Monday, April 28, 2008

Mark Birkbeck

I have been fortunate enough this year to receive support from a lot of people in helping me in my training. One of the biggest assets has been the addition of former World Junior Freestyle Champion Mark Birkbeck to my support team.

Mark has taken on the job as being my freestyle coach. Traveling from Kent to Nottingham to help me with my training, Mark is working with me on all aspects of my paddling development. Preparing and training me to be my best in time for the forth coming competitions and ultimately the Worlds.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New Freestyle Kayak… Jackson Star

Time for a change, this year I will be competing in a new kayak, a Jackson Star. I have had a fantastic time training and competing in my Riot Flair over the last two years but am now ready for a new challenge.

Thank you to Pete Astles and PeakUK for providing me with my Riot boats for the last two years and a big thank you to Big Aaron and Square Rock who will now be supporting me with my freestyle kayaks for the forthcoming season.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

GB Team Training

Official British team training for the Europeans began in March and since then GB Team Coach Pete Catterall has already been putting us through our paces in a bid to get us to perform at our best ready for the competitions ahead.

World Champion Squirt Boater Ben White has been working with the Squirt Boat team with specific squirt boating training sessions ensuring we have full understanding of the sport and the moves to increase our chance of success.

Friday, April 25, 2008

International Squirt Gathering, France

My first international training trip this year took place at the end of April on the Chesserac Gorge in France. I flew out to the ‘Downtime’ International Squirt Gathering with 13 British squirt boaters to join one French squirt boater at what is by far Europe’s best squirt boating location.

The aim of the weekend was to improve my mystery moves, the move where a squirt boater disappears below the surface of the river traveling with the flow, underwater, for as long as possible before resurfacing smoothly and elegantly.

At approx 2.5m under the rivers surface, having been there for over 9 seconds, I found myself hitting the up button and resurfacing fast. I had once again ran out of breath.

Over the weekend I accomplished my aim and mastered the mystery move properly for the first time in nearly two years of trying.

It was a fantastic trip. It was amazing watching Ben White, Dave Savage and Dan Smurf some of Europes top ‘Mystery Move Specialist’ hitting the bottom of the river almost 4m deep and staying their for over 25 seconds. Insane.

Information, photos and videos on the squirt boat gatherings can be found on as can details for next years trip.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Level 5 Coach Development

As part of my ongoing professional development I spent the week at Plas y Brenin in April on the BCU Level 5 Inland Kayak Coach Training course. The course was fantastic and delivered by a very strong team of highly experienced and qualified instructors. I am now an Aspirant Level 5 Kayak coach.

As an aspirant Level 5 coach I will over the next 2 -3 years, be working with my mentors Dino Heald (Plas y Brenin) and Nigel ‘Wilf’ Wilford (Coach2O) towards the Coach Level 5 Assessment.

As part of this process I will be working with a number of long term students and will be designing and delivering a Youth River Skills Series which will run alongside the Youth Freestyle Series.

Pursuing my coach Level 5 qualification, helping with top end paddler development, continually developing my coaching knowledge and delivering coach education are all areas in which I have great interest.

I hope in the not so distant future to become a multi discipline level 5 coach and continue to work at coaching top level paddle sport.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Peak Potential

It was at this event that My Peak Potential offered to help me with my training at their exclusive site in Bavaria, Germany.

I will be traveling out with Leeds Met University in June to start training with their top instructors.

Visit their website to find out more about what they do and what they can offer to you.

I will keep you updated on my training developments.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

2008 The year so far….

2008 is already turning into a great year. A combination of lots training, trips abroad, work and events have seen the last 4 months fly by. With so much more ahead the reality is things have only just begun.

I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped to make 2007 such a successful and enjoyable year. Big thank you to my family, friends, coaches and sponsors without them my success would not have been possible.

A special thank you has to go to my Mum, Dad, Nan and Grandad. Pete Catterall, Ben White, Chris Jones and everyone involved in coaching and supporting the GB Freestyle Team. My sponsors Pete Astles & PeakUK, Mark Robinson & Leeds Metropolitian University, Dave Savage & Downtime kayaks, Lance Mitchell & Mitchell Blades, Andrew & Elemental Ideas and Aaron and Rick & Robinhood Watersports. Your continued support has been exceptional. Thank you.