As I write this update I am just a few short days away from a goal I have been training really hard for for the past 3 months, Great Britain Freestyle Kayak Team Trials, which is a two day event taking place feb 28/march1. Over the course of two competitions the best five men (top 5 overall after both comps) will be selected to compete at the Freestyle Kayak World Championships at Garberator wave on the Ottawa River this august.
Now needless to say that having spent the major part of my last three years living on the Ottawa, and with lots of my friends out there making their own nations team I REALLY REALLY want to get one of those places. As with every year competition here is tough, so I have dedicated the entirety of my time since December working toward team trials, studying the scoring system, previous results and planning out what I needed to do. I set about polishing tricks I could do already like the clean blunt and learning a host of new tricks like Helix (both ways) back pan ams, pan ams, revert-clean blunts and more.
With just a few days left to go I am feeling an odd mixture of emotions from very high excitement levels, right through to overwhelming nervousness. In my quest to abate this nervousness, I asked my friend and multiple world champion Claire O’Hara for any tips to prepare and she said something which truly changed my outlook on the whole situation. She basically said “with all the preparation you’ve done and everything you have learned it doesn’t matter what happens on the day because you have already become a better paddler moving forward”. Reading that made stop and think for a second. I compared myself today to where I was as recently as last November and the progress i’ve made is really amazing.
Stopping to take stock of your progress is something I probably don’t do often enough but knowing that I have made such a great progress in a relatively short period is a good feeling and incredibly calming. That is not to say I don’t care about the outcome but it is a great reminder that the last few months has not been time wasted. More recently I have been fighting with muscle strains and tendonitis so hopefully it all pans out on the day, I guess watch this space to see if I make the team or not but whatever way I am happy that I head back to Canada in April as a much stronger freestyle paddler.
Check out a little sneak preview of what I have been working on up until straining a muscle in my shoulder. Hopefully it gets better in time for the event.