Staying hydrated is very important in racing as well as training. Keeping your muscles fueled and hydrated is the key to being able to keep pushing, and to recovering faster.
Hydrating before a race is key, because you need to not only saturate your muscles with liquid, but also with electrolytes and other nutrients. The last thing you want to happen in the middle of the race is to cramp, because that is totally preventable.
It's also important to hydrate during practice to help with recovery. It honestly isn't hard to bring a little water bottle with you while you are training to drink from between pieces. Depending on what you're doing determines what you need to do. For example, if it's a 8 miles downwind, I might just bring a half filled VestPac to stay hydrated, or just stay hydrated before the race and not bring anything. If it's a flat hot SUP race, I'll definitely bring a full pack.
My rule of thumb is, if it's gonna be over 1hr definitely bring water, at least 1 liter. If it's over 1.5hr bring 2L. If it's gonna be less than an hour I usually don't bring a pack with me, or just a half pack.
What I like to do is to set my GPS to beep every mile, and when it beeps I usually take a sip if I haven't done so in a while, just to remind myself to keep drinking. Even while training, if it's hard sprints I'll bring a bottle filled with First Endurance EFS, if it's longer lower intensity pieces I'll just bring some water.
It is very important to stay hydrated, while doing any type of training, and you will definitely see the difference when you stay hydrated.
See you guys on the water...