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Icy Water Training- wintertime workout

It is a little cold outside but 2013 training has begun! Even with the winter weather in Idaho January 7 marks 74 days until USA Surf Kayak Team Trials at the Santa Cruz Paddle Fest. In just109 days the Freestyle Team Trials at the Natahala Outdoor Center will commence and a mere 182 days until the World Championships for Surf Kayaking kick off in Australia. Those numbers signal the start of training for 2013!

Training in January and February in Idaho is a little challenging, as it is often too cold to go boating. I have had to find ways to cross-train so I am physically and mentally ready for the season. I hope some of my cold weather workouts will help you be ready for spring run off. I have found that skate skiing and playing hockey helps to keep my arms, shoulders, lats, & legs in shape. I have a morning routine for stretching and stomach exercises. Having a strong core is a huge advantage in paddling. It is much easier to hold your boat on edge if you have conditioned your stomach muscles to hold that position in off water training. When I am paddling I practice isolating each stomach muscle on different moves. Then I work on holding that position and isolating that muscle in my morning stomach routine. *If the river is already frozen in your area you can bring your kayak inside to mimic paddling to help you pinpoint the muscle groups to strengthen in your routine.

For my mental side of paddling I watch videos while stretching and rehearse the moves I know I will be using a lot in my freestyle competitions. It goes like this, “right-left split, left-right split, felix right, felix left, loop with a strong kick, orbit to finish with CW end. Repeat.” I move slightly while picturing the moves over and over in my head. I have yet to master the lunar orbit. It is an orbit with a cartwheel end to finish the move. I am doing as much mental practice as I can on this move. *Using imagery for rolling and bracing will help turn your pool roll into a bomber whitewater roll.

In surf kayaking I have been working a lot on my top & bottom turns by staying high on the wave face. I have a tendency to do too deep of a bottom turn, lose my speed, and have to scramble to avoid a wipe out. I have been working on staying high on the wave face by taking smaller turns. Then, coming back on a deep turn to bank off the pile. Luckily, my friend Steve Farthing sends a kayak surf video from Australia almost every day. I am lucky to see the surf in Australia and to have a great mental picture to help my training.

On the warmer days we have creeking on the North Fork of the Payette and surfing on the Salmon River in Riggins. I jump at any chance to go paddling. Many of my friends live in Boise where it is much warmer than McCall. They are always ready to go paddling, as it is nice and warm outside at their homes. If they call, we meet on the North Fork of Payette to paddle. Sometimes, like on January 2, I will have friends call like Will Stauffer-Norris who don’t mind braving the cold for surfing! It was pretty cold paddling but was a great start for 2013. Will captured some great photos from surfing the Mill Wave in Riggins, Idaho.

March 10 brings Daylight savings time and warmer weather. It will be an all out push from the first of March to get as much training in for my spring events as possible. In the meantime I’ll dream of kayaking, visual kayaking, and conditioning myself to be in the best shape possible for the 2013 season. I hope these icy water tips help your survive the cold, the time out of your kayak, and prepare you for a great spring in 2013. 74, 109, & 182 are my new lucky numbers, my focus, my paddling.

Let’s paddle,
photos courtesy of Will Stauffer-Norris