Racing and/or Playing?

I guess my question is, is it Racing and Playing? Or is it Racing or Playing.

I paddle a fair bit of whitewater, OC1 and C1 and consider myself a “catch every eddy surf every wave” kind of boater. Mind you that’s the ideal.

I see Downriver racers and Slalom racers and I think I want to try both but I know I won’t quit playboating. I’d only race for my own satisfaction. I’m 47 and never considered myself an athelete. I see the skills I’d hopefully aquire as the main benefit.

So those of you who race, how much of your boating time is devoted to training and racing vs. recreational paddling?



paddle hard most of the time
i don’t go out and do sprint intervals or time trials every time i go out, but i do make an effort to maintain a brisk pace and to throw in some sprints along the way. training and playing are often the same thing- if i’ve got following waves, i’m sprinting to catch every single one, which is good exercise and the most fun you can have with your clothes on.


One of the reasons
I quit downriver racing was that I found that I spent 98% of my paddling time either training or racing. That and the fact that I had paddled a number of great rivers and could not tell you very much about the scenery around them only what the river looked like between the start and finish. Having said that I still miss it years later.

Often I have only time for a hard one hour workout on st lawrence river. Other times the idea is to relax and visit. A problem with fast paddlers is that paddling real slow does get old so hard for me to paddle with club unless fast people. Ideally we would have time to go hiking,camping, ww etc. The reality is we usually specialize but have a big old glider for camping and talking.

I race canoes and kayaks, but love to play in rivers, swamps, estuaries, and the ocean.

I have found out that if you want to be a competetive racer, there is no way you can do it without hard work and training which is not play.

The actual race for me is the play.

The training is work, and many times (like yesterday for instance) when I was about half way through my workout I asked myself why the hell I was doing it, but then in the last couple of miles when I was attaining my goal for the day it made it worth while.

I think down river racing is a blast since you get to combine your hard open water training with your reading the water skills which can make or break you.

If you get hooked on it, you probably won’t turn back.

Training is work, racing is play



Bought my slalom c-boat when I was 53.
I have used it almost exclusively for hacking around on easy rivers and for citizen racing. Check around for the easier slalom races in your area and try a few. You should be able to manage with just ordinary conditioning. I have had a lot of fun without ever having the time to get in super condition.

Kent Ford’s “The Citizen Racer’s Workshop” is still an excellent primer.

I’m not interested in racing
Though I do enjoy spending some time paddling hard over long distances for the exercise, or paddling hard against currents, wind, and waves in order to get where I’m going, I have no interest in competitive paddling.

Even when I watch something like the Olympic competitions, I don’t care who wins; I just enjoy watching them paddle. :slight_smile:


Playing And Sprinting…
Since it’s me and the waves, it ain’t about racing.

However, the surf zone is about a series of rides and a series of sprints to get back out. On small days, however, everything is mellow even the paddle back out (although this depends on the individual’s experience as I have seen newbies get squashed repeatedly on a 3’ day).

On big days, the heart throbbing part is to sprint and weave through the openings in the breaking waves. The break zone can be like a 50 yard plus obstacle course. If you don’t get through and get flipped, or backsurfed in, you either suck it up and sprint like crazy again to make out to the back. If you don’t, then you go back to shore, get a breather and try again.

I find I get more of a workout in 2 hours of surfing than a full day of normal touring.


Training(racing) vs Playing
G2d, that’s pretty much what I had in mind.

Melisa, I’m not terribly competitive myself. I always have the idea that the last one on the water wins. But I have noticed that the racers typicaly have the best skills and I’m thinking I want some of that.

Sing, do you train for surf competitions? I know that playing hard helps build skills. I wonder if the lack of focus and goals limits that to some extent?

Thanks to all, I’m just trying to wrap my mind around this “get through the course fast” thing. LOL


I Will More Seriously…

– Last Updated: Dec-20-05 11:56 AM EST –

this year. In the twenty minute heat, you try to catch as many good rides as you can, with the top three scoring ones that are counted. It's in the rider's interests to get back out ASAP.

Last year, I had one great long ride (scored very highly) but had heck of time paddling back out against something 25 knot head wind and the waves. I think I caught like three rides overall in that whole heat. Some other folks caught even less.


Playing and fitness
Did enough racing on foot through high school and university to last a lifetime.

Now, to keep fit, among other things, I like to paddle briskly and for periods of 2 hours or more. No idea of how far I have gone, and don’t care.

I figure that if I start racing, I will have to resort to interval training again and I really, really, really do not want to revisit that again.

So, playing for fitness would be my philosophy.

Going “Faster”…

– Last Updated: Dec-20-05 5:10 PM EST –

was/has remained always a means (aerobic/anearobic training) to "play" some other game better. Going faster for the sake of being faster relative to others was never a game I was interested in.


Slalom boaters
can do it all. Slalom teaches you the skills and keeps you fit so you can play harder. I’ve seen many a slalom boater jump on a surf ski and do very well in competition. It’s a thing of beauty to watch a slalom boater throw cartwheels in a slalom boat at the play spots and just eat up every surf wave and ride every hole for hours on end.

For me, its racing AND playing in whitewater, but racing OR playing in flatwater.

Nice post.