Winter is coming…

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Well that was a long break from posting!

I actually changed my cellphone number, and forgot to change it on WordPress, effectively blocking myself out of my own website…

The year sure has flown by. I have so much to be thankful for. After the excitement and intensity of the Rio Olympics, I took a few months to travel – in South Africa – and used the time to set up my next venture – Paddle California.

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I started the business just over a year ago with Maggie Hogan, who I had the privilege to coach leading into Rio. Our main goal through Paddle California is to bring the stoke of paddle sports to more people. California, and in particular, Southern California where I am now based, has so much water opportunity, and to see the sport grow here would be awesome! With LA2028 around the corner, there is a lot of good vibes around bringing the Games back to the area, and SoCal is the perfect place to train year-round.

We are the West Coast dealers for Nelo (world class kayaks, canoes and surfskis), Knysna Racing Paddles, Gara Racing Paddles, Mocke Paddling gear, Downwind gear, Vaaka and Funky Pants. We also coach both in person at our Paddling Workshops, from our home base in SoCal, and via our remote Online Training Plans. We have a few exciting ideas in the pipeline, so watch this space!

Check out www.paddlecal.com for more info.

We also started a surfski school program out of the Newport Aquatic Center, and are loving introducing new people to the sport!

After a 6 month break dealing with an elbow injury, I have managed to get some training going again, and my main race for the year being the ICF Surfski Worlds in Hong Kong in late November.

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Thanks for following, and be sure to check out our Facebook page to see training tips and more 🙂

See you on the water,

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Injury Management

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I mentioned in my last post that “The symptoms of my injury, and the warning signs were there ages ago. I chose to ignore them..” Let me elaborate. My symptoms early on (and hence warning signs) were exceptionally tight pectoral and anterior neck muscles (chest and the front of my neck), a bit of shoulder pain, and a burning pain across the back of my neck.

I stretched my chest and neck, saw the chiropractor to have my neck adjusted, and stopped during a lot of my long sessions to stretch. So “ignoring” was maybe a strong word. I didn’t ignore them, I just treated them. The symptoms. And they subsided. Slightly.

Besides all my athletes, I also coach myself, and I have found that my performance has improved since I took on “HeadCoach” position. No one knows your body like you do. I get as much input from other professionals as possible, but on the whole, I design my programs and sessions. And I think it works. Except when it comes to over-training and injuries. It’s really hard to tell when you have done too much, or need a change, or need to STOP. You sometimes need an objective view for this.

Back to treating the symptoms. Training for Berg and doing many 2-4 hour paddles, the neck pain would start after about an hour of paddling and only feel better when I stopped and stretched it. When I did more quality work, harder intervals and such, its presence was happily missed. The main difference between my cruise mode and speed mode is my technique. I feel that my technique is better when I sprint, and therefore my posture in the boat is too.

All paddlers are guilty of this, when at cruising speed, to slouch a bit, head leaning forward, and shoulders rounded. Stop, sit up, and open up that chest. Changing your technique when you paddle, and holding a better posture will make huge differences to your overall chances of picking up an injury, and, in the long run, make you go faster!

Don’t forget about your posture when sitting at your desk, texting/bbm’ing on your phone, watching TV and driving. It all counts!

I am spending a lot of time working on some basic movement skills, because imagine how strong my specialised skills are going to be, once my basics are at optimal again! I am also spending some time on increasing my shoulder mobility and stability.

I am very excited about 2012, and the very cool opportunities it has in store.