Which race distance for first race?

2 weeks 5 days ago #35927 by ADL2020
Hello!
I'm a beginner surfskiier (Carbonology Cruze) who is training for my first race that is taking place 3/8.  I'm not sure which distance to enter...the 5k or 10k.  Any advice from more experienced paddlers?
Thank you! 

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2 weeks 4 days ago #35928 by robin.mousley
The important thing is to do something you're going to enjoy.

If you've been doing 10km paddles, then, sure, go for it.  But if conditions are rough or it's longer than you're used to or there's anything that's likely to get you out of your comfort zone, do the short race. 

Whether you do the short or long race, there will be people slower than you and faster than you and you'll most likely end up racing against the guy who's next to you at the time.

For many of my first races, the challenge was just completing the race - and it felt great.

Have fun!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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2 weeks 4 days ago #35929 by MCImes
Ditto to rob. If you aren't used to 10k paddles, a 10k race probably won't be enjoyable and the short course would be a good starting point.

If you are used to paddling close to 10k, personally I like like that length a lot. Its a common distance that comes out to about an hour of paddling. After that point, very little changes in the finishing order, and around 17k I curse the remaining distance. 

So it depends on your typical training.  Choose the course closest to your typical distance and decide how you feel from there. 

Either way, have a good time!

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 weeks 4 days ago - 2 weeks 4 days ago #35931 by waverider
10kms is a good distance when starting as it gives you chance to settle into a rhythm and yet not reaching that point where it becomes mentally exhausting, which screws with your stability. Skis are not like sea kayaks were you can just grind along even when exhausted with a sloppy style. Once your are mentally done your technique goes and its like you hit a wall and you just want to be out of there and just staying upright is causing you stress this makes you hate it.

Of course you need to be used to that sort of distance.

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2 weeks 4 days ago #35934 by mrcharly
Go for the one you will enjoy.

You haven't said what training you have been doing.
It isn't necessary to plod over the race distance to be able to race the distance.
A common beginner training mistake is something like this; "I'm going to race over 20km, therefore I need to do lots of 20km paddles to build up my stamina at that distance."

No. That will build up your ability to plod along over 20km. Then you'll get in a race, set off at race pace and blow up.

You need to do no more than one long paddle a week. The rest of the time should be mixed-speed work, preferably some sort of interval program. You only get faster by going faster. 

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2 weeks 4 days ago #35937 by ADL2020
Hi Rob,
I think that I would enjoy the 10k distance better.  I feel like the 5k would almost be a flat out sprint and having a slower boat I don't know how well that would go over!

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2 weeks 4 days ago #35938 by ADL2020
Hello,
Currently I am trying to get out on the water 4x a week (yay for living in FL!) and do interval training 3x per week and 1 long distance paddle!

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35943 by ADL2020
Good morning,
I am currently doing 1 distance paddle per week and then the rest of the time interval training!

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35944 by ADL2020
Good morning!
Do you have any advice for how to pace a 10K race?  When I ran a half marathon I started out a conservative pace and then pushed it in the second half.  Is that the way it goes with ski racing?

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35945 by mrcharly
[disclaimer] I haven't done any ski racing.

Kayak racing starts with a flat out sprint for at least 100m, then settles down slightly until the packs develop. Wash hanging makes a huge difference to energy consumption, so people hammer it hard to get on a leading group. 

Races tend to be won and lost at the slow points; turning round buoys, portage points. That's where people get dropped from groups (or manage to jump to a faster group).

Finishes are a sprint, often with speed building up over the final 2km, with the last 500m absolutely flat out. 

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35946 by mcnye1
So are you doing the Sebastian Race?  Where in Florida do you live?  As a newbie, I would recommend that you join the Florida Competition Paddlers Assoc.  We are a non-profit (USCA affiliate) whose goal is to promote canoe and kayak racing in the state of Florida.  We host about 15 FREE recreational races across the state each year.  This is a great way for a new racer to start because we are very friendly and have many very fast paddlers who are always there to help.  Last Saturday, we had 49 boats racing on the Weeki Wachee.  On Feb 15 we have a race at Crisp Park in St Pete, Mar 14 is the Hillsborough River in Tampa and Mar 28 on the Orange River in Ft Myers.  You don't actually have to join the group to participate in our races, but the $10 annual membership give you our newsletter and info on all of the races.  The best way to get plugged in is to join the FCPA FaceBook Group.  If you are not a FB guy, let me know and we can connect via email.

The Sebastian Race should be fun.  It is run by one of our members who is a Think Dealer.  I hope to do that race if I am not working.

As for pacing yourself, I'd recommend getting a heart rate monitor and training with it regularly.  You will soon figure out how hard you can go depending upon the race length. 

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35947 by ADL2020
@mrcharly, 
Thank you...your info about pacing was super helpful!!!  What you said makes a lot of sense.  

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35948 by ADL2020
@mycnye1,
I live in Clearwater/Dunedin area!  Yes, I saw the FCPA and having actually gotten some really great advice from them on FB.  I was looking at the Crisp Park race since it's so close but since it's supposed to be more of a technical course I would rather it not be my first race.  Are you talking about JC and the Sebastian Race?  I was  thinking about doing that as my first race, but I'm pretty sure I won't be in "race shape" by then...

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2 weeks 3 days ago - 2 weeks 3 days ago #35950 by MCImes
In terms of pacing, I am a big fan of sprint off the line as long as you reasonably can without gassing out. As charly says, packs form quickly and wake riding saves significant energy. If you can attach yourself to the back of the leading or middle pack, their wake will pull you along faster than you would otherwise go, so anytime you see a wake to ride, do everything you can to get on it, then relax and spend as little energy as possible to stay on it. 

In general, I rarely see people make up much distance at the end of the race. Yes, if you're neck and neck with someone the final sprint will matter, but if you're talking about 100 yards or more, its amazingly difficult to close even a small gap late in a race. 

For that reason, I prefer to expend more energy up front to get on a fast pack, then ride their wake as long as possible. By the time you get to the 2nd or 3rd mile of a flat water race, the finishing order is almost determined.

If there are more significant waves or wind, then it is possible to change order more often and later in a race depending on how well you can read, catch, and link sets of waves. In that case, I still start with a good sprint, but back off more quickly and wait for the waves to tell me when to apply the gas. 

Edit - and dont worry about being in 'race shape' if you're not trying to win gold. just challenging yourself and racing is fun. As long as you think you can finish, I'd just go for it. If you've never raced "you dont know what you dont know", and will learn a lot in the first couple races that will inform you future training and goals. I'd say just do it. The paddling community is generally very happy to help and encourage new paddlers. 

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35951 by ADL2020
@mclmes, 2nd or 3rd mile?!  Dang, definitely very different than from running race!!!
Your info is extremely helpful; thank you for all the detail!  It's great to know all of this.

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35952 by robin.mousley
Couldn't help chuckling when I read MCImes and mrcharly's replies.

Dead right on the initial sprint and then look for a boat wash on flat races!  It's the same the world over.

Riding wash works going upwind too, even in quite rough conditions.  It's going downwind where the race opens up and if you have the correct technique, you'll drop those who haven't.

We have a fabulous local race series in summer here in Cape Town in Fish Hoek.  We often have a SE wind blowing and the race is a 5-lap round the cans course.  What makes it huge fun is that you have a short cross-wind leg, an upwind leg in partial shelter along the shore out on the edge of the bay, and then a longer downwind leg - and it's there that fun is... 

Crosswind and upwind, it's all about finding a wash and hanging in grimly.  You want to be on the inside at the buoys so that you can turn sharper than the guy next to you.  On the downwind leg, it's all about getting onto a run as soon as possible after you turn and then milking the waves, ideally creating sequences where you accelerate down a run, turn and pop over the shoulder of the wave and turn back down the next one, and on and on...  Total exhilaration. 

And then at the leeward buoy, again, you want to be on the inside, but you need to look back and make sure you're not going to turn in front of someone screaming down a run - because he'll only be in semi-control and if he screws it up he'll T-bone you and damage your boat.  On big days you just want to be sure that a big wave isn't about to break behind you - the bouy is set just behind backline and the occasional wave will break there and if you screw up, you'll be carried in to shore, with or without your ski! 

Awesome stuff!

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35953 by MCImes
Ya, based on what charly said, it sounds like a lot of the Florida races are on your beautiful clear rivers. In flat water like this, in my opinion, its always better to start fast and finish slow vs start slow and finish fast.

Unlike running your 'overtake speed differential' is tenths of a MPH, not multiple MPH as may be possible in a late running race sprint. Lets look at a 100 yard gap at 0.2 mph. My dirty math says about 205 seconds. So assuming you can put in a late race interval, you'll have to be near 100% effort for ~3.5 minutes to make up 100 yards assuming a .2mph speed differential. And if the leader looks back and sees you're making ground on them, they'll put in an interval, so now your overtake speed may be 0 or .1mph. Half of racing is strategy, sneaking up on people at the right moment, and managing energy output (knowing when to go and when to relax)

Rob has great advice too. If you do a race on tampa bay or the gulf, his downwind/crosswind/upwind strategy is good advice. 

Some will frown on wash riding, but they have no right to complain. As long as you're not hitting other boats, all is fair in love, war, and boat racing. Get on the fastest pack you can as early as you can and stick there as long as you can and you'll do well.  

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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2 weeks 3 days ago #35954 by mcnye1

ADL2020 wrote: @mycnye1,
I live in Clearwater/Dunedin area!  Yes, I saw the FCPA and having actually gotten some really great advice from them on FB.  I was looking at the Crisp Park race since it's so close but since it's supposed to be more of a technical course I would rather it not be my first race.  Are you talking about JC and the Sebastian Race?  I was  thinking about doing that as my first race, but I'm pretty sure I won't be in "race shape" by then...


The Crisp Park is not at all technical.  It is mostly protected so the only real concerns are avoiding the shallows and turning into the correct canals.  Unless you are first, you can pretty much follow those ahead of you.  JC's Sebastion Race may be more challenging with winds out of the N or S.  I did the race in Melbourne several weeks ago and we had S winds gusting to 30.  In those conditions, the shallow Indian River develops steep 3' white caps.

I agree with MCImes statement about not waiting to be in race shape.  Just get out there and start racing!

Hope to see you at Crisp Park.   

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2 weeks 2 days ago #35957 by ADL2020
Robin,
Thank you for the info!  Just curious...surfskiing is a lot more popular in South Africa than the US, correct?  

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2 weeks 2 days ago #35958 by ADL2020
MClmes, thanks for doing that math....so different than running.  Like you said, it's sounding like strategy is a big part of racing!  I guess that's something I will start to feel comfortable with as I start racing.  
I like the strategy of initially getting with the fastest pack that I can.  I don't know how long I'd be able to hang with them, but it's something to aim for!

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