One of the great things about our new blog is being able to write features about YOU! Our lovely paddlers. The natural first choice was John Joyce – a recognisable character from our Tuesday Night Races who has been kayaking and racing with us for 9 years. We sat down for a chat about his paddling history:
Deep Cove Kayak – How did you get into paddling?
John Joyce – It all started with Desiree, who used to manage the rental shop 9 years ago. I had always been active and in the UK was a champion cross country runner, and I wanted to learn how to kayak. Once I had taken the lessons, Desiree suggested that I try the Tuesday Night Races as a way to practise what I had learnt…and the rest is history!
DCK – Do you remember your first race?
JJ – I do – I remember it because of how fast some of the paddlers were! I was in a sea kayak and these guys in surfskis just went off like rockets. I thought they would slow down and I would catch them…but that wasn’t to be – they just kept going!
DCK – So it wasn’t hard to see the benefits of paddling surfskis??
JJ – It wasn’t, but I still needed persuading, and it was Bob [Putnam, co-owner and the person who started Tuesday Night Racing in Deep Cove] and Philippa Wall who encouraged me to try it. I like the challenge of a surfski, you really have to be focussed and use your technique to get the best out of the boats. I took a private lesson with Bob at Ambleside a few weeks back and learnt how to paddle in bigger water which really brought everything I’ve learned together.
DCK – You’ve been racing in Deep Cove for 9 years now, what keeps you coming back?
JJ – I love the scenery, and the athletic challenge, but mostly it’s the atmosphere; there is something special about TNR, and Deep Cove Kayak in general. The staff, the paddlers, everyone wants to help each other improve, and the sense of comradeship here is very strong. I remember one race where I had to remount and was having trouble and one of the strongest paddlers, Warren, stopped to assist me. He didn’t have to do that but it helped me enormously. That’s what keeps me coming back.
DCK – Are there any races you look forward to in particular?
JJ – I like the races that incorporate exploring parts of Deep Cove – like those that include running through woodland, or a swim. Those are the races that show off our scenery the best and keep the racers interested.
DCK – And lastly, what do you do to keep fit when you’re not paddling?
JJ – I snowshoe run and cross country ski in the winter, and also road bike and play tennis throughout the summer. In the gym I really try to work on my core to improve my balance which helps paddling surfskis and also with the other sports too.
We’d like to thank John for being our first featured paddler, and also point out his great result in the race last night which included a dismount that he now has down pat! If you know someone who would be ideal for us to chat to, let us know in the comments below.