Diary of a middle aged kayaker

Archives for Slalom

The slalom season begins

Most of my recent paddling has been in a slalom boat, training at Lee Valley.  GB Canoeing has started twice weekly training sessions as part of its Olympic Legacy programme, and although this is targeted at young paddlers I’ve been able to join in.  As Paul Ratcliffe said, it’s about creating a healthy slalom ecosystem [...]

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Destination Ivrea – World Masters Games

2013 is shaping up to be a big year for me. For a start I turn 50 this month and that feels like a significant milestone.  It’s also a year in which the quadrennial World Master Games takes place, and there’s a slalom event at Ivrea in early August.   http://www.torino2013wmg.org  I decided a couple of [...]

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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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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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My slalom season in review

I’ve just completed my first full slalom racing season since leaving Tasmania in 1992. I set myself the target of competing in at least five Division 1 events, and if I count one ‘judges race’ at Bala I managed this. I was hoping to go to another three races, but work and family commitments ended [...]

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Slalom training then and now

I went for a slalom session at Harefield west of London today, meeting up with Craig Ayres.It was the first time I’d paddled with Craig for about six weeks, and it was good to be on the water with him again.We did a couple of courses between 30 and 40 seconds long, with about 8 [...]

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3 decades on

I paddled my first slalom session at the new Lea Valley Whitewater Centre last weekend. It was only my second time on the course, and a slalom K1 was a bit more challenging than paddling my creek boat during the assessment session the weekend before.After I’d been paddling for about an hour, Dave Florence got [...]

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