Christian Andersen aka the ‘Polar Bear’ is a name familiar to many around the world who follow SUP racing. At the start of 2023 he signed with the NSP International SUP Racing Team and his race season started fast with a podium at the first stop of the Euro Tour. This polar bear is more than a SUP racer with a passion for the water that now extends to coaching, TotalSUP caught up with Coach Christian and one of his athletes after Christian’s first training camp which was held in Fuerteventura.
Christian Andersen NSP SUP Racer
Hi Christian, welcome to TotalSUP, I cannot believe we haven’t featured you before!
Ha! Yes, this is my first time talking to you, where have you been?
I guess we have not been paddling fast enough to catch you! For those who do not know who is Christian Andersen, the Polar Bear?
I am a Danish SUP Racer on the NSP International Team, I love racing and being on the water and now I have started to share that passion with other paddlers as a coach.
Polar Bear training!
That is very modest of you, I think it might be correct to say you are one of the top SUP racers in the world with multiple Danish championships and a long list of great results at Elite level. This year you are with a new sponsor, NSP. How is that going so far?
NSP make the best boards I have ever tried. They also make awesome gear for Wing Foiling, SUP Surfing, Inflatables, and even Shortboards and Longboards. I feel like NSP is the perfect match for me. My main focus is SUP racing, but I also see myself as a waterman and NSP provides me with the best gear for all the watersports I like to do.
It is early in the season but you’ve already had some great results on your new NSP quiver…
Yes, the season started very well! I was third in the first EuroTour of the season in Spain, The Battle for Hercules Ceuta on my NSP Carolina in challenging conditions. At the next round at the Sevilla SUP Festival, I was on my NSP Ninja and finished in the top ten. I have just raced at the APP sprint event in Alicante, Spain on my NSP Puma and finished in fifth place.
Christian Andersen – NSP SUP Racer
That’s a solid start to the season on new equipment, nice work! Tell us about your training camp and coaching.
I have done a few one-day clinics before, mostly in Denmark and it felt like a good time to take that further with a 7-day training camp. It is the first time I have done anything on this scale and I was really excited about it, but also a bit nervous, organising an entire 7-day training camp requires a lot of preparation and focus.
The camp was held in Fuerteventura. I partnered up with Apollo Sports, and we had the camp at the Las Playitas resort. I chose Las Playitas because it is a great place for paddling, usually calm flat water in the morning and then the wind will pick up in the afternoon and create some more challenging ocean conditions. And the report isn’t just about the ocean, there are a huge range of different sports facilities available on the site and, of course, a huge buffet for breakfast and dinner for hungry athletes.
Sounds perfect, especially the food. What was your goal with each of the athletes that attended?
My goal was to teach all the things I have learned over the years, but also help the athletes avoid some of the mistakes I have made. I had a plan of what the week would look like prior to the camp, but it ended up changing and we took it one day at a time instead.
Christian Andersen Fuerteventura Training Camp
Having a plan is always good, being able to change it is better. What does a week-long training camp look like for athletes?
We usually did 2 water sessions each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. On top of that we usually did a 3rd activity which could anything from paddle tennis to a gym session. The sessions were 1-2 hours and each session had a different focus including technique training, drafting, buoy turns, beach starts, wave riding, sprinting, race tactics, interval training, downwind and so on.
At the end of each day we would make a plan for the next day’s training, this way the athletes could give me feedback on their day and we could customize what they wanted to work on the following day.
Sounds exhausting! What was it like coaching full-time?
It was really inspirational seeing the athletes work hard everyday and I could definitely see that it paid off by the end of the week. Teaching others helps me too, and it made me realize some things as well. Most of the time I just go on the water and paddle without thinking much of what I’m doing because it feels so natural to me after doing it for so many years. But when I teach someone what I do, it makes me think of why I’m doing it and that helps me reflect and improve as well.
Overall, I would say the camp went really well and I would definitely like to do something similar to that again. My impression was that the athletes learned a lot during the 7 days and had a great time while doing it.
Christian and Michael taking a break from training
I know one of the paddlers that took part, Michael Ian Duelund Jensen. He certainly seems to have speeded up since his week with you! I asked him for a few words about his camp experience.
I had a wonderful time at the surf camp with Christian in Fuerteventura. He is really a cool dude and was really good at planning a program specific to my level of fitness and experience on the water.
My alarm was usually set to 6 o’clock and I got on the water just as the sun started to rise – such a magical time of the day. Often Christian joined me with my morning session, we called it ‘intervals for breakfast’ – and followed it with a big breakfast at the hotel.
The later training sessions were a mix of technical exercises within beach-start, tracking, buoy turns, paddle techniques, down winding and so on, and of course, long paddle sessions along the coast enjoying the fantastic landscape.
The wind mostly came from the north, so normally we vent up against it a few kilometres and back, but we just had to make a single trip down south. That was quite exciting, and became the closest I got to visiting Africa on this trip!
It was a fantastic trip, with wonderful people around me, a world-class paddler leading session and plenty of training opportunities – a wonderful combo and my paddling has improved since then, I’ll be chasing Christian in races for sure!
Thanks, Michael. It sounds like a good week and we hope to see you high in the results of the Danish SUP Tour this year.
Final question for Christian – do you think you could paddle faster than a Polar Bear if you ever met one in the water? According to Wikipedia, they can swim at 9.5 km/h…
Good question! I think if I met one it would motivate me to go faster!
Christian Andersen – The Polar Bear
Thank you, Christian, we will try to catch up with you again later in the season. In the meantime “Tak og held og lykke med din sæson 2023”
Keeping up with Christian could not be easier, check his Instagram and Facebook channels and you can check his impressive bio on the NSP website.
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