Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for kayaking

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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Familiarity or mastery?

I had an interesting intersection of learning in work and paddling last week. My company, Performance1, hosted a workshop that explored what it means to work with the “millennial generation”. These are people aged in their 20s to early 30s now making up the majority of the workforce in many organisations. One of the characteristics [...]

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Effort vs Age

I’ve become increasingly aware of two countervailing forces in my paddling life.  On one side is the training effort that leads to improvement, on the other is the decline brought about by increasing age. This season it feels like a pretty even match between the two! I raced in 10 slaloms over my first full [...]

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Small change, big difference

I’ve had two beautiful paddling sessions at Lee Valley this weekend. 30 degrees, sunshine, whitewater and good vibes. It’s a welcome change from the long cold winter. Lee Valley has been my default paddling destination over the last few months. I decided not to go creek boating in Italy this spring, and also passed on [...]

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Re-learning old lessons

One of the curious things about human nature is that people (and I mean me) can be a bit slow to learn, despite being taught the same lesson time and time again. One of the lessons I keep having concerns the expectation trap. This is the way that expectations, even positive, seem to interfere with [...]

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We stand on the shoulders of giants

I was working with a young slalom paddler the other day and I mentioned the name Bill Endicott. “Bill who?” he replied. I was momentarily shocked, but then it dawned on me that there must be a whole generation of paddlers who aren’t familiar with Bill’s massive contribution to the sport. Just as Isaac Newton [...]

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2014 Slalom season over – winter training and some proper rivers

The 2014 slalom season is over. I had two goals, first of all to gain promotion to Premier Division (done) and second to race well and achieve my best result at the British Open. So how did I get on? If I look at the results of the British Open I should be content; after [...]

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