Diary of a middle aged kayaker

What’s the psychological difference between qualifying and competing for a medal?

Winning an Olympic medal is never easy, and every athlete who makes a final to be in contention for a medal will have worked hard to get there through selection events, qualifying rounds and semi-finals.  Watching the 2012 canoe slalom qualifying heats over the last two days, I’ve been reminded that that for many athletes [...]

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What can you learn from an Olympian?

I turned up at Harefield last Sunday morning for a slalom session to find Campbell Walsh on the water already.  I know Campbell from my days working as sport psych with the GB slalom team.  Campbell won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and has an outstanding track record over the years. Despite narrowly [...]

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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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Game-over?

The selection trials for the British, US, and Czech Olympic teams all took place this weekend.  I’ve been down to Lea Valley to watch the second and third day of racing for GB selection– although it was essentially game-over after the second race.  Three wins in a row for Dave Florence (C1), Rich Hounslow (K1) [...]

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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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Feel the fear and do it anyway?

I’m just back from three days boating in Devon. It was a great trip with the usual suspects, and unusually there was enough water to provide entertainment on the Upper Dart, Erme, Tavy and East Lyn rivers. After a summer of slalom and regular paddling at Lea Valley I felt strong on the whitewater, which [...]

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