So it’s been a really long time since I wrote a blog post, mainly because it has been a HECTIC time of paddling! It has been one heck of a year, with a lot of up and downs so I thought I’d share my experiences.

The last post about my surfski training was back in December following the Deception Pass Dash, which was a fantastic race, and I completed it in a time I was pretty proud of in an Epic V8. After a decent hiatus for Christmas which included a quick jaunt across to the UK to surprise my mother, I started training again at the end of January in some beautiful but chilly conditions with a couple of SUPers. One huge reason for the jump start was that I had signed up for the Gorge Downwind Champs taking place in July – one of the biggest surfski races on this side of the States, and I mostly wanted to get into the best shape I could for the race.

Janaury surfski training

January was great – training felt good and despite a month or so not paddling, the cross training I had done in the gym, and cross country skiing, meant that I hadn’t lost too much fitness. However, snow started falling and it was hard to motivate myself to get out on the water when the mountains were calling. Luckily that wasn’t too hard to justify, and February passed with maybe just one or two sessions on the water but I continued to keep my fitness up.

Surfski training in February

March was pretty exciting and motivating, as we started a new training program which aimed to get paddlers in shape for the Indian Arm Challenge, a new race that we had scheduled for May 18th. The event was a ‘Challenge’ race as it is the longest race that we have ever run, a 32km paddle up to the end of Indian Arm, to Granite Falls, and back. Racers could complete it in a relay or solo, and our program was both on-land and on-water based. The on-land sessions took place at the fantastic Elevate Gym, and the on-water sessions in Deep Cove led by Wes Hammer and Bob Putnam.

Once race season at the beginning of April started, the on-water sessions also incorporated the races. This was an exhausting practice, and meant that races were way harder than they should have been, but after a month of consistent training it felt great to be hitting the ground running, and I for one was beating racers that I would never otherwise have been anywhere near!

Race results April 4 2017

My results really made it clear how valuable and effective consistent training is for performance (a ‘well, obviously’ moment, but still!!) and I’m pretty sure I surprised a few people with how great the start of my race season was. Whilst I couldn’t take part in the Indian Arm Challenge itself due to helping organise it, I completed all the training and did a couple of pretty lengthy paddles and felt like I could have raced had I been able to, and that I would have felt pretty good doing it too.

surfski training in march

Throughout the training time I was also paddling with various colleagues, friends and racers who all helped maintain the stoke, and offered advice and guidance along the way. I am grateful to all of you who paddled with me and encouraged me! I’ll write about the next part of the year next week – with news of what is to come to take me to the end of the year too…