Discussion started by Alex Mauer , on 27 September 10:58 AM
Drafting has been one of the topics I have been hearing about more often now. After the last two races I have been in I see what racers are talking about. Drafting does take energy out of paddling, sure its not fair to take a race at the end because you were drafting, but I don't think that it is that big of an issue. I am also not sure what the rules are surrounding it in other sports I would love to hear what you know about drafting in other sports as well as how you feel about it in the SUP world.
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Great discussion, and very helpful. I've practiced this technique a little bit and seen it work well in races. In high wind conditions - paddling into the wind - it can be very helpful, but as its been said, taking turns it really how it pays off for everyone.
Another sport that drafting is excepted, is x-country ski racing. Except it is not allowed in the final 200 meters (656ft) to the finish line. Something sup racing might consider and maybe that distance may need to be longer in sup racing. So where does the 200 meter distance come from? The bodies capacity to sprint is approximately 200 meters(200 meters is 62ft shorter than 2 football fields end zone to end zone). Other sports that allow drafting to the finish, is track and field running, horse racing and auto racing.
I would have a problem with drafting – If BEFORE a race a group of paddlers got together and decided to work as a team taking turns drafting. This is allowed in cycling but should not be in SUP races. It would be unfair to an individual athlete battling against a team. The only way to discourage this may be to make drafting illegal. Primarily in a distance race.
Sup racers should learn to draft as bicycle racers do, if you draft together whether in a pair or as a small group you will pull away from the peloton(the main group). It is by no means in bicycle racing a way to take a break, in fact, it involves short bursts of sprinting, if someone doesn't work with the break away group their known as a wheel sucker, but with that said, if you work together a sup sucker or wheel sucker would still have to sprint to keep up; so the sucker will usually be dropped. I will agree that if someone has set a pace and someone drafts behind then sprints past at the finish, they would be a sup sucker and they should be told so. If you turn around and someone is drafting, say, "let's work together," and in the end the person with the most energy, will be able to win fairly. If you watch pro bicycle racing you will understand this, but it is by no means a way to take a rest, it is indeed a way to break away from the pack or a way to catch someone. If you train this way you will become stronger and faster, to outlaw this would be just ignorance. Hasn't anyone out there ever bicycle raced or even trained on a bike?
whatever it takes you to win or improve your time is ok as long as it's legal. drafting is common and a good common sense move taking advantage of the conditions. it also means the paddler is paying attention to his or her surroundings and paddling smart vs hard.
it's no different then using an eddy in current to move upstream, or using the leeward side of a jetty or hill providing flat water which may provide protection from the wind.
this reminds me of dan gavere taking a stern wheeler wave during a race on the Columbia River Gorge. A downwinder became an upwinder, he was behind, but this boat came by throwing off a killer wave against the current and wind. he took it and shot forward improving his time dramatically.
The honor system is good for most, someone will still try to get around it. Maybe racers should buddy up with some one who races at about the same speed & work together. I know some people who have done this & they seemed to have a great experience.