Nick Notten’s victory at the 2021 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships wasn’t just the product of a lifetime of hard work.

It was also reflective of the consideration that went into his hard work.

The Perfect Boat for any Paddler

In between his training this year, Notten has also juggled his Masters of Exercise Science at the University of Cape Town. It follows his Bachelor of Science focusing on Biochemistry and Human Physiology.

At the core of his Masters studies is an analysis of training loads and how they can be managed to produce optimal performances.

As he describes it, it’s “a natural amalgamation of both my sporting and academic interest”.

“I think approaching training from a more academic or theoretical point of view, there’s a lot of things people do that could possibly be done in a better way.” Notten says.

“However, in practice, actually doing it and being able to adhere to a certain strategy is difficult for a range of factors.

“Being from both worlds gives me maybe a bit of a unique perspective as to which strategies and training could be not only theoretically effective, but also practically implemented.”

The Perfect Boat for any Paddler

It can make for dense reading, but the concept is simple – the fastest paddlers are not necessarily those who train the hardest.

How training workloads are managed can greatly influence standards of performance.

And Notten believes, within the wider surfski community, there is an opportunity for growth.

“Where I think there is potential for improvement is not so much the training methods themselves, but the way in which we monitor our training and decide how much training is enough or what training is effective,” he says.

“Most people, I would say, go more on their feeling as opposed to any concrete metric on how much training they need to do leading up to an event.”

“That is something that could probably be improved, but before we can improve that, we need to determine how we can empirically manage our training.

“That has helped a lot of sports improve their training processes – identifying how the training is affecting the paddler, then you can tinker with training methods.

“Because then you can actually measure things, and when you can measure things, you can measure differences. And when you can measure differences, you can have improvement.”

The Perfect Boat for any Paddler

For many paddlers, analysing your training load may seem like a daunting challenge.

But for now, Nick is offering to do it for you.

The World Champion has extended a unique call to all paddlers to take part in his training study.

It’s free to sign up and the rewards are valuable – Nick will receive personalised feedback as well as information on the training characteristics that are associated with performance.

“I think generally for most people, if they could have something that could inform them or keep them informed to three notions – whether to train harder, train the same or train less – I think it will help them train more effectively.” Notten says.

The study runs for eight weeks, and there are a number of small requirements.

Participants must be aged 18 or older, paddle three times a week and will need a GPS sports watch and heart rate monitor.

“Ideally, it would lead up to some form of event, but for most of us that’s not really possible at this stage, so I would take an eight week period leading up to a mock-event like a time-trial.”

After breaking through for the biggest result of his career, there’s a certain irony to the fact that Notten is now determined to help others improve their approach to training – even if that includes his rivals.

The study is open to everyone, and he hopes paddlers of all abilities will take up the offer.

“Ideally, what my study unearths is a good framework for monitoring training… and that will help everyone improve,” he says.

“Hopefully then, the best people can unlock potential that they already have.

“If that means that I get beaten, then perhaps I always should’ve been beaten.

“If my study can help people improve their training, I think that is a far greater achievement than any individual result I could have.”

“I would be very, very happy if that was my contribution to paddling.”

If you would like to participate in Nick Notten’s study, then contact him via email: