“Stand-Up Paddle Pro Racer – the most memorable year of my life” NSP’s Marcus Hansen
1) For people who don’t know you yet, who is Marcus Hansen?
I am 24 years old and sport is my life. Sailing was my main sport previously. I represented New Zealand in sailing from the age of 13. I did an Olympic campaign in the 49er class. My highlight of the campaign was a silver medal at the 2013 world champs. Unfortunately, we did not qualify for the 2016 Olympics as only one team per country goes to the Olympics in the 49ers and the other team was ranked number one in the world.
I have always been very passionate about endurance sports. Road cycling has always been a passion for me. When I started SUPing in 2011 I loved it straight away and when I didn’t qualify for the Olympics it wasn’t long until I was on a mission to pursue elite SUP racing.
2) How did you get into SUP racing?
I moved to Auckland for my sailing (2.5hrs drive from my parents home in Whangarei) when I was 17. I was into cycling for fitness back then but I didn’t like riding in all the traffic in Auckland. I saw there was a SUP winter series running at Takapuna beach and turned up to check it out. Dion, a good friend now, lent me a 30 inch wide race board for the race and I was hooked! Whenever I wasn’t overseas sailing I was racing and training with my Auckland SUP mates.
3) Can you tell us about your first official season as an international rider with NSP? How is the life of a professional paddler?
First of all I have to thank NSP for giving me this opportunity to race on the international scene. It has been an awesome first official season. It has been exhilarating, exhausting, with moments of despair and moments of joy. All in all it has been the most memorable year of my life. Bring on next year.
4) What is you new challenges for next season?
Last year I burnt out a bit at the beginning of my Europe trip and I was not feeling well. I trained like crazy for the ISA Worlds in 2016 and carried that on throughout the NZ summer SUP season, by the time I reached Europe in May I was cooked. It took about 6 weeks to start feeling normal again.
So I want to manage my body better next season. I still need to work hard but I need to be smarter about it.
Also my sprint speed is not good enough for these elite races, so I’m trying a few new things to improve that.
I also learnt a lot this season about dealing with being in big draft packs and choppy water and positioning. Also I want to target 14 foot races as being a big guy a 12’6 racing is not ideal for me.
So if I can put all this together for next season I believe I can move up the results sheet. I want to give back to NSP and help them out in NZ and overseas where possible. It is a big team environment and I want to be there to help.
5) You’re working on the development of our paddles, how do you test the different paddles and what are you looking for to optimize the performance of our paddles?
Yes I am working on developing NSPs paddle range. First of all “feel” is the most important when it comes to paddles. Working out why some paddles react differently can be challenging. I have used many different paddles over the last year to understand what different features do to a paddle.
To test out a new paddle I do around a minute acceleration, I start off paddling slow and wind up the pace to a full sprint pace. I then take notes on the feeling of the paddle and the paddles defining features (blade shape and stiffness, blade face contours, shaft stiffness, etc). I am starting to understand a lot more now.
I have also set up a jig at home to bend test the shafts (sing a bit of my sailing experience).
6) How do you like the 2018 NSP race boards and what is your favourite model?
The new boards are awesome! Super fast, light, stable and all the small details have been thought about. What more could you want? I do have a soft spot for the 14×23 Sonic though. It pops onto bumps so easily and glides nicely in the flat.
7) Why would you advise people to SUP?
SUP caters for so many different people. You can surf, cruise, race, downwind, explore, play polo, do yoga and the list goes on. It is such a versatile sport. It is so simple as well with very little set up time and maintenance. I can’t say the same about sailing, haha.