Ryland Hart – SoCal’s new multi-discipline paddler
Ryland Hart has been gliding somewhat under the radar in the SUP racing world. Take a quick look at the outrigger canoeing community, however, and there are probably few, if any, paddlers who have not heard his name. At just 16 years old, Hart has already competed in two Molokai to Oahu OC-1 championships. He won the Junior Division in the prestigious channel crossing as a 15-year-old on his first attempt. Hart returned this year and despite battling a stomach illness he managed to grind his way to second place.
A member of the Lanakila Outrigger Canoe Club in Redondo Beach, Ryland Hart has been diligently training under Danny Ching’s tutelage for several years and along with his friend, Keoni DeFries, was one of two Juniors selected to compete in Lankila’s “Top Crew” during the 2017 Catalina Crossing, the U.S. Championship event in 9-man outrigger canoe racing.
I caught up with Ryland Hart earlier this week and had the chance to discuss his preparation for the Pacific Paddle Games after a long and memorable season in the canoe.
How has your SUP race training been going this year after an intense outrigger season?
It’s been good. I train primarily on outrigger and then dive into SUP race training a few weeks out from an event. I’ve also been working at Tarzan this summer giving lessons and instruction. I’m an instructor for their kid’s camps and was regularly on a board 3-4 hours a day, at least. So, I was still pretty comfortable on a board when it came time to train for the Pacific Paddle Games.
You are now in your Junior year at Mira Costa High School. What captures your interest outside of paddling?
I’m really into my science classes. I’m taking an AP Environmental Sciences class this fall. I’ve also studied a bit of Marine Biology, which I’ve enjoyed.
Tell me about your approach to paddling different craft?
The way Danny has taught me how to do it is that it’s easier to train when you go out in groups and not by yourself. You also have to really listen to your body. Although it is great to go out every day and put the work in, maybe twice a day, if you have the time…if your body is not ready for it, if you need a break, you have to really listen to that. Every once in a while you have to slow things down a bit. Often when Danny and I are training on SUPs there is usually a shorter time period that we are on the water, but higher intensity. By comparison, when we do outrigger we have a lot of 3-4 hour practices…often at a 70 percent “cruisy” rate.
Most SUP races are 6-8 miles max, so it is a lot more explosive work [training for SUP]. We concentrate on our buoy turns, getting comfortable stepping back, things like that. What we do on any given day just depends on which particular craft we are focusing on. When we are training for the Molokai Solo, sometimes it just gets old sitting in the same seat. So, we’ll switch it up by going out in the 6-man or getting on the SUP.
In terms of your SUP training, do you stay in the harbor and focus on interval training or do you mix it up and go out into the ocean?
If our workout consists of 3-4 minute pieces, we typically stay in the harbor and just paddle back and forth. When working on longer pieces, we’ll usually head out of the harbor into the wind and get comfortable paddling in the chop and swell. We generally don’t sprint when out in the ocean and concentrate on learning to trim our boards, read the conditions and surf.
How many times a week are you on the water?
At least once a day. I’m on the Surf Team at school and we surf every day, Monday – Friday. Then I train pretty much every day after school, either outrigger or SUP. So yeah, at least once a day!
Do you do any land-based cross-training?
Pretty much until this year I’ve just focused on paddling since my body is still growing a lot. Recently I’ve started to incorporate some body-weight exercises, push ups, pull ups, things like that. Going into the next year I’ll start incorporating lifting weights. Mainly for junior paddlers, because of the stage our bodies are in, it is good to just paddle because those are the muscles we’ll be using. Then use the body-weight exercises to stretch out, instead of trying to get big.
What type of paddling do you enjoy the most?
I love paddling outrigger. It is where I started, so there is a bit of sentimental value each time I get in a canoe. Also, I love the glide you get in an outrigger canoe. You don’t get that in SUP, you can a bit in downwind, but with outrigger you can establish a pace and tempo that allows you to generate an output of energy where you’re not necessarily paddling hard, but you’re able to move super fast. It is the coolest feeling in the world. It is like the feeling a lot of surfers. I still enjoy SUP, but outrigger is my home.
Thanks Ryland! Good luck this weekend at the Pacific Paddle Games!
You may follow Ryland Hart on Instagram at: @rylandhart