During the weekend 6-7th April, at the Circolo Surf Torbole, our Team Manager Andrea Cucchi, held a stage for young slalom riders who love to race. This article is dedicated to all the kids who would have liked to join but were maybe too far or had not the chance to come and take part. So here is a summary of what has been explained, and it’s also a good advice for those who don’t race but want to go through a useful check list of things before getting on the water! (especially after a whole winter!)
It’s like at School. Is it better to study constantly the whole year, or do everything the week or day before the Exam?
This is racing. You need to be ready and organized before the events. The day of the event, you need to go to the beach, knowing that the only thing you need to worry about, is to be the first on the water to warm up before the racing starts, and to focus on the racing as it starts.
At home, training should be part of your life, but another aspect is getting all the gear ready before the race. What does this mean? Having tested all the gear and having all the gear ready.
Testing means that you have no doubts anymore about the trim of your gear, nor how to rig it, or where to put the boom or mast foot.
Before thinking to go to a race you should be sure that you have everything ready. If you know that you are missing a screw, or a washer, or that you need to borrow anything before you go to the first race, you are already behind the others who are ready. You also go to the event thinking the wrong thing. You should go to the event and think, I’m ready, I will have fun, and do all I can to win…
How many of you are thinking like that today?
A. At home:
Do you have a book where you write down all you test and all you need? The trim and positioning of all the settings? Get one!
The check list at home: It probably smart to check all the equipment before leaving to an event. You have been using the gear for training and it could be wearing out.
1. Do we have for each rig its booms or extensions, or all components needed? Do we have all the fins for the board? Do I need to juggle the parts from one rig to the other because I don’t have enough booms or extension? If you don’t, it can be a problem if you have to use for example, the same extension for the 7.8 and 8.6, as you will lose time and focus during the event to switch, and will keep you worried the whole event to think on last minute, if you will rig one sail or the other, with no chance to switch. If you use the same extension for an 8.6 and 5.6 it can work as it will be unluckily that you will use those 2 sails in the same day.
Let’s go through each component.
2. Sail: Are the battens all good. Are there any holes. Is there any other part missing? Are the sail numbers on the sail. Did I mark on the sail how much downhaul do I need?
3. Mast: Do I have each mast for the sail. If I have more mast for the same sail, which one is better. Is it clean?
4. Boom: Are the harness lines in the right position? Did I mark the position on the boom? Are the outhauls marked to be always in the right position? Are the rope cut to size so that it’s always the same? How is the rope on the boom head? Do I know how high to put this boom on the sail I will use?
5. Extension: Is the rope good? Do I know at which hole do I put the extension for the sail? Did I maybe write on the sail and in my notes?
6. Base: How is the tendon? Do I have one for each board. Do all my bases fit all my extensions. Very important in case of emergency.
7. Board: Strap sizes. Did I screw them properly, always double check before each race. Size? Anti-skid of the board. Holes?
8. Fins: Do I have all the screws. Do they fit properly in the box? Do I have all the fins I need?
9. Spares: What type of spares do I need? Battens, board repair, Tape to fix sails, ropes, harness lines, anything else?
10. Tools: Do I have all the tools I need? Saw, Screw drivers, batten tensioner, plyers, scissors, lighter, …..
If you have done all this before going to the race, you are ready with the first step.
B. At the event site.
Being at least one day before the event starts is always a good idea.
1. Getting a nice spot on the beach is something important to be able to have your working space comfortable and make sure you are next to positive people, and people you know that could support you in case of needs. Trying to be independent is even better. No distraction. A team partner is always a good solution.
2. Have a nice mat or sail rig bag, and set up your boundaries of your working space, and make all your gear comfortable to rig, or to have the space to be ready in the shortest time possible.
3. Make sure you can have the event stickers as soon as you can and place all of them on all the sails, even if the forecast is not good. You never know.
4. Talk to the locals to learn about the spot and try to get on the water to break the ice with the spot. Go for a spin with few sizes of sails and boards if possible, to check that your trim is good, and nothing is uncomfortable. This wakes up your muscles, gets you ready mentally, but don’t over do it and get tired. Try to do this early in the day, so you can go home early and relax.
5. Don’t leave on the beach things which are important. Starting watch, valuables, maybe your fins and apparels you need to wear which you don’t want wet. Such as rain coats, wetsuits and so on.
6. Make sure you write your name on your event lycra, it’s easy that someone takes yours by mistake.
7. Chose to be in a hotel or home with the right people who you know that don’t stress you or make you lose your focus. You are not there for holiday or to party. You are there to win.
8. Don’t waste energy on useless things, but maybe focus on your media and sponsors to involve them. Do it without any stress and pressure.
9. Early sleep, early wake up, getting ready before the others.
C. The day of the race.
1. Which food do I bring? What you know it’s easy to digest. Good to ask to specialists.
2. Do I eat at the event site, or should I bring my own? Always better to bring your own as it could be more healthy
3. Do I have food with energy if there is no time to eat? Bikers eat while racing, maybe good to look what they use.
4. Drinks? Bring your own and make sure you know where to get more.
5. Do I have enough warm clothes? Rain, wind, being tired, is always making us feel colder than we think, and colder than just sailing few hours and going home.
6. Is it important to wear shoes at the beach? Energy can be lost too early from humidity and cold feet.
7. How do I focus at the event? Don’t waste time to talk with people about things which are waste of time, even if the forecast is not good, you might be getting wind at one point, and the focus and energy needs to be there. Don’t stand around negative people who are worried if the wind will kick in or not. Always be ready.
8. Try not to borrow your tools and gear to others. You might need it; otherwise why did you bring it? And if the borrowed part goes broken, what will you do. If they are not happy that you don’t land your tools, why did they not get their own if they knew there would have been a chance for them to need it.
9. Skipper meetings are boring and always the same, but one day, you might miss an important notice which could make you lose a title. Do Attend.
10. As the wind kicks in, and the weather allows it, or the beach is friendly enough, go out and warm up. Don’t wait last minute to get on the water. Check the course and do some small final tuning. If it still takes time before the start, go back to the beach, drink, focus, and wait your turn.
11. Make sure you have at least 2 rigs ready at the events. In case you break, you need to be ready with a backup: even if the sails size won’t be ideal, is better than trying to repair things, and miss the race.
12. If you win one heat, you will have to win more heats to win the day, and more days to win the event. Don’t go back to the beach and feel like a hero if you won one heat…stay focused, the game has just started. If you lose the first race, there are still many to go, discards and many days. Stay focused, you have nothing to lose and show your best all the way to the finish. Never give up!
D. The end of the day
1. Your gear is your working tools. The better you treat it, the better it will treat you.
2. Release all tensions and store it in shade and shelter from the wind. Rinse it and clean it if possible.
3. Go through the check list of the used gear to see that all is in place and not broken. If broken, repair in the end of the day, and not the next day!
4. Stretch, relax, eat, drink, get things ready for day 2.
5. Media work, and don’t forget your sponsors!