What’s been happening lately
We are nearing the end of the domestic racing season. It’s been an interesting few months with some good training in the lead up to Christmas followed by our Wildwater National Championships.
It’s always difficult to be at your very best for the nationals, given that they are just after Christmas and during the new year’s period. You always have to 'behave' during the festive season and not overdo it! This can always be quite challenging from a social aspect, but the long-term gain is always what you've got to think about in these circumstances. For the national event this year we travelled to the Mitta Mitta and Goulbourn rivers in Victoria. It was here that I was able to secure the double national titles (sprint and classic). This was my tenth title and a good indicator of how I am performing leading up the events this coming year.
While it’s been a terribly dry summer, it hasn’t stopped Alex and I from putting in some good training to build a base for the tour ahead. Throughout this time, we have had a variety of surf ski and flatwater events to keep us race focused and building towards a common goal: being the very best we can be for May this year, which is when we will be heading over to Europe for the Wildwater World Cups and Championship races. This year the World Championship will be held in Muotathal, Switzerland and the Wold Cups will be held in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Celje, Slovenia, in that respective order.
Alex suffered some illness right before Christmas on a creeking trip to Sumatra and China. It set him back quite a bit but he still showed up and qualified himself comfortably for the Australian Wildwater team. Since then, he has been putting in some really good work, particularly on the surf ski which has really helped build up his strength again. It’s always a pretty simple philosophy: if you can move an 18kg ski through waves and chop, you’ll definitely be in good stead for when it’s time to start preparing in the 11kg composite Wildwater kayak.
Some highlights on my end have been qualifying for a few finals of the Ocean 6 surf ski events, which has resulted in me getting my mug on TV a few times. I’ve also been training hard in the flatwater kayak, which for me is the best way to tell gauge how I am paddling. There’s no hiding in flatwater, ultimately your results and times are a reflection of how much work you are putting in. I managed to win my semi-final of the K1 200m at the last regatta which helped secure a wildcard entry (had to go about it this way because of a close mates wedding that was on at the time of the final) for the national selection regatta.
Just recently we were lucky enough to host our good mate and 4x world champion, Maxime Richard of Belgium for the second time in as many years. Despite being a professional athlete since age 19 and having achieved what he has, he is a very down-to-earth bloke who is open to exchanging training ideas and helping us out. We had some great times training and hanging out, he really enjoyed the surf ski and beach lifestyle that we are lucky enough to enjoy throughout the summer.
Looking forward, we have the Australian Titles for Surf Life Saving, then we go into our last training block before heading off to Europe for the international Wildwater season!