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Hi Everyone,

Things are good here in Africa! The Nile River is warm, big, and awesome! So far we have been training twice per day and filming each session. The sessions are about 2-3 hours long. We already have better video and photos for the new Star series than we have gotten since Christmas at home! The new boat is awesome! There is not comparable boat to the 2007 Stars!

Everyone is sore already with the sudden increase in the volume and intensity of paddling. Our goal will be to paddle as hard as we can without injuring ourselves. Usually this means 3 weeks really hard, then 1 week easy, then 1 week really hard before coming home.

Ruth Gordon shows up today. It will be fun to paddle with her here! She is awesome on big waves!

We are staying at the Hairy Lemon, an island on the Nile just downstream about a 5 minute paddle from the Nile Special and Club Wave. (both waves are named after local beers). We are staying in a 4 person “banda” which has a thatched roof, is screened in for mosquitos, and has a solar light, candles, and incense for mosquitos. We don’t have a generator yet, but should have one tomorrow. Sam, who is managing this island campground has been charging our batteries for us, but the internet still doesn’t work. I am not sure how they got it to work in the first place, but they have wireless. We are staying here on the cheap. $10 per person/per night, including 3 meals per day. We will pay another 20,000 shillings ($10) per day for our own generator, starting tomorrow, so we can capture and edit footage. It is hard so far with nobody to film, other than ourselves. Nobody wants to get out of the water to film! We have been setting the camera on a tripod.

We eat the same thing, (almost) every day three meals per day. They put out a pot of scrambled eggs, baked beans, coffee, and tortillas for breakfast. For Lunch they put out exactly the same thing, but with rice instead of eggs, and sometimes, some kind of stew to go on the rice. For dinner, it is pasta, with the same stew, and a salad. It is perfect for getting fit and trim! Paddle all day and eat the minimum amount of protein, carbs, and vegetables, along with drinking large quantities of water all day. It is hot here, and you get really hot on water, so you burn up the water quick. We need about a gallon per day. We have Gatorade but it will be gone in the first week.

This is an important time for me and Team JK. There are only so many times in someone’s year, or life, where you have the opportunity to become the best in the world at something. While I have been successful in becoming the best in the world at a variety of types of paddling, I have not had the opportunity to show off my big wave skills, and to be honest, I am not convinced that I would win the worlds if they were today. That is what training (and life) is about. Not coming by success easily, and no gaurentees for anything, but instead, having to come from behind to win. In 1993 I wasn’t even on the list of people who were likely to win and my hands were bleeding and my body broken by the time the event happened.

At the 2007 World Championships, which is exactly 55 days from now (20 days after I return from Africa), the opportunity to train super hard on Buseater before the worlds, may, or many not be possible. It is recommended to be fully prepared for the event before you show up. With that said, the Buseater wave is not an easy wave to compete on. It surges, flattens out, jacks up and crashes, and lets you go so big that you land hard and flush sometimes. Doing consistent rides on the bus is something that people haven’t practiced, or at least demonstrated. My goal while here in Africa is to have each move practiced and ready in ideal conditions (learn each move consistently, such as clean pan ams, flash back pan ams and blunts, airscrews both ways, helix both ways, blunt-nasties both ways, Mystery flips, clean blunts both ways, flip turns, etc.) After that, it is time to learn to throw the moves from any position, without the perfect set up. Right now you watch the paddlers here, including me, take 30+ seconds to set up one single move! With only 45 seconds per ride in the world championships- that won’t fly. It is a great thing to have to rush, in my opinion. Watching people set up forever, miss passes, try again, miss passes, and then, after 60 seconds, do one big move, doesn’t show the kind of skill that doing 5+ moves in 45 seconds shows. Tomorrow, I start practicing fast set ups, and throwing in non-ideal positions, as well as “super set up” (Sorry, I can’t divulge that one, it is my secret weapon and any of my competitors could figure it out if they really wanted to) I’ll teach anyone who asks, but no point in telling the world before I am good at it.

The residual effects of training like this are huge. My body is in full detox from alcohol, mental stress, coffee, lack of sun, all while getting used so hard that it responds by becoming a machine that can handle anything you throw at it. Also- once you have become the best at something, you can do it again, and you are starting from the top in your efforts, not somewhere in the middle. Whether it be designing boats, running Jackson Kayak, competing in events, or teaching clinics, knowing that you have put yourself through the paces, doing what few would be willing to do, you get a sense of confidence that you can do anything. It is the old, “the harder I work, the luckier I get” concept. I am not divulging this as bragging, because I am right at the beginning of this phase for 2007 and anything can happen. The one thing that I must do is to push hard and gain the momentum that comes from being focused on a singular goal. “Once you begin the mind grows heated, once you begin the task will be completed.” It isn’t the fact that we are on the Nile that is so special. Many people are here for months on end, but never make the jump. It only requires a specific goal, and a timeline to achieve it, because the days slip past so fast. I watch people do the same things every day, thinking they have months to paddle and learn new stuff, so it is “someday I’ll…” and Someday never comes. I don’t have a timeline yet, but will make one on Sunday. I wanted to clear my mind of the things that I have been working on at home, right to the moment the plane door closed, and begin thinking about my paddling, my kids, and team, and get my body broken in again. It seems funny that you can paddle almost every day at home and that doesn’t prepare you for having a full day to paddle everyday, on big water.

Harry Cox (yes that is his real name), is here from Nova Scotia. I have known him since 1997 and he is a cool dude. He is 57 years old, retired from an oil refinery and nuclear plant, and has been here for two months already. He says, “ you don’t stop paddling because you get old, you get old because you stop paddling”. Well, this guy lives by that motto and you know he is a good guy when he shows up in his new 2007 All-Star!

I also have my kids, and Nick, Stephen, and today, Ruth that I am here to help them achieve their paddling goals. Each one is different but it is time to slowly introduce each one to a way to become all they can be. With Nick being the #1 Canadian seed for senior men, and the winner of the 2007 World Cup for juniors, Emily getting 2nd in the senior women’s world cup and the #1 seed for US Junior women, and Dane getting 2nd in the 2007 World cup and the #1 seed in the USA for Junior men, and Stephen getting second in the 2007 World Cup (winning the first event), and Ruth winning the Canadian Team Trials and being the #1 seed, it is a stacked eddy when we paddle together. It would be improper for me to treat them as my students, unless they want me to. I am a student of Stephen and Nick when I am on the water everyday, and they of me. This makes it a fun training situation.

Well, it is time to review the video from today, and capture some of the better shots for the 2007 Promo video.