North Avenue Beach SUP Race Series with Zane Schweitzer
The NAB race series this week started with the always informative pre-race clinic with Kirsten Lefeldt. Kirsten has helped me refine my paddle strokes and tonight I focused more on my hip action and continuously paddling between strokes instead of pausing at the top, and I could really feel a difference! She told me to imagine a rubber band was around my hips and paddle and expands with every reach forward - it seems so simple, but that visualization made a huge difference. Kirsten mentioned my paddle strokes looked good tonight, and I’ll take her word for it because I respect her opinion, but I still think I have a lot to learn!
We either start our races on the water or the beach and tonight we had a special guest instructor, Zane Schweitzer. Zane is a world champion waterman and I can tell from just one little session - a great teacher and coach. He seems very patient, extremely knowledgeable and just an overall cheery person. It made me wish I would have signed up for a stroke clinic while he was in town. He helped us with beach starts and even gave us a few tips after the race about paddling into strong winds - which we battled every lap going south. I didn’t really know who he was before tonight, but after a little googling, I realize we were lucky to have him at our race tonight!
This may have been the last race of the summer, which is a bummer, but I’ve really enjoyed learning from Kirsten and challenging myself to complete these races. My competitive side has learned to set aside my ego and accept finishing towards the back of the race. Maybe next year I’ll try an actual racing board for a race, but for now, I’ll just focus on form and fun rather than my place at the finish line. I’ve learned a new way of paddling and I’m already looking forward to next summer!