Sunday, August 04, 2013

Life in the Ottawa Valley

Life is good

Big water bacon beat down Thursday, 8 ball Coliseum, Thunder Dome, speech night, Garb, McCoys, Push ups, competition Friday, the log game, break!!! It means only one thing... It's Keener Time. I have just taken two weeks off from training at the NOC to head north and spend sometime in the Ottawa Valley squirt boating, surfing waves and guest coach on the OKS Keener programme.

Keeners 2013

I've been invited up for the 2nd year in a row as a guest coach to share my knowledge of the rivers and freestyle and help develop these kids into safe and skilled paddlers. The OKS Keener Programme is one of the best whitewater coaching programmes for teens in the world. Based on the banks of the famous Ottawa river. The kids get the chance to paddle big water, surf awesome waves and be coached by world class paddlers everyday. 

Claire O sharing knowledge with a young Keener

Keeners take on the Log Jam
(photo by David Hughes)

Overseeing the Pour Over challenge

Clay Wright teaches river safety to the Keeners
(photo David Hughes)

Keeners creeking and safety training at Garvins

I arrived almost perfectly in time for a heat wave a nice change from the last week of storms rain. But the excessive heat (35 degrees + and 80 % humidity) brought with it its own problems and we had a few days of massive lightening and thunder storms, huge winds and even a Tornado which hit a local town. The water on the Ottawa is warm so it was great to be able to hit the water everyday in summer gear and really enjoy the summer boating. In two weeks I got to boat with some awesome young paddlers, catch up with some friends old and new and really enjoy life in the Ottawa Valley.

Loving life with Valley local and boating super star TC

Checking out the local cuisine... Sushi!!!

It was awesome being back in my squirt boat and being able to attend my first ever Jimi Cup competition. I got some good rides in training hitting a few 18sec + rides and hitting a 14 sec ride in the competition finishing 11th overall and beating the Jimi Cup women's record which was pretty cool. Clay Wright won the event with some massive rides including a 32 second ride taking the title from former Jimi Cup champion Stephen Wright.

It maybe a tiny boat but it definitely is awesome

Jimi Cup Gathering 2013

I'm now really looking forward to the Mystery Worlds and have discovered a few new skills that I need too work on over the next few weeks. Mainly holding my breath!!! and ... I need to figure out how to stay calm before an event. I'm used to getting pumped up and excited as I approach a big event and this definitely does not work for a mystery event where you need to stay calm and conserve energy and air and almost peace out as the whole goal is to spend as much time as possible under water. It turns out its really difficult to do a long mystery move when your hearts beating loads as your excited to go in for your rides!!! My coach Den taught me a few years ago that 'If you can control your breathing you can control everything.' In squirt boating mystery events this is so so ture.

Claire O dropping in for a mystery

Whilst up in the valley I also got chance to test out the new 2014 Rock Star. The new small wasn't quite ready yet so I jumped into a competition spec new medium and was amazed at how it handled. On a wave it was awesome; flying high, releasing well and retaining everything, I got some awesome rides hitting blunts, back blunts, flashbacks, pan am's, the occasional helix and even some airscrews. Then in a hole it looped massive and surprisingly, even though I was a little small in it, I could cartwheel, split wheels, mcnasty and almost tricky wu it too. I'm super excited to get hold of the small :)

I've been too busy to get photos of me in the New Rock Star
but heres Dane showing us how it well it works

As soon as my trip to Ottawa started it seemed to come to an end and i'm now back down at the NOC. Every day people are arriving and it now really feels like the build up stages to the big event. With less than 30 days to go its getting exciting. I now have the new small Rock star to test out, a routine to plan out and a maximum breath hold of only 45 seconds!!! Its time to train ;)