Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for Slalom

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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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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Chasing a percentage?

I’ve now raced in 4 Premier division slaloms since gaining promotion in the summer, with my final race, the British Open, coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m still getting to grips with the challenges of Premier and my results have been between 36th  – 42nd .   Better than last place, but not setting [...]

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Is it worth doing dry land training for kayaking?

I’ve just spent two and a half weeks on holiday with my family, relaxing in the sun in Sardinia. This was the longest time I’ve spent off the water for well over a year, and a stark contrast to the previous few months when I was able to put in a solid training block that [...]

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