A good start is essential, because it provides clear water into which you can move. Not only do you want an unobstructed path, but also don’t want your stroking action to be impeded.
It is to your advantage to get away quickly. There is not much speed differential between competent paddlers, so if you get left behind, even with a sprint competency, it can take considerable effort to catch up. A good start establishes your position and as you are near the front, you can take the line you want.
Getting involved with the masses
It is pointless being assertive at the start, only to end up with broken gear because you were not quick enough in getting away, also perhaps not prepared to give way to stronger paddlers coming through.
You may want to avoid the masses, because this invariably holds you up and you run the risk of damage. The bigger the swell, the more space is required between boats. A start can be cramped for space, with paddles clashing and craft crashing…
READ MORE from page 78 of Issue 5 of 2018: https://issuu.com/thepaddlemag/docs/tpm_5_2018