Racing Tips & Tricks

After a successful seasons NISCO racing last year, Naish team rider Bryce Dyer shares his thoughts and what he has learnt about racing iSUPs and racing in general. With his science background it’s no surprise that Bryce still has his science cap on when racing! Well worth a read if you’re new to the racing scene or thinking about giving Naish NISCO racing a go this year…

Naish N1SCO racing Photo : Mark Ellis
Naish N1SCO racing Photo : Mark Ellis
  • Don’t leave yourself too far down a draft train in a N1SCO race when it nears its conclusion. It’s easier to overtake one board on a big push later on than to try and get past two. And (unlike cycling or motorsport) you’ll get no extra hydrodynamic draft by being further down the line. Due to their board design, Naish One’s require huge surges in power to get past another board and even if you do, the pass is often slow. I crunched a few numbers earlier this year that showed it could take 30-40 seconds to make a definitive pass at typical N1SCO race speeds…. and that’s a fair amount of time. Move yourself up well in advance.
  • The best drafting distance between two boards varies based on both board’s designs, the leading paddler’s technique and the average speed you’re both doing. However, if you can get close (and I mean 3-4 inches on a N1SCO at most), you’ll find these boards have a tendency to produce some degree of suction and a draft which will pull you along thereby reducing your energy expenditure dramatically behind the leading board. Fall back even as little as a metre and you’re pretty much getting no draft at all. It’s worth practising this in training with your friends.
  • Positioning is everything. It doesn’t make sense to cook your proverbial goose in the first 5 minutes of a race that is going to be an hour long. However, miss the packs and you’re going to have to do it all on your own and then be worse off anyway. A balanced and calculated approach is best. However, even if you feel you’re not a fast paddler, getting a good position early on can really boost the outcome of your race for nothing more than putting yourself in the right place at the right time. The N1SCO boards are inflatable and can handle a bit of bumping together so don’t be shy!
  • Think about your paddle. If you’re still using a heavy or cheap paddle, consider upgrading or trying something new. A heavy paddle takes more energy to move it, more to slow it down and ultimately wastes calories in your fuel tank that ultimately you’re going to need.
  • The strongest paddler doesn’t always win. If you’re the weaker paddler, it may well pay to gamble or bluff on tactics as the race wears on so don’t consign yourself to just following.
  • Know the course. Don’t assume that the fastest paddlers know where they are going. If I’d paid more attention at the Cardiff race briefing last year (and less on what I was going to order at the Chinese restaurant on the way home), I could have made a huge gain over the field rather than just the gain of kung po chicken!
  • Enjoy your racing. Whether you finished at the front or at the end, it’s equally hard for everyone so spend time swapping war stories. You’ll learn loads.

“Bloody good fun between a load of very competitive people who ended up becoming friends on and off the water. I do think the class is underestimated. It’s a very different animal to conventional hard board racing – N1SCO racing is tighter and far more tactical.” – Bryce Dyer