A look back at 2014, and forward at 2015

As the 2014 kayaking season winds down, it seems like a good time to look back and forward.

First of all, the best news of all: my shoulder, while sometimes a little sore, no longer seems like it’s limiting my paddling. I have to take care of it, and I’ve adjusted my technique and my training to be more gentle on it, but these days it seems more sore when I’m not paddling than when I am.

Other highlights of this year:

  • Paddled 1516 kilometers (942 miles) so far this calendar year.
  • Set personal records in the Baycreek Wednesday Night Time Trial (smashing my previous best of 18:54 by going 17:36 on my first outing of the season), the Erie Canal Regatta (average pace is 0.5km/hr faster than last year), and just about every other race I did this year.
  • Participated in the Lighthouse to Lighthouse (L2L) race (the Eastern US Surf Ski Championships), my longest race so far (21.5km/13.4miles) and my first salt water race.
  • Participated in the TC Surfski Immersion Weekend and a clinic with Oscar Chalupski, which added to my week in Tarifa last year means I’m getting really confident in the waves.
  • Got a really beautiful new boat, a 2014 Epic V10 Sport Ultra. My old V10 Sport is sitting there lonely and unused – this one is lighter, fits better, and has a closable scupper drain, so what’s not to love?

Next year, I’m looking forward to more of the same. I’d like to get a bit faster on the flat, but what I really want is to get better in the waves. At L2L and other times I’ve noticed my speed drops way off when I’m getting hit by waves from two directions at once. So I guess I need to spend a bit more time in Irondequiot Bay, because that’s the best place in town to be constantly battered by boat wakes from every direction at once. And the reason I want to get better in the waves is that I want to do more ocean racing. I definitely plan to go back to L2L and hopefully break the top 25 this time. I also want to try the Blackburn Challenge, which is even longer (33km/20miles) and might present more wave and wake challenges.

I’m also planning to go back to the TC Surfski Immersion weekend. Unfortunately it looks like the finances won’t stretch to a trip to Tarifa.

Mike and I are talking about doing some doubles paddling. He has an ancient and heavy K2 kayak which he suggests we paddle and race and see how we get on, and if that works out, we should look to buy a double surf ski. Much as I’d like to support Baycreek, my local kayak shop and Epic dealer, the Epic V10 Double is both heavier and more expensive than the Stellar S2E, so we’re thinking of getting one of those from the dealer down in Ithaca, unless we can find something used on surfskiracing.org. I’ve seen a couple of likely ones there already, but unfortunately the price to ship them is upwards of $500 which makes a new one more enticing.