Monday, July 25, 2016

Kayakers are amazing

8 weeks ago I arrived in the USA ready to start my US freestyle tour. My first event was Lyons which meant I had a flight booked to Denver and to be totally honest that was about all. I had my gear and paddles and some clothes but for the first time in a awhile had not really worked out much of a plan from them.

As I bored my plan in Iceland it suddenly dawns on me I hadn't even arranged a pick up from the airport. In all the excitement of the European Championships and my Iceland stop over adventure I had completely forgotten to make any plans for the USA.

Luckily for me, Kayakers are amazing!

From the airport in Iceland I sent out a Facebook message and within minutes I had a pick up and a place to stay. 

Kayakers are amazing
Hojo and Mandy offered not only to drive and meet me at the airport, but also put me up for the night, took me out for breakfast and then drove me to Lyons. 

I arrived in Lyons well fed and rested to massive smiles and hugs from everyone. 

Awesome to see and paddle with Maria again after her maternity break
Coaching the Swedish juniors

I was then reunited with my kayak which had been transported from Eastern Canada last year after worlds all the way to the South West of America with a heap of my extra gear by the awesome Clay Wright. I was also reunited with my Paco Pad (a massive super comfy) sleeping camp mattress that had travelled across North America since May 2012 with Stephen Wright!

Clay cruising across the country with a whole loads of my gear

I signed up and registered for the event and met up with the organisers (the Parkers) who instantly found me a place to stay with a lovely kayaking family Teegan and Amy who lived only one block, a five walk, from the hole. 

Racing Slalom in a borrowed boat
I paddled all weekend and when the event was over it was time to go. This time Team Sweeden took me under there belt. They put me up in their house, fed me and gave me rides to paddle for the next few days as we hit up Golden White Water Park. 

Another cool Colorado town
Salida Action

Then mid afternoon Wednesday as I finished a session in the hole. In rolls Clay Wright in his big truck ready to pick me up and head to Glenwood Springs before the Go Pro Games in Vail. Before we leave we wait to meet another travelling kayaker. This time it's Rush Sturges who having just finished a Grand Canyon trip, got a lift in a private jet from some rafters from his trip, over to Golden had arrived a few days early and without a boat and paddle. (There's another good story to ask Rush about one day). So he too had just arrived in town with gear and on hearing this without any hesitation or delay Clay grabbed a boat and paddle out of his truck and handed it over to Rush so he could go play at the park and paddle the next few days before he got his pick up by Rafa and then we set of on our way.

Glenwood Springs

We arrived in Glenwood Springs and the story continues very much the same a combination of tales of generosity and all round paddling community awesomeness. On hearing we were in town the Palmers, who were at the time out of town, arranged to let us use their amazing river side house as a base for our stay. So we stayed comfy and warm and surf all night and day enjoying the river with so many others paddlers. Everyone happy, sharing the wave, stories, advice, kit and gear. The vibe was amazing so typical of that of the boating community as a whole. 

Sunset sessions
Running rivers and borrowing boats from the Kelloggs

The next two weeks I stayed with the Palmers, the Karlssons and Clay, In Vail I had open access to the hotel rooms of the Jackson, the Hojo's, the Hydes and the Angers all over looking the freestyle hole. I got rides with Clay, Magnus, Kat and Maria. I was even loaned a car to borrow by the Karlesons and Mandy and Hojo. I was driven and dropped off at various play holes, rivers, houses and hotels. I was fed watered, looked after, coached and supported by too many paddlers to list it really was unreal. But yet at the same time so normal.

Flying high reunited with my favourite boat in Vail
Chilling with the Palmers
Sometimes I am asked how am I able to live the life I do travelling the world and why I do what I do. Well my answer is simple really the kayaking world is incredible and it's the people the other Kayakers who make my life and adventure possible. Kayakers are amazing. 

Thank you to everyone who has and who continue to help me on my journey and make this incredible adventure, my life, possible. 

If you ever find yourself in Sydney, England or on the road around the world and I'm in town let me know. You never know I might be able to help you out with a boat, paddle, ride, bite to eat or place to stay or even just a paddling buddy.