Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 - Another amazing year

As I start to reflect on the last 12 months and plan for 2015 i'm excited that I will be spending a large chunk of next year training with my coach Den at some of the most amazing venues around the world and as I sit here putting together my 2014 wrap up video I have been reminded of some of the huge progress I have made with Dens help during this year.

Hitting a sweet entry move  (photo by Pete Astles PeakUK)

I last trained on the water with Den in October and wrote an article I would really like to share with you all. It really reminds me how lucky I am to have the incredible support of Den and the rest of my training team around the world.

Den setting up the camera as we train on the White Nile

'Nice... now link it to a Loop!' 

These are words i'm becoming all to familiar with after training with Den for the past 5 years.

Den is one of the reasons why I am, where I am, now. Ever since we started training together back in 2009 he has raised the bar and set the standards for me, above and beyond, what I and most others thought possible. Over the years with his guidance, support and expert coaching he has take me on a journey towards achieving and surpassing many of my goals. As part of the process every few months we visit and reflect on our progression and development and on many occasion have to resist, raise and reset the bar again with newer, harder more ambitious goals.

Working out the Tricky Wu (photo by Wendy Robinson)

Last March, we spent a month training together. Our goal to improve my Space Godzilla and Phoenix's, to learn the Tricky Wu and Lunar Orbit and to work towards a 1,000 point run. A few days into training and I had already hit my first Tricky Wu right. 'Nice, now link it to a loop!' are the words I remember hearing him say as I celebrated the success. I remember thinking, in fact I think I said it. 'What, I only just got the tricky!' 'I know' Den said 'Now its time to link it to a loop.' Before I knew it I had thrown Loops linked to Tricky Wus, Splits linked to Tricky Wus, numerous Tricky Wu's right and the occasional Tricky Wu left. Space Godzillas left and right, Phoenixs left and right and eventually one Lunar left. Again I remember on our last training session together hitting the Lunar left, looking up, celebrating, smiling with Den and hearing him say once again, 'Nice, now link it to a Loop!'

Putting together the final end of the Tricky Wu (photo by Malcolm)

A year later and we have just spent another week training together again. Our goal again to improve my Tricky Wu's and Lunar Orbits, to start working on new combos and links and to generate a wider move base with the goal of that 1,000 point ride. Day 2. I'm stoked I just hit my first Tricky linked to Loop right. I look to Den, I smile and celebrate. He smiles, nods and then says... 'Nice, now link it to a space!

Flying high (photo by Pete Astles PeakUK)

Theres always more to learn (photo by Pete Astles PeakUK)

I've said time and time again how much difference working with a coach makes. That coach may be a professional, it may be a friend, it maybe a dad, mum, brother, sister or it may just be a video camera and yourself. Whoever that coach is they will help you massively. They will keep you focused, help you train 'smart' and will encourage, support and drive you to 'raise the bar' and be the best you can be, and often even more than that.

Being a coach is not always easy

Den swimming in to coach me at the Mystery Worlds

A week on and i've now got a whole load of new moves. I've hit Tricky Wu's left and right, Lunars left and right, Lunars (with Back Loop finishes) both left and right, Mczillas left and right, super clean Loops, clean Mcnastys, Back Loops linked to Mcnastys, Loops linked to Space Godzillas, Trickys linked to Loops, Lunars linked to Loops, Loop linked to Mcnastys, Splits linked to Phoenixs, Loop linked to Tricky Wus.... The list goes on and each time I get one I smile, celebrate, look up and here the words...

'Nice now link it to a ….' :) or 'right then, its time to get that 1,000 point ride'.

It takes a team to make an athlete

Thank you Den for being an awesome inspiration, friend and coach.

Celebrating winning the worlds with Den by my side 

Heres a short video of some of what we've been up to and some of the crazy named tricks i've mentioned above and my 820+ point ride from the Reno River Festival earlier this year.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Live Interview on Radio Yorkshire

Wow what a day. Two sports award nominations in one day. I just found out live on air that I have also been nominated and shortlisted for the Radio Yorkshire Sports Personality of the Year awards. Feeling super lucky to have so much support from back home and around the world and to be representing the sport of kayaking against top athletes from a whole range of other sports including Kevin Sinfield (RFL) and the Brownlee brothers (Triathlon).

If you get chance and don't mind please share this link and vote here…

Here is the video of my live interview. I couldn't make it into the studio so Skype called in from the Olympic Park Sydney, Australia.

Monday, December 01, 2014

CLAIRE OHARA (Great Britain) - Nominee for the 'Paddlesport Professional' Award

I'm super lucky and honoured to have been nominated and shortlisted for the World Paddle Awards Paddle Sport Professional Award. Check out the World Paddle Awards website to find out more about the awards and the athletes involved. If you would like to vote for me please vote by liking the Facebook tag and tweet tag at the bottom of my nomination page. Massive thanks to you all for the nomination and support.