Eat – drink – stretch – PADDLE!

Over the past few months, athletes around the world have slowly garnered their speed and force back into active training mode. With the hints of a few local and international events promising to soon be up and running, it has spurred on the competitive urge to action.

In light of this we asked some of our SUP and prone athletes as well as their trainers about what was helpful in the fields of nutrition, hydration and stretching. These are key disciplines for all – not just the elite squads and athletes who live out their days on the water in lives we all dream of!

If the average paddler or prone boarder took just a few moments each day to work on these key areas, it would create some very satisfying results in the months to come, and we would realise that we are all made of the same stuff – it’s just the discipline that sets some apart…

So lets look at how we can get ourselves into top gear through nutrition, hydration and stretching.

Q: Is it worth following a particular nutritional plan when paddling or training for an event, and how does this help your body? 

A: Yes, but don’t make a radical switch just before a main event, rather work in any changes in diet with enough time for your body to adjust to them and see if they will actually work for you.

A bit of sage wisdom from the professionals:

Consistency is key – know what works for you – preferably under the guidance of a trained nutritionist – and stick to the program during competition and main training sessions.

Replenish and refuel your body to help it recover after a race or training session. This will help maintain a good balance of nutrients in your system and prevent early burnout.

Eat to compete – different foods give different results:

What are you looking for to improve your game – more energy, fat burning capacity, or a complete change in eating habits? Spend some time reading up about different foods and nutrients and you will certainly gain the benefits.

– It is wise to remember that what works for one person, might not have the same impact on you as metabolism, body shape and activity levels vary from person to person.

– Know YOUR body’s needs and keep it well nourished to enable it to hit those goals!

Q: Which supplements do you use or highly recommend that help with your paddling in a highly notable way? 

A: Pre- and post-event fuelling are two key factors. Giving your body the right amount of energy reserves before a race, and helping it to replenish afterwards can dramatically assist in proper storage and retrieval of fuel by your body, helping it to recover well and fast!

Collagen powder and magnesium are huge helps in muscle recovery and are staple items in many sports kits.

One need not depend only on supplements when fat-boosters like avocados, dried wors and sardines can be a supremely effective energy source, along with bananas. Snacking during the day can help your body store up reserves for a much-needed racing or training boost.

Q: How often do you hydrate during a regular day, as compared to during high-intensity training? Do you use any particular energy drinks or just water? 

A: Water – always the essential ingredient in our life! One to two litres of water per day should be the general standard.

The main idea is to increase your intake as you increase your training. Hydrate up to 50% of your intake before a race, 30% during and 20% after – if doing long races. For shorter distances, hydrate before and after.

When looking at electrolyte-based or similar drinks, don’t just go for the “well-known” brands who have superpower marketing teams at their disposal. Once again – find out what your body needs – and look for  something that is effective for you – not just a “nice flavour” or a sugar-loaded option.

Q: What type of stretches do you think are the most important for a paddler to use to warm up with before hitting the water? 

A: It is important to recognise the differences between dynamic and static stretching.

Active or dynamic stretches are great to use before a paddle. They involve controlled movements focused on warming up the body and getting it ready for its particular activity. eg. lunges, squats, a light jog. etc.

Static stretches are relaxing post-paddle options and cool down the muscles in a fixed position by stretching them out while staying still.

Never underestimate the power of a quick stretch mid-paddle to help release some tension. Rolling and running are also often great relaxers of overworked muscles.

Q: Do you do any paddling-specific training or stretching? If so, is there a routine or website you can recommend?

A:  Strength and conditioning is so critical in every sport. Power endurance gives you the edge when you need to perform well without exhausting yourself. Be wary of following exercises that are tailored for other sports – rather look at those following the same discipline as you.

We are so privileged today to have access to an endless variety of online resources, but that in itself can be intimidating to a beginner in any sport. The key is to keep educating yourself and asking those in the activity you pursue for some guidance. Learn about static or dynamic stretching for pre- and post-training and focus on the muscles you use in paddling eg. core, legs, arms.

Key idea: choose your training based on what your body needs for paddling, but do use some cross-training for variety too.

Freedom Race is a Go!

Freedom Day dawned beautifully, with the threat of bad weather quickly dissipating. The news from the organisers was exactly what the Paddling Doctor would have ordered:

Good morning!! Rain has come and gone. Wind has died. No sign of fog. Race is a go.”

The excellent organisational skills and teamwork of the race coordinators ensured that Covid protocols were kept, and the paddlers set off in groups from 8am for the long course around the island, followed by rowers, single, double and triple surfskis at half-hour intervals. The short and medium course paddlers were the last group to set off into the grey seas as the swell started to make itself known.

Here is the lowdown from some of the participants – it’s an interesting mix of experiences and consequences of good and bad decisions, with a little help from friends thrown in along the way! 

Evette Terblanche, 15km course - Choose your board wisely!

It was one of the most challenging paddles ever! On a good day the strip between Granger Bay and Clifton 4th can be like a mirror. And that was the prediction. When we turned the corner at Granger Bay, we could see it was not to be. The swell was huge and bouncing off the rocks. I made a huge mistake and paddled on a flat-water board 23” wide. Needless to say, my balancing skills were tested to the max. and I was swimming at times –  especially turning the buoy at Clifton. We had a little headwind there that worked in my favour, but the turn meant the bounce was now on my weaker side. At least the water temperature was pleasant! My first race as a Diva !!! Can’t wait for the next one. Hopefully Neptune will deliver something special again. And into the ocean I shall go again, train harder and be more observant of conditions. Special thanks to race organisers who ran a tight ship under these strange Covid conditions.

Picture below: Evette Terblance and Elmari Renecle, both 15km SUP participants. 

Sinda Takathani, 15km course - The gift of an entry from an injured athlete to a recovering one.

Oh my gosh! The race was intense with the side swell bouncing when we were approaching Clifton beach. Worst thing was that I had a flat-water board but the race was more like a downwind.  I had a wonderful time and I’m glad I did the race after recovering from an accident where I was hit by 2 cars.

Thanks to Gary Van Rooyen and Evette Terblanche for encouraging me to do the Freedom Paddle – I’m grateful for that. Special Thanks to Steve Tripney for the entry – I could have not done the paddle if he had not given me his son’s entry. 

I finished 2nd in the men’s category, coming in after Gary And Tarryn. Yeah!

Picture below: Sinda Takathani, with his finisher’s medal after completing the 15km SUP course.

William Mapham, 15km course - The blessings of the safety crew.

It was an incredible experience, my first event like this, the organisation was pretty cool. I was really impressed by the adherence to the Covid Criteria – really well done! ….
The event itself was exhausting, but it was very satisfying to do it. I trained quite hard for it and STILL fell in a lot! I think a lot of the other guys are super-experienced compared to me, but I still had a good time and really appreciated the safety crew.
When I was battling to get out of Clifton on my feet, they came and showed me I should rather go wider and further out as it would be more stable there, which was exactly what happened, so the way back was much more pleasant thanks to them. I did not catch their names but thanks a lot to them!

Picture below: William Mapham, 15km SUP course participant. 


Jadon Wessels, 27km course on prone - The stoke is beyond epic!

The Freedom Paddle is not only the longest, but also the most gruelling race in Africa, and this year was the most epic one we’ve had so far – with epic people and memories made that will never be lost!
Not only were we met with epic conditions, but we entered 3 times as many prone paddlers than we had in the past!  This meant that it wasn’t only a bucket list event, but it was also an awesome opportunity to show the spectators of the ocean-sports world that prone is here and it is growing. We’re here to show people why we love prone and the ocean, and there’s no better way to do that than just pushing regardlessly through the pain as we love our sport.

Picture below: The winning 27km prone paddlers, from left Jonny Lucas, Levi Mayes, Jadon Wessels. 


Levi Mayes, 27km course on prone - First full Freedom Paddle at 15 years of age!

Hi Supsa community, I am the youngest person to have done this race on a prone board. I enjoyed seeing the amazing wildlife like dolphins, seals, jellyfish and also being able to see the shipwrecks and beautiful coastline along the back of Robben Island. It was so awesome to be able to paddle in such a great community with all the other people who paddled on prones – it was so nice to have them there and such amazing camaraderie. I am super-stoked to be a part of this iconic race in commemoration of Freedom day which is such a big part of South African History. It was a hard, long paddle with big ocean swells, which is what I enjoy, and I am definitely going to be doing it next year. Cheers!

Picture below: Levi Mayes, 27km prone paddler. 


Photos credits all to Prescient Freedom Paddle – from their Facebook page, and paddlers’ own images.

ICF and Starboard release safety guidelines

Read this article on the ICF WEBSITE:

The International Canoe Federation has underlined its commitment to safety on the water by teaming up with leading global paddleboard manufacturer Starboard to develop guidelines for stand up paddlers.

The ICF safety guidelines will be included in all beginner board Starboard packaging, and will emphasise the importance of knowing your limitations and being familiar with your surroundings when you take to the water.

“We are absolutely thrilled that stand up paddling continues to grow around the world, and the role we have played to help that growth,” ICF SUP coordinator Hoichan Kwon said.

“We also take very seriously our role in spreading the message on safety. SUP looks so inviting, many are tempted to just jump on a board and head out onto the water. And while accidents are rare, its important people prepare properly.

“Our SUP partner, Starboard, shares our position on this important role. As one of the world’s leading manufacturers and sellers of stand up paddle boards, what better way to get the message out to first time paddlers to be safe?”

The guidelines will also include valuable instructions on how to get started as a paddleboarder.

Additionally, the Starboard Generation boards will be available at heavily discounted prices for all clubs associated with NF’s.

Starboard Generation board has been designed to be used for surfing, racing and touring. It is easy to ride, even for those with no experience, and will help paddlers safely develop their skills.

The board comes in either carbon tech or lite tech, and in two sizes – 12’6 x 28 or 14 x 28.

Please email for more details.

The 2021 ICF stand up paddling world championships will be held in Balatonfured, Hungary, from September 10-12.

COVID-19: Beaches are open again

Tuesday February 2nd, 2021
Surfing South Africa President welcomes the opening of beaches
Surfing South Africa President, Johnny Bakker has welcomed the announcement by President Ramaphosa that all beaches in South Africa are open once again.
“On behalf of Surfing South Africa and all recreational, social and competitive surfers and surfriders we are happy to be able to enter the ocean again and surf” said Bakker. South Africa’s surfriding fraternity also includes surf shops, surf schools, surf coaches, all of which have been hard hit by the month long beach closures.
Not only has Olympic qualifier Bianca Buitendag been unable to prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics but  professional and competitive surfers from all parts of South Africa have been unable to train for an extended period.
In addition, over 20,000 recreational and social surfriders have also been prevented from exercising in the ocean.
The lifting of the beach ban is effective immediately and in order for the beaches to remain open, all surfriders are reminded to adhere to Covid -19 protocols which include mask wearing prior to surfing and upon returning after a surf, adhering to social distancing and to not gather in groups at beaches and surf venues. All surfriders and beach users are requested to adhere to these basic protocols at all times.
Issued by
Surfing South Africa

SUPs and Prones at the Freedom Paddle 2020

Words by Kit Beaton

The iconic Robben Island 28 km paddle took place on 24 October 2020.  The race organisers, Robin Tindall and Richard Kohler, welcomed Prone and Stand-Up Paddle into the longest official Prone and SUP race in Africa.  Fog caused a delay to the race start but as the morning creeped by, the paddlers could set off at midday into a glassy but mildly skuffy ocean with 8 ft swells.

The approach to the island at 8 km was rewarding with a beautiful spill off of swells wrapping the paddlers all the way around the island anti-clockwise. Jonny Lucas on Prone, Tom King and Cameron Tripney on Stand-Up Paddles led the pack into 8 ft Madibas.  Ethan Buncombe, showing huge strength, followed consistently with Ernest van de Riet proving his strength in consistency. At the 17 km mark, gutsy Cameron joined the support boat due to sea sickness. Tom and Jonny took the race home with Jonny getting the upper hand on Prone in very difficult side-on conditions.  Jonny finished in 3 hours and 47 minutes and Tom finished in sub 4 hours to make him the first ever Stand-Up Paddle to complete a Prescient Freedom Paddle.  Ethan stayed strong and confident dodging ships and clocking 30 km at 4 hours and 10 minuntes. Ernest was a testament to grit and is the second Stand-Up Paddle to complete a Freedom Paddle in 5 hours.  Craig Girdelston assessed the conditions and within the first 3 km he joined his support boat.   Alongside Steve Tripney, Craig boat assistance was deeply appreciated.

We look forward to a long lasting relationship with this iconic race. The next Freedom Paddle will take place on the 27th of April 2021 and apparently some paddlers are already training.

Stand Up and Paddleboard at the St Francis Bay, SA S1 Surfski Championship and SA Canoe Marathon Championship 2020

Yes you heard it! Stand Up and Paddleboards were included in this year’s SA S1 Surfski Championship and SA Canoe Marathon Championship in St Francis Bay. 

 The weekend started with an ocean race on the Saturday. Kit Beaton, Jadon Wessels and Paige Horn were our three proners who took on the grueling 14 km ocean race that greeted the paddlers with great southerly winds. Chiara Vorster (Junior girl) proved her incredible determination and great training as the only Stand Up Paddle that took on this ocean race. We are incredibly proud of you, Chiara. See the results, below: 

SUP Women 

  • Chiara Vorster – 2:07:49 

Prone Men

  •  Jadon Wessels – 1:51:01
  • Kit Beaton – 1:51:08 

Prone Women 

  • Paige Horn – 1:58:28

Sunday brought on the Canoe Marathon/ Flatwater Race that SUPSA selected as a sanctioned event for their annual calendar. Our paddlers were getting ready to take on the last batch in the race. The team were met with blue skies, light winds and a great winding course, set to meander between the houses with plenty of technical turns, hidden poles, sand banks and currents under the narrow bridges. The race included two portages on the three lap course (Open Men and Women) and one portage for the two lap course (Junior SUPs and Proners). In both instances the portage was to be skipped on the first lap. This reasoning by the organisers became well understood in the desire to have the field more spread out to avoid congestion and this added an exciting technical aspect to the racing. Each full lap consisted of twists and turns over 4.7 kms and in both race distances there was a short extra loop of around 1 km around the top end of the canal and past the headland to the finish (or Spit as it’s known) and the moves in this part of the race, dubbed “the sausage lap” would invariably define the end results. 

 The Junior paddlers, Cameron, Migael and Chiara could choose between doing the SUPSA distance for the junior category, being 2 laps, or compete with the open category who did 3 laps. Cameron and Chiara opted for the 3 laps with the open men and women and Miggie did the 2 laps with the prones. CSA facilitated and assisted the paddlers with these teething problems, being the first official race with them and it’s something that will no doubt be resolved by the evergreen Anja Burger from SUPSA, whom was on top of matters the whole weekend from her phone in Johannesburg, as was our SUPSA President Mandy Scanlen from Cape Town. A big thanks to them both and in getting us there in the first place and that tons of hard work behind the scenes was brought to fruition!

The SUPs and Prones started at a frenetic pace, really setting the scene for anybody who did not know we actually race. See the results below:


Open Men Results 

  • Cameron Tripney – 1:43:50
  • Kimon Dos Santos – 1:44:11
  • Gary Van Rooyen – 1:50:59
  • Thomas King – 1:55:54
  • Craig Girdlestone – 2:03:00

Open Women Results 

  • Tarryn King – 1:55:51
  • Chiara Vorster – 2:02: 59
  • Elmari Renecle – 2:09:33
  • Evette Terblanche – 2:14:04

Junior Boys

  • Migael Terblanche -1:16:27

Prone Men 

  • Connor Botha – 1:13:31
  • Jonny Lucas – 1:16:51
  • Jadon Wessels – 1:19:02
  •  Kit Beaton – 1:19:29 

Prone Women 

  • Paige Horn – 1:40:41
  • Carmel Billson – 1:40:41

We look forward to the next race!

Write up by Steve Tripney.

Great photos by Chris Scott’s Photography.