With each Friday that passes, we have another reason to celebrate. Not just because it’s the weekend — though summer weekends are a pretty prime time for paddling — but because the 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life are another week closer! The hype keeps growing and the entries continue to pour in as paddlers from around the globe anticipate the biggest race in SUP. And as the race gets closer, there is even more preparation to to be done. In that vein, we thought we’d share five mistakes to avoid at #PPG2018 to make sure your experience goes as smoothly as possible.

Not Training Enough

Alright, this is obvious. But hey, in 2018, our lives are busier than ever and finding time to squeeze in those necessary paddle sessions can be tough to do. Whatever reasons you might have, they won’t matter once the buzzer goes off.You want to feel your best come race day and putting in the work is the only way to get there. Besides, training for PPG doesn’t mean spending hours in a stinky gym with bodybuilders; it just involves breathing in the fresh ocean breeze and trying to keep up with a different type of training partners — dolphins! Doesn’t sound so bad after all now does it?

All bets are off once the race starts, be prepared! Photo: JP Van Swae

Burn Out on the Start

For the new racers out there — and those that tend to get a little excited — this should not be overlooked. A race cannot be won in the first few minutes, but it most certainly can be lost. While it’s likely that your nerves will be high in the moments leading up to the race, it’s critical to keep your composure and race plan in tact once the flag drops. While getting a good start is important to not get bogged down behind slower paddlers, you also don’t want to burn out by maxing your heart rate out in the first few minutes. While this is a given in the distance race, even the technical race takes endurance and you don’t want to be completely spent before you even reach halfway. It’s a long weekend after all.

Only Race at #PPG2018

This is a two-part pitfall. While #PPG2018 might be the finale of the race year, there are countless other fantastic races on the calendar between now and then. And you know what makes you a better racer? Racing. So put a few local races on your calendar leading up to PPG to get comfortable with your starts, your tempo and your nutrition.

Having a little race experience will calm your nerves in this huge pack. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez

And two: If you are a racer, we know your main purpose at #PPG2018 will be to race. However, there’s a lot more to this event than the action on the water. The 2018 Pacific Paddle Games presented by Salt Life is a complete watersports festival with plenty of action happening on the beach. In addition to trying out the newest boards at our Demo Zone or getting some training tips at our Fitness Zone, #PPG2018 also includes delicious food offerings, a beer garden with live music, local vendors and even a few surprises (more announcements on that to come).

Ignore Nutrition and Hydration

Think a bowl of Captain Crunch before your race is all the nutrition you need? Think again. To perform at your peak, providing your body with the fuel it needs to succeed is essential.

Stay hydrated on race day. Photo: Lorenzo Menendez

Make sure you have a light but nutritious breakfast — fruit, granola and/or yogurt are always good choices — and be sure to start hydrating earlier in the day before your race. Once race day comes, you’re not off the hook. Having a solid nutrition plan (and knowing how your body will react to said plan) is key to avoiding cramps, dehydration and bonking. Be comfortable using both your hydration pack and energy supplements during a trial run, prior to the race. #PPG2018 is no place to start experimenting with your diet.

Showing Up Late

You know the feeling of racing to airport, constantly check your watch in the TSA line and then sprinting to your gate hoping to catch your plane before it departs? You probably do and know that it’s very stressful. Though at least in that scenario, all you have to do is plop down in your seat and enjoy the ride.

You don’t want to get here late. Photo: JP Van Swae

Now imagine racing down to Doheny State Beach to find parking, trying to hurry through your registration and then fumbling down to the start line just as Race Director Anthony Vela blows the horn. Not only will this leave you flustered, but you will be completely unprepared to compete and your performance will suffer.  And after spending months of training for this very race, showing up with minutes to spare can negate all that hard work.

See you in October!

Sign up for #PPG2018 now!

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