To race or not to race!!
I am not ready for a race! I am not good enough to race! I don’t want to look stupid or finish in last if I race!
These are all things we hear often from people new to the sport or who are thinking about getting into the racing scene. Let me tell you now, DO NOT WORRY about any of this stuff. The SUP Community is one of the most welcoming groups of people you will ever meet, especially in Maryland. Yes, there are some people that take it over the top serious. Yes people are competitive with each other. People have this perception that races are full of competitive people who will do anything to win, and that can’t be farther from the truth. In our opinion there are 4 different types of racers, and it doesn’t matter which one you are.
Pro’s– These guys paddle for a living. They train everyday and make a living by being sponsored, teaching paddle clinics, and some even by winning race prizes. This is a very small % of the paddlers, there are no written percentages but I am guessing 2% or less of all racers are in this class. These are the guys that win the big national events. None of them live in Maryland.
Sponsored locals– Every town has them. These are the guys that may ride for a board maker or a shop. They may get some free gear or some swag but they do not do it for a living. They train hard and they are serious about their training but they have full-time jobs and do other things. These guys are usually the ones that win all the local races. There are a decent amount of them in Maryland and they are all super nice and won’t bite- haha.
Weekend Warriors- This is the majority of the sport. I would say 90% or even higher are all weekend warriors. They have full time jobs, families, or other things going on in life that won’t allow them to train every day like the sponsored guys. Or maybe they just don’t want to. They are still competitive but they don’t care about winning races. They care about beating the guy that beat them the race before which can lead to fun rivalries. They enjoy the camaraderie of the sport, the after race beers, the group paddles etc. They are the majority of racers in Maryland
The Newbie’s- These are the people who do not care about “Racing” anyone. They just want to go out and finish the distance. They have the best attitudes and make the sport better. They like the fact that the sport is good for them and they enjoy being on the water. They only do races for fun and enjoy the events. This is a large number of racers in Maryland as well.
So no matter which one you are it doesn’t matter. Go to your local race and have fun because at the end of the day that is what it’s all about.