Hands up who wants to be a faster and stronger stand up paddler?
Stupid question, right? But while the answer is obvious, how many of us actually focus on our SUP training? The training we need in order to become better paddlers and competitors. So many of us spend so much time pursuing this sport we love, yet so many of us train with blinkers on.
But while desire to improve is one thing, knowing how to do it is another. Some of us have the luxury of training in world class groups every morning, however the majority of paddlers around the world simply don’t come from a SUP mecca that’s full of elite talent.
If that’s you, and if you want to step your paddling up a notch but aren’t sure where to begin, Chase Kosterlitz and the SUP Athletes Association have just released an ebook titled “SUP Training The Smart Way – The Ultimate Guide To Stand Up Paddle Training And Racing”. And it’s pretty impressive.
Though the word eBook doesn’t really do this thing justice. Yes, you can download it and be learning within the next five minutes, but it’s a lot “heavier” than an ebook. This thing is more of a SUP training manual.
We’ve been fortunate to have a handful of great resources released in the past, along with many dedicated coaches around the world that you could learn from in person, however this is one of the best guides I’ve come seen.
Chase himself needs no introduction. The big guy has been racing for six years now, and in that time he’s competed alongside and learned from the best. That racing career has featured some big results at major international events, including a perennial podium spot at the massive Carolina Cup (don’t let me down next weekend buddy…).
Meanwhile, and perhaps even more importantly, Chase’s learning includes hundreds of focused training sessions and many hours spent with the sharpest coaches and teachers in the sport. One of those is Quickblade Paddles founder, chief Mad Scientist and stroke technique pioneer Jimmy Terrell, from whom Chase has clearly learned a lot. The BIC team rider additionally credits the ageless Olympian Larry Cain and Rob Plankenhorn.
The book even has a two-page reference list showing all the various research that went into this guide – Chase clearly put in the hours on this thing.
Add that up, then throw in Chase’s very academic approach to paddling – this guy studies, analyses and tests everything he does – and you’ve got a pretty mean combo. All of which equates to a lot of knowledge about how to be a better (and faster) stand up paddler.
The very first thing you’ll notice about SUP Training The Smart Way is that it’s long. Very, very long. If you were hoping for a five minute silver bullet, don’t bother downloading this ebook. This stand up paddle training guide is so big it’s almost of biblical proportions – the tome weighs in at 250 pages.
The opening sections look at basic technique, which is more for the beginners but could be a nice refresher for those of us who think we totally know what we’re doing. The section on “Training Smart” is something most of us ignore (to our own detriment), however it’s the special “Training Plan” feature that’s probably the most valuable part of the whole manual.
Ask any serious coach and they’ll tell you a structured training program is key for race preparation, whether you’re a weekend warrior or an international star. Chase breaks down the why/what/how and when in very simple steps. There’s a day-by-day, week-by-week, four month training program for beginner/intermediate paddlers that want to seriously attack a 3-6 mile race in the near future. You could start implementing this tomorrow.
The following chapter takes it up a notch, with a detailed analysis of how to create your own detailed, periodised training plan. Though the part I enjoyed most was the section on “Race Strategy” – an extremely under rated area of paddling, and one where you can easily gain the most advantage in the shortest amount of time.
I could go on but I don’t wanna give away too much – check out the sales pitch for yourself and see what you think. As the name suggests, the focus of this guide is on training not necessarily harder, but smarter.
SUP Training The Smart Way isn’t perfect. Some sections run a little long and there are a few points that get repeated more than they need to, though some beginner paddlers may actually appreciate that. But overall it’s very solid, plus the production of the ebook itself is very slick, which makes it easy to read and navigate through the various sections.
The target for this ebook is clearly the beginner to intermediate paddlers – the weekend warriors that take their paddling seriously even if they aren’t anywhere near the level of the Kais, Connors (and Chases) of the world. You’re not going to magically win your next race after reading this SUP race training guide, but I’m pretty certain you’ll come away as a faster, stronger and smarter paddler.
To me it’s a no brainer. How much do we spend on our boards? $2k? $3k? Another $400 or $500 for a nice, lightweight paddle? Drop a few thousand on accessories, race entries, and traveling?
Many paddlers spend upwards of $10k a year to compete in this sport. But how much do we spend on the most important part of all: Our training?
Good equipment is great, but good training is critical.
SUP Training The Smart Way costs quite a bit less than $10,000 but will probably do more for your paddling than buying that shiny new board (the one that’s only half an inch narrower and half a pound lighter).
And if you make it through all 250 pages without learning any new gems that’ll improve your time on the water, I’m sure Chase will gladly refund your money (and probably ask you for some advice).
Check out the official site and find out how to grab a copy of SUP Training The Smart Way for yourself. If you’re super serious, there’s an upsell for advanced material and even one-on-one technique analysis sessions with Chase himself.
Full disclosure: Chase gave me a free copy of his training manual to review, however I would’ve purchased the ebook anyway. I’m about to start training for the epic five day, 200+ kilometre “SUP 11 City Tour” in September, and I’m gonnna need all the help I can get…