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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Stoked!

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Along with some pretty incredible people, I have been nominated for a World Paddle Award in the Foundation category. You can find out more by clicking on the logo above, and you can also vote for me, or any of the amazing nominees, by clicking the Facebook “like” button or the big “thumb’s up” at the end of the article.

The voting ends on November 20th, and the winners get to attend the awards ceremony in Portugal in February next year. The World Paddle Awards (WPA) is a fantastic concept and the event is held annually, “celebrating the most remarkable men and women from the world of paddlesports along with their achievements from the previous calendar year.” Click on the image below to find out more about the WPA.

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Since the Olympics has come and gone, I have been hard at work setting up the next exciting venture. Our business Paddle California, which also has MultiCoach operating under the PC umbrella, has some fantastic offerings in the works. More on that to follow.

Here is a post I wrote about the incredible women of Team USA at the Rio Games, which makes for an interesting read! (click on image below)rio-blog2-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am in South Africa at the moment. So fantastic to be home, especially with the craziness of Spring. Been a while since I was home this time of year, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Out with an injury, so unfortunately missing out of all the great races I planned on doing (Fish, Pete Marlin, Cape Point Challenge etc) but glad I am here where I have some great rehab people!

I forgot how good the food here is, and am having to do a LOT of trail running to keep the balance 🙂

Thanks for reading, happy paddling!

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Going Full Circle, 11 days to go – Rio Olympic Games, & some SurfSki updates

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In 11 days time, I will be attending my 3rd Olympic Games. I am super stoked to have come full circle, after competing in 2008 for South Africa in the Women’s K4 and K2 events (making the final in the K4) and then being in London with Bridgitte Hartley (my K2 partner from Beijing, I helped her by being a training partner in the lead-up to London 2012 where she medalled in the WK1 500m event) and now going into the Rio Olympics as Team USA Olympic Coach to my athlete, Maggie Hogan.

It’s kind of cool seeing the sport from so many different angles, and I am very excited about this next phase of my career. It’s 11 days until the opening ceremony, and we have a lot going on before then!

I was just in Portugal (possibly my favorite country!) I was just recovering from my jetlag (we were there in June for the 3rd Canoe Sprint World Cup – where Maggie got a silver medal in the 5k) and all of a sardine-tin found myself back on a plane heading across the globe.

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Maggie silver medal World cup 3 WK1 5000m (please note my Rio themed-board shorts!)

I can’t say I was upset at having to return to Portugal… Great wine, pastel de natas and cooking downwind! The Nelo Summer Challenge is one of the best events on the World Series, and is also an ICF World Cup race.

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Thanks Macca Hynard for the cool photo!

As usual, Andre, Marisa and all their team staff put on a spectacular event. The wind delivered and we had great conditions for racing.

Schoogirl error on my part cost me my 5th NSC title, as I casually jogged up to the finish line not realizing that Angie Mouden had caught up to me as I played it cautious through the surf zone. Great race Angie, and good to see some younger talent coming through.

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I managed to sneak a last-minute trip to Hood River for the Gorge Downwind Champs. Strangest thing, doing a downwind on a river! A lot of fun, and we caught a good day of cracking wind on Thursday and again on Saturday. Unfortunately race day (Friday) was pretty flat, and didn’t quite go how I would have liked. Teneale Hatton showed her strength on the flatwater to paddle away from the women’s field to take the win. Great to see so many good female paddlers from all over the world taking part (NZ, Australia, Spain and USA).

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Yes, those are Zebra print paddling pants! (Slipins)

The whole team behind the event, led by Energizer Bunny Carter Johnson, put on a great few days. Seamless downwinds with a daily, repeating shuttle, a beer garden, and great food all made for a fun break!

And now the countdown begins, we leave in a week, and I am very excited about being a part of one of the largest and most successful Olympic teams in the world. (Underneath my Team USA t-shirt my blood is green, and I am also super excited about seeing my other team mates go out and perform on the world’s greatest sporting stage!)

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Go Team USA & Team South Africa!

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North American Surfski Cup

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These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel!
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I left Oklahoma City with Team USA to travel to Toronto for the Pan American Games on July 5th. With a relatively small team to look after, I still had my hands full.

It’s been an adjustment to move to “the other side”, but in a way it is a lot more rewarding looking after others than yourself, and I am fully enjoying the transition on the sprint side.

My multi-tasking skills are improving too, as noted by above photo taken while cycling, timing and coaching!
I unfortunately missed the 1st of the surfski races, the Canadian Champs, and instead headed straight to Hood River for the Gorge Downwind Festival to race 2 events – the North American Championships and the Wild Side Relay.

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What an amazing venue for a race (or a holiday!) The river is warm, and the wind blew every day. It’s a strange sensation to be doing a downwind, on a river, against the flow, and in fresh water!

I had a great race, taking the lead about 2km in. Teneale Hatton (NZ) took a shallower line, and was a little behind me most of the way. I hit the last 3km, the wind died a little, and the runs went flat. Having the world’s fastest 1000m paddler hunting you down is a little daunting, and with about 1km to go she caught and passed me! Well done Teneale!

Here is a video taken by Carter of the last few flat and grindy km’s. (Thanks for the video, and the shouts of encouragement!)

The whole event was put on by Carter Johnson, who did an amazing job! From the crazy bus to shuttle us to a downwind every day, to the great food and beer, I can’t think of a reason to ever miss this event! Carter had a super team of helpers, including the wave-queen, Judy Jensen, and a number of volunteers. The event was in aid of Rivers for Change (http://www.riversforchange.org/)
The standard of the women’s event was nice and high, with some internationals making the trip out, including 2 Kiwi’s (Teneale and Rachel), an Aussie (Rowy), a South African (Samantha) as well as some local US Paddlers (Maggie). There is nothing better than seeing growth not only in numbers but depth of talent too! Let’s keep the momentum girls!

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Women’s Podium

On the 2nd last day, I teamed up with Maggie Hogan to do the Wild Side Relay, which consisted of 4 legs of roughly 8-10km each. The second leg I did took me through some of the best runs I had all week, in a section called Swell City! A great concept for a race, and one of the few events that utilized their wind window. Unfortunately I left Maggie with the last leg, a real slog with no wind! She pulled through and managed just fine though!

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Downwind Transport

Race 2: The US SurfSki Champs

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After spending a few days in San Diego at the USA Canoe Kayak Sprint Nationals, put on by the San Diego Canoe Kayak Team (well done Cathy and your team!), I flew into San Fransisco on Saturday morning, ready for some Golden Gate action!

Unfortunately no real wind at the start, although it was sunny and hot! Can’t have it all right? Teneale rocketed off the start line, showing us how it is done!
The current was crazy as usual, and I am not sure if my line was correct. Once under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, we went South of Alcatraz, for the first time since I’ve done this race. The runs were fantastic around the island, followed by a bit of a flat spot.
Once through that section, it was runs all the way into Berkley. I seemed to be gaining on Teneale, but she was just too strong for me to catch her!

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The women’s field again nice and solid, with Rachel in 3rd, Maggie in 4th and Rowy in 5th.
Full results here:
Next up is the Nelo Summer Challenge followed by the 2nd ICF World Champs in Tahiti. With the rest of the world going, it’s looking like it will be one epic race!
See you on the water,
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cold weather paddling

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“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
Carl Reiner

Leading up to the US SurfSki Champs in August, Pat Langley of Vaikobi was so kind as to send me a pair of the V Cold Paddle Pants.

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I remember as a kid being able to surf for hours in just boardies, but somehow as I’ve got older, there seem to be an increasing about of thermal tops being added to my paddling gear collection.

V_ColdPaddlePant_Rside_largeHere is a quick review on the V Cold Paddling Pant:

I pulled them on for the first time on a reasonably chilly and windy day, and immediately felt the warm factor. I took this as a great sign, and by the time we had hopped on the water for a quick downwind run from Fort Baker to Berkeley, I was looking forward to the cool water.

If anyone has paddled in San Francisco they will know that the water is always pretty cold. As Mark Twain said “The best winter you’ll ever have is summer in San Francisco!” The pants kept me nice and toasty, and even though I went pretty hard in the paddle, I never over-heated. The breath-ability and temperature management systems of the pants works a charm.

They were surprisingly comfortable, as I was expecting the neoprene to cause a bit of resistance to movement in the seat as I rotated with the paddle stroke, but the cleverly designed panels of different material make these pants fantastic with regards to range of motion. They are pretty stretchy and the low front and high back is perfect for a seated sport like surfski. (I also like the blue seam lines effect-no chafing and make the pants look pretty cool too).

All in all, these are now my favourite pants to paddle in. With winter settling in properly in Oklahoma City, they are coming in handy in my K1 as well.

As it’s said – “there’s no such thing as cold weather, just poor gear”! Click on the logo below or the images of the pants above to go to the Vaikobi website to find out more.

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