Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stand Up Paddle Racing: Butch's 2 Cents

I've said it before, the best part of maintaining the blog are the people who populate this little corner of the internet. There's all kinds of interesting characters in the stand up paddle world who drop by every now and then. Every so often, you'll speak out. Sometimes your comments are constructive, sometimes they're abrasive, sometimes you're in agreement with me and other times it seems like a restraining order might be a good call. 

One of the more frequent contributors is a guy named Butch. Butch sends me all kinds of stuff: photos, opinions and lots of good advice. I think Butch even sent me the never before published Gerry Lopez photos in Indo- we kept those on the hush-hush, didn't we Butch? Butch doesn't sugar coat things, he's a straight up kind of guy. If Butch thinks something is lame, he'll tell you. If you think you're bitchen, Butch will bring you back down to earth. The guy has been involved in stand up paddling and racing since this whole thing started. He's an excellent resource and a colorful character, I'm glad he's chosen to participate on the site. Yesterday, after reading my second Everyman Racer piece Butch sent me some of his own advice. He calls it his 2 cents, check it out:

Mickey Munoz on the left, Butch on the right... check the Primo Hat. He must be an Everyman Racer.
Butch's 2 Cents

I'm concur with your criteria, except # 2. I always think I might have a heart attack running up the beach. And I don't know how you can do anything but stay working as hard as you can.  

Here's how I pick the one to pass, about 4 or so miles into it, there always seems to be one or two people that are just ahead. These are guys you have been with the whole race. Don't choose the one that is 20 yards ahead, you want the ones that are a two or three boards lengths away. I always wait until the very last part of the race. Wait until you're close to the finish and then go completely nuts! Go into the perfect stroke, maybe start screaming on the pull, just go berserk.  

Here's a start tip, on the beach or a water start, line up behind the fastest guys. The ones you know are going to be in the top ten, they will always clear a path, always. You won't be able to stay with them long, but as you know- the starts are crucial and that first twenty yards means a lot. Here's what I do, I focus on the tail of the fast guy's board.  

One more thing, no Mister Nice Guy shit. They don't call it a race for nothing. If you get a chance to snake someone at a mark, you do it, you bang rails, just keep powering, get mean!  You can be all buddy-buddy at the end when your having those beers!  Unlike sail boat racing they have not come up with a bunch of rules, not yet anyway. It's pretty much a free for all out there, especially the starts and going around marks. When you round those marks, go in a little wide and then cut as close to it as you dare. You want to line up your cut so your are heading right toward the next mark.   

There's some great advice in there. My favorite? "no Mister Nice Guy shit.". And to that, I totally agree. At the Battle of the Paddle in the Open Event, if I saw a hole at a mark I just barged right in. I know I was wreaking havoc but like Butch says, "They don't call it racing for nothing". Thanks Butch! 


Cocco said...

I love Butch's advice! My favorite part is "go berserk" and "start screaming on the pull"...too funny. I definitely agree with the starting line strategy and the "get mean" approach.

John Ashley said...

Yeah Cocco! Always great to see you at those races- smiling, positive, stoked... now I'm going to have to follow you at the start so I can observe BESERK!

Sully said...

1st post I've read w/Butch. Not impressed. Given his last piece of "advice" he sounds more like a jerk w/poor sportsmanship than a straight shooter. (How's that for not sugar coated?)If you're going to be a jerk and bang rails instead of giving up the line you've been closed out of fair and square, don't cry when someone (like me) knocks you off your board. After all, there aren't "a bunch of rules" right? Just the Golden One.

Anonymous said...

My 9 year old daughter started SUP racing this summer in Newport Beach. Yesterday, she was winning her 100 yard sprint race by at least 1/2 a board length when she was hit from behind by another racer. Their paddles got tangled and my daughter fell off her board. The girl who hit her went on to win the race. It looked like a demolition derby. It seems to me that there should be some rules for this kind of thing. When I complained to the race authorities, they said it was an "accident" and that there was nothing they could do and the victory stands. I say she was robbed. The sport's not going anywhere if you can just knock your opponent off their board from behind, then win the race. It's poor sportsmanship and encourages a "win at all cost" mentality. If it were a sailboat race, she would have been disqualified. Any thoughts?