Newport Aquatic Center Junior Practice
Newport Aquatic Center Junior Practice

With the summer ending and school starting, it’s up to the athletes to manage their time to make workouts and practice. Just come to a practice and you will see which kids (most of them aren’t even kids anymore…AH!) are here to better themseleves, and the select few kids that are just here to get out of PE. The winter series races are just starting up and all paddlers in Southern California are fired up about it! The sport just entered their individual racing season where people compete on individual outrigger canoes, stand up paddle boards, and prone boards!

A lot of the kids I coach LOVE one-man season, and if they could they’d race an OC1 all season long. There’s also paddlers that use this season as a time spet making themselves a better paddler. For example, 17 year old paddler Jenny Jones (who’s been paddling for many years) says she uses this season to “improve [herself] as an individual so that [she] can contribute more to the team during 6man season” in the spring. The first race the kid will compete in this season is this Saturday, Dec 8, in Oceanside. With long course going about 9 miles and shhort course running about 4, some kids will get the chance to race twice, while others are racing long course one man. This race will be the first time a lot of the girls will be racing long course (*cough* *cough* DANIELLA LILY MEGHAN).

These kids (like I said before they aren’t really kids anymore since three years ago they were a foot shorter than me, and now their two inches taller AND STILL GROWING) do a PCH time trial at the start of every month. Yeah, it’s easy to turn it into a team competition and I’m sure everyone starts to think that. However, they paddle the two mile time trial, which could take anywhere from 18-28 minutes depending on the paddler, and then the next month they do it again. It gives them a goal, something to work towards in a one man. They can see how much they’ve improved within that month and how much MORE they can improve.

Paddling is all about the time you get on the water, and how much effort you can put into it. As long as you go out there and do your best, you aren’t doing anything wrong. I tell the girls all the time, its JUST paddling. Yeah it’s intense during races and your teammates expect you to train JUST AS MUCH as they do. But just keep in the back of your mind: it’s paddling. If you aren’t having fun, you aren’t doing it right. If you’re too stressed about your time trial time or where you finish in the race, you aren’t doing it right.

Be ready for the write up on the Oceanside race this weekend on how everyone did!

Photo Credit Chris and Cody Silvester