A crisis of confidence


I’ve lost sleep over my recent lack of ability in a ski. I’m guessing I was expecting to get a beginner/intermediate ski and just pick up from where I left off with my V8, but it’s not been a steady progression. If anything, it’s felt like a regression.

As you’ve seen, I got smashed in an unfamiliar but very stable boat at Bondi a few weeks ago. Then this weekend just gone, I got bounced around just outside Grotto Point so much I fell out eight times. Yep, eight. I know exactly how many because they’re all on video and no, I won’t be sharing them (too many swear words and this is G-rated blog ).;)

An underwater view I’m becoming familiar with again, but would happily not.

For the last 30 minutes of my paddle, I didn’t fall out, concentrated hard on technique and finished completely stuffed. In my mind though, I had failed. I was in that place that says,”you have no business being out there, certainly not on this ski”. I talked it through with my paddling buddy, and discussed just how crap I was feeling about every element of my paddling. That night I struggled to get to sleep going over in my head all the things I did wrong and doubting I’d be able to get back the mediocre, but fun, paddling level I’d enjoyed before.

But a funny thing happened – the universe in it’s infinite wisdom must have realised how ordinary I was feeling and sent me a few little pick me ups.

Stew O’Regan from Think Kayaks gave me a little pep talk and reminded me this was, to a degree, like starting over, except with a better understanding of the water and boat dynamics.

I forgot I had video of the whole paddle, so watched it back, and except for the choppy stuff, I actually didn’t do anywhere nearly as bad as thought, particularly on a challenging new ski (challenging for me that is).

Trying to get the hang of the chop.

My mates, bless them, have handed me the “quitter crown of shame” for pulling out at the 85km mark of the Hawkesbury Classic. They’ve now been ribbing me about falling out more than the most capsize prone of the Fat Paddler team, Grumm. Nothing like mates to make you feel good about yourself when you’re down – but it served its purpose as a gee-up to do better.

I also took delivery of the new book, Surfski with the Pros, which reminded me of few things I needed reminding of, all of which will lessen the likelihood of me falling out (at least as much as I have been). And they’re some really simple things that are easy to fix.

A reminder from the gods to be more “hard core” with my paddling!

And one last gem – I’m an athesist so don’t believe anything happens because a supreme being makes it so, but ocassionaly I’m given reason to question this conviction. The still from the video above popped into my viewer for about five seconds at the end of watching about an hour of footage. In that time I’d gone from feeling depressed about my paddling, to somewhere above “less than crap” on the crap-o-meter. Then at the end of a section of paddling where it had come together pretty well, despite the set backs of the previous hour and half’s paddling – this popped onto my screen. It didn’t even register while I was on the water. Something was trying to tell me to HTFU and be more “hard core” about my approach.

Everyone falls out at some stage – it’s how you get back on and continue that counts.

Cheers, Nat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *