KNOWLEDGE – WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY ?
Casper Steinfath relaxes on a sofa in his home in the Cold Hawaii of Denmark. After coming 4th in the course race and 5th in the distance race at the ISA Worlds, we felt the Naish luminary would be the ideal choice to kick off the ‘What’s the Frequency?’ column, whereby we steal training ideas from the best paddlers in the world with the intent of incorporating them into our own routines.
With Casper Steinfath // Photos Franck Berthuot & Marko Notar
How do you make time to train?
It is always a challenge taking time to train properly when you have a busy life with many things going on around you. For me the hardest part is to find a solid training rhythm while travelling for eight months of the year. I love paddling and especially the feeling I get when I complete a session, so I make it top priority to start my day with a training session. This way I get the feeling of accomplishment early in the day and feel energized to tackle other tasks! Some days I certainly feel like the world is moving in slow motion. I always tell myself that I will feel better and more energized when I finish a work out, and guess what – It never lets me down 🙂
What’s your typical training regime?
My training consists of many different elements. I usually follow a training plan for the week where I alternate between different types of sessions depending on conditions. My main sessions are SUP surf, 1-2 hour SUP sessions, SUP interval sessions and basic running. I always strive for at least two kinds of sessions a day and then have one rest day per week.
How does your training translate to your performance on the water?
For me being a good stand up paddler means that you can adapt to the given conditions in front of you. I also feel that paddling, surfing and running compliment each other in a way that raises my general level. For example, running helps me build strength in my legs that makes me more adapted to the bumpy ocean conditions. It is about looking at what exercises compliment each other and take advantage of this!
How does your training regime differ when you’re on the road vs. when you’re at home?
When I’m at home I am in natural surroundings and running more to my own schedule, which of course makes it easier to plan my training. When I’m on the road I have to be more flexible about what and when I train as I usually am living on different premises. When travelling I look for openings to slip away and get a session in between other responsibilities… I definitely prefer training at home, but I also like being creative while on the road and training in new exciting environments!
What’s your current diet?
Having a good diet is an essential part of my life. Without the right energy there is no way I can play around all day in the water. My current diet includes lots of carbs such as oat meal, pasta, rice and potatoes. These make up the base of it and I supplement these with various sources of proteins and fresh vegetables. I believe a fresh and varied diet, along with making sure you get enough energy in your body compared to what goes out, is paramount to a successful athletic performance. Becoming a professional SUP athlete has definitely made me reflect on what I eat and has made me strive to make sure it is good and healthy things that I fill the tank with 🙂
What sort of a role does downwind paddling play in your development?
I really love downwinds! The sensation of gliding across the continual bumps is next to nothing in the world. Personally I prefer downwinds where I have a partner to push myself against. It is really nice to just daze off and ride the motion of the bumps, but to get the most out of your workout and raise your level you need to almost be racing against someone or trying to beat your time record on the particular downwind. In my eyes friendly competition or racing the clock is the best way to improve your downwind skills.
Are there some techniques that you have learned over the years that have made you better at racing in an open ocean?
The main lesson I learned from racing in the ocean the past years is to Never Ever Give Up! The ocean is always in motion and very hard to fully predict even for the most skilled. At times it feels like the ocean is just completely against you, but then in the swing of a second it can turn 180 degrees on you and be your best friend. To me, the beauty of paddling and competing in this uncontrollable element is fascinating. We can learn a lot about Mother Ocean, we can improve our skills with every session, but I doubt we will ever truly master her. Be inspired by it and you will learn something new each time you go paddling!
For those exceptionally challenging downwinders where every element is coming at you, what do you find is the best equipment for the job?
A board that is stable under your feet and that you feel confident enough on to push yourself to your outer limits! The amount of constant research, testing and dedication performed by the Naish team is what really helps us as riders push to the next level again and again. We as riders have the opportunity to race and paddle in all kinds of water conditions. We then incorporate our feedback into building even better boards year after year. I am happy to be riding equipment I have helped develop!
Have you tried any specific equipment, or do you have certain exercises that you’ve noticed make a HUGE difference in your performance?
The Naish Javelin race boards are definitely a highlight for me here! These boards have been a part of my SUP racing life since day one and it has been really exciting to see them develop alongside me. I am really proud to have been part of this journey and look forward to many more miles paddled with the Naish Javelin boards under my feet.
What exercises and/or diet would you recommend to intermediate paddlers to take their training to the next level?
I recommend keeping an open mind with both your training and diet. Set your own personal goals and talk with other paddlers or trainers about setting up a path to reach these goals! A balanced healthy diet and smart training is key to reaching your top level. Training against other paddlers helps a lot as well. Remain focused and enjoy getting to know yourself deep down. SUP