that work for you over the next couple of weeks and then lock one in. I like to start out easy focusing on technique and then do some short 10 stroke sprints and then about a minute of race pace. Practicing a start is always good too.

NZ SUP Nationals Day 1 Long Distance. Photo by Georgia Schofield


Start working out the gear you are going to use now! paddles, fins, boards and clothing, hydration pack, leach and start optimising it for performance. There is no point buying a new leash that is shorter and less weight but you have never used it before and cannot get it off as you come to the finish or shortening your paddle after a season of teaching your muscles how to use your long one.

Decide on your gear now and get training with it asap.


It seems simple at first but once you get to race day all these questions pop up into your head. When do I eat?, what do I eat?, how much?, water or electrolyte? Recovery snack? When its a big race I like to have a balanced meal 3-4 hrs before (with carbs, protein and a bit of fat) which is not to processed but not to much fibre either. If its breakfast something like porridge with banana and a small plain omelette (I stay away from cows milk before a race) then maybe some dates, banana or a bar beforehand or if things get delayed.  If its lunch chicken and rice is good with not to many veges otherwise it can be a bit hard on the stomach.

Cool down + stretching

After a big effort its always helpful to give those poor muscles of yours a nice cool down. Head back out onto the water and paddle nice and easy (no sprinting) for 10mins especially if you are racing the next day.

Find some stretches that work for you on the lounge floor after paddling and make it a weekly habit.

NZ SUP Nationals Day 1 Long Distance. Photo by Georgia Schofield

Then the week leading up to the race don’t change anything!!

If you think of something note it down and try it next season or after the event. That’s how you improve and do things better next time.


Marcus Hansen

NZ SUP Champion 2017

Join Marcus on Wednesday 14 March for a SUP Race Clinic at Stillwater Boating Club.

Join NZ SUP Race Champion and NSP sponsored international racer Marcus Hansen as he explains how to improve your entire race package. Learn valuable strategies and help support Marcus raise funds for his upcoming overseas campaigns.