2018: Year of the Dog

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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

 

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

 

 

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!

sig angled

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!

sig angled