Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for kayaking

Augsburg!

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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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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