SUP Racing Inside the Mind of a Competitor With Slater Trout & Ikaika Pidot (Infographic)

Mind of a Competitor Infographic

Paddle Board Racing is growing by the event and with each race there are more contenders which leaves less room on the podium. The sport of SUP Racing is still fresh and young allowing some room for new competition to make headway. Although everyone has the same chance of winning a race it really comes down to the mindset of the individual.

We recently got to sit down and talk to two paddle board racers; one is a year after year champion in the sport and the other is a newbie who just recently made the switch. We asked both of them the same series of questions and it was interesting to see the difference between a seasoned vet and an up and comer, however both competitors share the same love for the ocean.


 Slater Trout

Slater Trout Racing

It’s been said he is the Golden Boy of Standup Paddling and for good reason. He was the 2014 US SUP Tour Racing champion, a 6 time podium finisher at the Battle of the Paddle and recently took 1st place and set a new record at the Dusi Marathon in South Africa. Slater has been paddling since the age of 11 and is still one of the youngest athletes in the competition. Recently he went on a trip to fuel both his passions of photography and SUPing in an 18 day trip through Iceland and the Norway, called the Northern Waters Project. As Slater is one of the dominant racers in the SUP scene we wanted to get a peek inside his training regimen and find out what his thoughts are on racing.

What does your training regimen entail? 

Diet: Lots of fish, rice and avocado. That is pretty much my daily meal.

Trainer: I don’t have a trainer at the moment. I have a few training partners who help push me. Group training is the best.

How many hours a day: 3 work outs a day, 6 hours of training.

What was your favorite thing about race day?

The start of the race. I love hearing the countdown and the gun go off. There is something about that moment that always draws me back to races. I guess it’s all the anticipation. It’s exciting.

Do you eat anything specific before a race?

I usually have scrambled eggs with fresh fruit and juice. That seems to work well for me, even on a nervous stomach the morning of a race.

Do you have a specific strategy for when you race?

Get out fast. I always make sure I don’t get caught up in the carnage of the start, that usually decides how your race will go, the start.

What was the most difficult part of a race?

The last 200 yards. Always.

Does anyone in particular on tour push you to paddle faster and/or beat?

Danny Ching pushes me the hardest. We train together so even though we compete against each other, he wants to see me do well. He is ways finding ways to push me farther than I have ever gone.

Where do you see the Sport of Standup Paddle Boarding going?

The Olympics. That is my dream and I believe in my lifetime I will have the chance to compete in the Olympics games.

Can you give any advice for other paddle boarders looking to get into racing?

Start small, enter your local series. Find a target, whether it’s your friend or the fastest paddler in your town, always have someone to chase. You will eventually beat them.

What does your schedule look like for the rest of the year, when do you get to take time off?

This is my craziest travel year yet. I have been all over the world already this year and tomorrow I leave on a surf trip to Indonesia. As soon as I get home, I head to Idaho for the Payette River Games. Then to Hawaii for the Molokai Race, and many more. My summer is busy!

What has paddle boarding taught you?

Discipline. Paddle Boarding has taught me a work ethic that has carried on into my life off of the water.


 Ikaika Pidot

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Ikaika Pidot isn’t a professional standup paddle boarder (yet) and actually only started training and racing this year. Ikaika also isn’t a greenhorn to the water or racing either, he actually has been an avid outrigger paddler who has competed in the single man as well as the 2 and 4 man for a couple years. In addition, he has paddling in his blood as his family started the HanoHano Outrigger Club in San Diego. Early in the year Ikaika showed a lot of interest in SUP Racing and we at Isle wanted to fuel his passion and help him succeed and he joined our ambassador team. Despite the fact that he is not a professional racer, he still trains and has the mentality of one all while doing real estate and freelance graphic designing. Read about Ikaika’s laidback perspective of racing and his positive attitude in this short interview below.

What does your training regimen entail? 

Diet: I have a largely plant-based, alkaline diet, with the occasional carne asada burrito

Trainer: I have this amazing personal chef named Marla, highly recommend her for any cooking needs 🙂

How many hours a day: I am on the water 3-4 days a week, and each time on the water i usually spend at least an hour. I also make sure I take at least 2 yoga classes to stay loose. Outside of that, I try to do something active every day, whether that’s surfing, lifting weights, jogging, whatever. Just something to keep the blood flowing.

What was your favorite thing about race day?

The beer afterwards haha

Do you eat anything specific before a race?

nothing specific, just anything I know my stomach will agree with.

Do you have a specific strategy for when you race?

Start conservatively, pass often, and never let anyone pass you

What was the most difficult part of a race?

Usually the start. I have a bad habit of lining up at the start near people who sprint out and die early, which makes the second and third mile feel like an obstacle course sometimes.

Does anyone in particular on tour push you to paddle faster and/or beat?

I train a lot with the NCP (North County Paddler) guys, and they race a lot of the local races around here. They are all on 14′ and unlimited boards, so my goal is always to just keep up with them on my 12’6″.  They’re all super nice, and a lot of them have been paddling for longer than I’ve been alive and aren’t afraid to share some of that knowledge.

Where do you see the Sport of Standup Paddle Boarding going?

I can see it growing more internationally. The beauty of stand-up is that there are boards for any type of water, so the potential for growth is endless. I also would love to see other cultures’ take on standup, their creativity could take the sport in a direction we can’t even see coming.

Can you give any advice for other paddle boarders looking to get into racing?

To me, standup stems from surfing, which means that it is supposed to be fun. It’s easy to get wrapped up in competition and over-analyze your performance through technique, board shape, training regimen, etc. but you gotta remember that it’s all about you having fun in the ocean. Don’t forget that.

What does your schedule look like for the rest of the year, when do you get to take time off?

I have three more outrigger races through June, then I’m doing the Na Pali and maybe Race the Lake of the Sky on my Isle.

What has paddle boarding taught you?

Paddle boarding has completely changed my perception of fun on the ocean. I used to only paddle outriggers, but over time that got redundant and I kinda got burnt out. Same thing with surfing. Mixing things up with standup has gotten me stoked to get out there again, and it’s now my go-to activity in the ocean.

Posted in Industry, Fitness
Marc Miller - Co-Founder of Isle Surf & SUP. I started Isle back in 2004 to share my love of paddling and surfing in the ocean with others one board at a time. I love to surf, paddle , travel and write about it. When im not in the office I can be found on foreign shores searching for waves and fun.

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