Rehydration Tips for SUP Racers

Louis Kirchell SUP Racing

Rehydration Tips for SUP Racers

I’ve been asked by boss man Joey T to do a ‘semi-regular’ blog on race training, and finally sat down to put something in writing over the weekend! I’m still new to the world of SUP though have previously competed in other sports to a decent level as well as studying  Sport and Exercise, and working within the gym industry. I am feeling my way with training in terms of the biomechanics, and slowly coming out of the winter hibernation phase!

The first topic I will focus on is the nutrition on ‘race day’ in particular dehydration. It seems almost counter-intuitive whilst surrounded by water whether it is a flat-water race, or a longer surf session but dehydration will play a huge factor in performance, both physically and in speed of thought and reaction speed.


So what can be done to reduce the effects, the most obvious is simply to drink water regularly, whilst this will go some way to helping it fails to take into account the salts and electrolytes (drink too much without electrolytes, results in your body being able to correctly regulate what you’re taking in; This can lead to fatigue, cramping, thermal regulation issues (i.e. you feel too hot or too cold), and cognitive problems.) This leads onto the huge market which has sprung up around the sport/leisure industry of sport supplements; there are a huge number some far better known than others (not saying they are necessarily the best though!). My advice through the years has been to find a system and a product that works for you, throughout my sporting past I have tried a huge number of products, some I have found great, some with some nasty side effects!  I think one of the biggest errors people can make (and yes I have also done in the past!) is to turn up on race day and try a completely new product, the outcomes can be disastrous, an a quick google on any endurance sport forum will bring up tales of problems ranging from illness, through to DNFs.


My advice would be;

  1. Trial products in training; just as you would alter paddle stroke, and fin positioning try a number of products until you find one which you like. The tastes, mix ability, are all factors as is undoubtedly cost and availability.
  2. Work out a way you can refuel whilst paddling; there are some great products out there now for endurance sports, Camelback and Ion seems the most commonly within SUP.

Once you have the product, and a way of refueling;

  1. Work out how frequently to refuel; There are complicated formulas to work this out, or as an approximate rule; 200 to 300 mL 10 to 20 minutes during exercise…. A way to test for definite hydration levels is to weigh before and after exercise; any weight lost during is simply an imbalance between fluid in, and fluid out.

lella heathcote on 12'6 Loco Carbon Pro

Overall, I’d recommend if you’re paddling for any time over an hour and getting sweaty think about hydration, an if competing in any endurance type events be it, SUP racing, or the SUPBIKERUN type events that some prior thought is given to having an nutrition plan.

As I briefly alluded to I am new to SUP, and excited to work with the LOCO SUP race team. I have previously competed in 3 Ironman events, am a Gym Instructor within the fire service, played representative rugby, and competed internationally in windsurfing, so my knowledge comes from a broad base.


Louis rides our 14′ x 28″ Motion which is a great choice for heavier riders. Smaller people should consider our 12’6” Motion and if touring/exploring is more your bag we suggest ordering a detuned Motion in dark wood/gold which is a real thing of beauty.

Stay tuned for more from Louis