Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for kayaking

Paddling in a pandemic

2020 has been a year like no other – at least in my lifetime. From a paddling perspective, I started the year with aspirations of maintaining my ranking in the UK slalom Premier division and a week paddling steep creeks in Val Sesia in May. I was raring to go having spent 6 weeks off [...]

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In search of a lost slalom course

I flew out to Slalom World Cup 4 last weekend in Markkleeburg in Germany in my role as sport psychologist with three British and Irish athletes. 30 years ago, such a trip would have been almost impossible, and not just because budget airlines didn’t exist, but because it would have meant travelling behind the ‘Iron [...]

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Ivrea – European Masters Games Slalom

The European Masters Games has been my main competitive focus since the World Masters Games in Auckland in 2017. Ivrea Canoa Club hosted a friendly yet professionally run slalom, welcoming over 70 competitors from across Europe, the US and Australia. I was delighted to come away with two gold medals, individually in the K1 55+ [...]

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I first became aware of the Augsburg slalom course watching the 1972 Olympics on TV, but this was before I’d ever thought of getting in a kayak. A few years later it made a much bigger impression, when I watched a 16 mm film about the 1975 (?) International slalom. By that time, I was [...]

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Classic Val Sesia

My mate Dean booked flights to Milan six months in advance, giving me plenty of time to commit to a long May weekend paddling Val Sesia. Many things can knock a trip like this off the rails – a family emergency, an important piece of work I can’t say no to, injury or illness – [...]

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Never take paddling for granted

Winter seems to be dragging on here in Britain, but I’ve been able to paddle and train regularly and now the first Premier slalom race is a little over a month away. I’ve focused on three key areas over the winter, and as always there’s still plenty for me to learn about this sport despite [...]

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World Masters Games, Auckland 2017; Dropping the weight of expectations.

The WMG have been my training focus for the last couple of years, and I’ve put in plenty of time and effort to prepare. It was a treat to be on the start line with world class paddlers like Peter Micheler, Vincent Fondeviole and Donald Johnstone. Off-water, the camaraderie of the Masters Games made it [...]

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Ready to Race – World Masters Games

Today I completed my last training session in preparation for the World Masters Games slalom. No more hard work on the water now, just rest and maybe some stretching before racing starts the day after tomorrow. It’s tempting to do more; after all the sun is shining, the Wero course is fun, and there’s a [...]

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“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

For many people, 2016 was not a great year. David Bowie died, Britain voted for Brexit and America voted for Donald Trump. It was also a disappointing year for me on the slalom circuit.  I failed to achieve my goal of improving my Premier division ranking to below my age (54) and instead dropped nine [...]

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Look through the gate

I was recently tackling short gate sequences on the two big drops at Lee Valley. These ‘feature moves’ are easy to get wrong, but they feel fantastic when you nail them, and require a precise combination of boat speed, angle and position.  Typically this involves coming down one side of the drop and surfing across [...]

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