Amy’s Year – finding the fun for paddling again

capoNews, Reviews

After two nerve racking high water trips with friend’s in 2012, Amy asked for some performance coaching from Gene17 in Devon last autumn. We focused on paddle placement with an active blade when running drops, plus modern tactics for steep creeking. Amy joined us in Valsesia for more Steep Creeking during this spring and recently on the Valldal Road trip in Norway. Here’s her recent account on being coached by Gene17kayaking.

I told myself that there was once a time when I got up in the morning and my first thought was to get my boat and find a river, I loved it, and couldn’t get enough of it! I wanted to get that back but I found that I needed help to get myself back to that point as I was struggling to do it on my own. I was scared of new rivers, worried what was around each corner, what would happen if I messed up and swam into the unknown, and as much as my friends would try and help me I was just going backwards and my love for the sport was fading away.

Amy on Hugo's Hole Middle Sesia

I made the choice to do something about it, and spoke with Simon at Gene17 to arrange a day on a local river that I knew well. Simon knew of my experiences and knew how he could build me back up again and get the most out of me on the river, without pushing me too much beyond my comfort zone. After taking all of the help and advice away I decided that I would like to return to a previous kayaking destination and see if I could manage to run some of things that I had walked away from the previous year, but this time I would book with Gene17 and see if they could help me out.

From the moment I arrived in Italy the guys made me feel comfortable and at ease with the group I would be paddling with. The first day was nerve racking to say the least! But I listened, and followed and learnt. I recall a rapid on the first day that I was very apprehensive about running, but having discussed it and looked at it (at least 10 times!) I decided that it was now or never, I felt safe with Simon and Jakub, I knew they wouldn’t let me to come to any harm and wouldn’t let me run something I wasn’t capable of doing…. The joy I felt when I got to the bottom eddy was immense! I remember an outburst of ‘I knew it! I knew I could do it! I knew it!!’ faced with funny looks I just carried on paddling with the biggest smile on my face!

Amy on the Upper Valldola last drop

This was the start of everything for me, my return to the fun of paddling! Carrying on from this confidence I entered the Gene17 race the following week and I ran it with the biggest smile, I would never have even run the river before, let alone raced it!

After returning from Italy I only had one thing on my mind, when can I get my next paddling fix! I saw that Gene17 was running a road trip in Norway, and having sworn 12 months ago that I never wanted to paddle there again, I booked it. This was the best paddling decision I have made since the decision 5 years ago to start paddling. The coaches on the course in Norway were fantastic, so patient, so knowledgeable, and so friendly. On certain sections of the river I was told a particular line, and I knew they had the faith in my paddling to go for the line, and make it, without hesitation. And the highlight of the trip was Jakub allowing me to lead the whole group on the last day, it was such an amazing feeling and I have never been so sad to get to the end of a river…

Boofin' on the Laagen Canyon, Norway

I have had two amazing trips with Gene17 this year, their techniques for river guiding and coaching, and off the water socialising are great. Now I just need to decide on the next adventure, which, without hesitation will be booked with them, the options are now endless…

In the image just above, Amy shows great paddle placement, perfect torso rotation and the mind set to deliver a wonderful boof. We’re stroked for Amy and her paddling. If your paddling needs a performance upgrade, or you are coming back from an injury or time out from paddling and need help or you just wish to be as flash as Amy, contact us