Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for Whitewater

Rules of the road – when slalom and plastic meet.

I was disturbed by a recent Facebook post from a paddling friend who said  “my session (at Lee Valley) today was completely ruined by the hoards of extremely selfish slalom paddlers..” an update that led to a long stream of comments about the difficulties of slalom paddlers and others sharing the same stretch of whitewater. [...]

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What does a coach do?

Over the last few months I’ve been training pretty regularly, paddling three or four times a week on top of daily circuit and cardio training.  My core training has been twice weekly coached sessions at Lee Valley. I’ve found it really useful to have the feedback and focus that comes from working with a coach. [...]

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Wet weekend in Dartmoor and the art of decisions

My paddling highlight so far for 2013 has been a wet and cold January weekend in Dartmoor. Paddling with a good crew, we managed three excellent rivers with good water levels. First up was the Upper Plym, a beautiful steep Grade 4 / 5 run that the guidebook calls the ‘jewel in the crown’ of [...]

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Re-building your confidence

I was prompted to write this after reading this blog post from Louise Jull, describing her experience of an injury on the Green River.  http://playak.com/news.php?idd=2129836684817 I wanted to write something that would be helpful for anyone in her situation – so I hope this is useful! Everyone knows that whitewater kayaking depends on your ability to [...]

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Road trip to Val Sesia and Ticino

8 Rivers with Dean, Andy, and (all the way from Tasmania) Harry. We spent five days in Val Sesia, to take in the Gene 17 Festival and paddle the classics, before heading east to Ticino in southern Switzerland for some new rivers.  We started with a couple of runs on the Sesia including the Gene [...]

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The force of habit

The weather in Britain has been cold and wet for a couple of weeks, and the only people not grumbling are paddlers who have appreciated the first Thames weir season for some 15 months.  I’ve managed three sessions at Hurley and one at Marsh weir. Last Sunday I was paddling and talking with Tim Ward, [...]

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Wilderness Journeys

Now that I live in the UK, one of the things I miss about Tasmania is the easy opportunity for a multi-day trip down a remote river.  Although parts of Scotland and Wales are pretty remote, there’s not the same sense of wilderness.  I think back to the three years between 1977 and 1979 when [...]

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Beginner’s mind

After kayaking for more than 35 years I don’t know whether to feel embarrassed or pleased that I’m still learning about paddling.  Zen Buddhism has the principle of ‘beginner’s mind’; which emphasises the importance of staying open to new experience and not letting arrogance or preconceptions get in the way.  So I guess on balance [...]

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Look out for the Tassie juniors!

On holiday earlier this month I returned to my old slalom-training course at the Broken Bridge on Tasmania’s Derwent River.  I joined in a session run by Peter Eckhardt and Dave Borojevic, long-time paddling friends who are doing a fantastic job coaching a new generation of enthusiastic and talented young slalom paddlers. Several of them [...]

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I thought I was immortal.

If you’ve not already read it, I strongly recommend reading this posting by Pat Keller on the Tribe Rider Facebook page.  It’s a great reminder of the need to grow your paddling abilities in line with experience, and not rush into bigger situations than you can handle. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=350583031637867&set=a.242093089153529.73955.242090492487122&type=1) It reminded me of a phase in [...]

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