2018: Year of the Dog

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Bongo

2018 has arrived! It is raining in California, which hopefully means my brown grass will change to a nice shade of green. And more importantly, that NW wind will start blowing so that I can do some downwinds!

2017 went by in a flash, and I have sadly realized that the older I get, the faster time flies. Staying focused these days is tougher than ever, the addictive nature of social media and the increased access to information seems to derail any well planned day!

Leaving behind the rigidity of an Olympic Training Schedule, and having the “freedom” of working for myself again, has definitely tested my self restraint and discipline in new ways.

My 2018 resolution is to have more “real” time, face-to-face conversations, genuine friendships and be more resistant to distractions.

Mostly just be better than I was yesterday!

Some highlights of the past year:IMG_20171208_111313.jpgOpening a new business – Paddle California, which aims to spread the stoke of surfski by growing paddling sports in California, and around the world! We aim to achieve this through world class coaching and education,  laying the foundations of great technique for beginners, and providing the worlds best (and self-tested & approved) equipment. We are the West Coast importers for Nelo, and a total highlight was exceeding our hopes by bringing in 3 containers for 2017!

Visiting Yosemite for my birthday 🙂

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Seeing the Florida Keys (and enjoying a couple days off after some Olympic Presentations and Coaching Workshops).

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Being back in my home country South Africa for the Canoe Marathon World Champs (not our best race but always good to line up with the fastest in the world). And of course seeing our buddy Jenny Egan go on to win a medal! Been training with her since she a lightee!

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Taking Maggie down her first river (my favourite river in the world – the Fish!)

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And of course doing a few Miller’s Runs (with all the internationals post-marathon worlds).

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Paddle California got a VAN! Spent many hours fixing it up to be the perfect mobile office/delivery vehicle and of course surf trip camper!

And finally, went to Hong Kong for the ICF Surfski World Champs. Not my best day out, battled in the flat water (the wind did not come through as hoped) and never really felt good. The wind came through the next day for possibly one of the best downwind competitions for the men’s race, kind of felt a little (LOT!) cheated by the weather gods! After missing 6 months of water time with a torn tendon, my base was only really starting to come back, but definitely needed the downwind if I was ever to be in contention. A bittersweet end to the year’s racing.

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Looking back is always fun and it reminds me of how fortunate I am to live this life. I am super excited about 2018, and all the fantastic plans we have for Paddle California and some last gasp racing related travel planned!

Thanks for reading and all the best for 2018!

sig angled

 

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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,

sig angled