SUP Racing: Get into it this winter!

Whether its a fun race, an epic downwinder or a gruelling endurance race, there's a style of Stand Up Paddle racing for everyone. Even if you're new to the sport, Stand Up Paddling clubs all over Australia are keen to get you out on the water as part of the community, whether you're racing for fun, or for keeps!

With so many styles of stand up paddling around now, there's plenty to do when it comes to spending the weekend on the water. If you're tired of heading out on your own, or doing the same old cruise around the lineup with your mates, how about giving racing a try this winter?

Racing can be as expensive of as cheap as you like - you don't need specialised boards for a lot of clubs, with most offering an open division where you can paddle anything. Don't forget about the Naish N1SCO racing events around Australia either, they give you a board to paddle! The N1SCO tour brings along boards to enter the one design racing, making them a great place to try racing for the first time. With supplied boards, a fun and relaxed racing environment, and no gear advantages, you'll get to see how good you really are! There's more to the racing world than one design paddling however, so here's a quick rundown on the options around.

For more information on stand up paddle racing in your local area, or to connect with fellow paddlers in the SUP community, head on over to the SUP Club forums right here on

Fun, casual racing: The best kind of racing is not for sheep stations - paddling around a few bouys with your mates is a heap of fun. Any board works, from your 8 foot wave machine to a 14 foot downwinder board - as long as you can stand on it, you can race it. Longer boards work better of course, but all it takes is a pileup at a marker, and you'll have your very own Bradbury moment! Every SUP club offers casual racing, usually on weekends or after work in a 'twilight race'.

Downwinders: 20 knot days aren't just for kitesurfers! All you need is two people with two cars, and you've got yourself a downwinder! Simply meet at the downwind location, leave a car there - and bring both of you and your gear to a point of your choice UPWIND of where you started. You could get blown all the way back to your car without paddling, but that's just lazy! Put in a few strokes here and there to catch runners or little waves, and surf your way back downwind. Make sure you wear a leg rope, because your board might blow away faster than you can swim - and you'll be fine! Once you've done a few downwinders to get your sea legs, go on longer missions, with more people, in MORE wind - to make up an EPIC downwinder.

Competitive Racing: Some racing IS for sheep stations (or at least a fat wad of cash!). Competitive racing isn't for everyone. This is the land of 110% carbon and boards worth more than a small car. You don't need the latest and greatest gear though - a 12'6" board with a pointy front bit will work just fine. All you will need is guns of steel, and a competitive streak. Most racing is done around a series of bouys, which means a fast start, straight line speed and fast turns all play a crucial part in winning. Hook up with your local SUP club for regular race meetings, or travel the Australian (or world) circuit and take on the high rollers!

Endurance Racing: Reckon you could paddle over 140 kilometres in one hit? It's been done - and the record still stands to be broken! Endurance racing is normally from one point to another, and can involve anything from massive swells to 40 knots of wind. Racing over a long distance requires a different skill set to short course racing - stamina and pacing are the most critical components here - with one mistake costing valuable energy. Start training for an endurance race in flat water, by paddling back and forward (like 1km each way) for a long period of time. Don't jump straight into the heavy stuff like Hawaii's Molokai to Oahu, which involves paddling the crazy stretch between TWO ISLANDS! Once again, it all starts at your local SUP Club.

So, no matter what you're into - where you're from, or what gear you've got. You can try something new this weekend. Get in contact with your local club or shop, and start SUP racing!!

Check out the Club Talk Forums for details on your local club.