What Paddling Means to Me

leanne (2)I started to paddle in 1998 when a cute guy in my grade 11 Chemistry class approached me to come try marathon canoe racing. The first time I sat in the tippy funny shaped canoe and held the carbon fibre paddle, I was sold. I was in control of my speed, my direction, my effort and my outcome. It was a feeling like I had never known. Paddling became something that was all mine in a world where I felt like I didn’t really fit in. Paddling helped me find an identity. It helped me discover my inner strength that developed into a physical and emotional strength. Being on the water helps me work through many of the challenges that life throws my way.  My problems seem to work themselves out while I’m paddling and I come off refreshed and with a plan of attack. Paddling helped me learn how to navigate the turbulent river of life by teaching me that hard work pays off, how to go with the flow and most of all, that I can do anything I put my mind to. I wish nothing more than to share my passion for the water and introduce as many people, especially kids, to paddling in hopes that they too can find tranquility and empowerment just by putting their paddle in the water.

My paddling has evolved over the years. I started in marathon canoe racing, moved into dragon boat then outrigger canoe and most recently stand up paddle boarding and surfski. Though each discipline has unique challenges and technical aspects, there are countless similarities. It is these similarities upon which I build my personal technique.

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See you on the water!