I am currently training harder than I have ever trained before – multiple workouts a day, lots of cardio, full body exercises with kettle bells and as much time on the water as possible. I’ve trained hard before of course – trained hard for rugby, trained hard for competitive Judo, and of course trained hard to overcome significant physical injuries. What makes this training so different, and perhaps more intense, is that it’s driven by fear.
At the end of June this year I will be flying with a couple of friends to Mauritius, a little tropical island in the Indian Ocean somewhere near Africa. Once a year they hold a paddling race there – a 28km ocean race for surf skis – a race than I am attempting to enter. A race that is included as an official event on the Surfski World Series calendar. A race for professional, if not very serious, ski paddlers.
Of course I’ve taken part in lots of races – the 18km Lifestart Kayak for Kids, the 11km Bridge to Beach, a few 10km Summer Series races, and of course the 111km Haweksbury Canoe Classic. But I’ve never taken on a race that is truly at sea, a race that has had 20 foot surf breaks to get out and back in through, or a race that is entirely professional ski paddlers. In fact, I’ve never really paddled a surf ski – a pencil thin super-tippy boat for fit slim-hipped athletes.
So with less than 6 months to go, and the help of a few people and local businesses, I’ve started to train. The crew at Slipstream Surf and Stellar Kayaks kindly organised the delivery of a loan Stellar SR surf ski to help me kick off my surf ski experience. Nat from SydneySurfski.com and Malcolm from Carbonology Australia lent me a number of wing paddles to experiment with. Ben from Benefit Active built out my training programs and worked with me on nutritional structures to support my goals. All that is left is…. to actually train!
So with the footage of the Island Shamaal fresh in my mind, my training has begun. The goals are simple – lose 20kgs, build up lots of core strength, learn to stay on a surf ski on the ocean and get fit enough to race in Mauritius. And of course don’t die whilst I’m out there, the fear of which is giving me all the motivation I need to train my guts out! Cheers, FP