There’s a special thrill that is felt when we come into contact with nature. Paddling against the waves while kayaking will definitely get your adrenaline running and leave you yearning for more. If you are looking for a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors, then kayaking is a great place to start. If you are aiming to become a pro, you need to play your part towards getting there.
A kayaking competition is an opportunity to compete against the big sharks and perfect your skills and confidence. These are the top 10 tips that will make you a better kayaker:
1. Be Cautious
Although kayaking can be fun and breathtaking, you should do your best to keep the excitement under control. Colliding with the waves is definitely thrilling, but not as much as approaching and overtaking your opponents. Although the goal is to reach the finish line first, always consider the other competitors. Before you surpass your opponents, study them and employ the best tactics when approaching them. Making the wrong move in the wrong place will bring it all to an end before you can prove yourself to the judges.
2. Be Prepared
Before the big day, ensure that you have everything you need. Have a list with you, checking off the items as you pack them. You don’t want to get to there and realize that you’re missing your life jacket or the main component, your paddle. If you are a pro kayaking champion, you have to be keener than most people. There have been cases of opponents damaging other competitors’ kits in the hopes of sabotaging their chances. If possible, you should store your gear in a secure place where only you have access to it, since you’d rather be safe than sorry.
3. Keep It Healthy
You can have all your gear and other essentials in check, yet have the day ruined by an upset tummy. If this happens, you’d probably never forgive yourself, so take precautions. Bathroom troubles are your worst nightmare when participating in a kayaking competition. Every kayaking competitor should keep away from foods that don’t agree with them a day before the event. It’s understandable that the anticipation, excitement, and anxiety may be nerve-wracking, especially the night before the event, but you should also keep away from beer or any alcoholic drinks. A hangover doesn’t sit well with the rocking motions of the kayak on the water.
4. Adequate Rest
It is necessary to rest your body adequately before the big event. After all, you depend on it to keep you going and hopefully emerge the winner. Eye bags under the eyes is your body’s way of telling you that it hasn’t had enough sleep. Only you understand your body, so you know how much time you need for it to be completely rested. However, the experts advise that you sleep for no less than 8 hours per night.
5. Observe Time
Imagine how frustrating it would be to wake up and realize that the competition started an hour ago. These things happen, especially if you haven’t planned for it very well. Set your alarm an hour or two before you have to walk out the door. Eat your breakfast early enough to give it ample time to digest. Take a shower to freshen up and awaken you fully, pack up your gear and give yourself enough time to get to the site on time.
6. Stick To Your Routine
Panic can be your worst enemy when it comes to kayaking competitions, or ANY competition. It is advisable that you maintain the same routine as the other training days. Keep calm, review all that you’ve learned, and focus on the fun part of the event and how easy it’s going to be now that you’ve had a lot of practice. Focusing on the negatives will only set you up for failure. Remember, sticking to the routine will enable your body to stay calm during the competition.
7. Incorporate Some Music Into It
Music is soothing, hence advisable to compile a relaxing, yet motivating playlist. Listen to it on the way to the competition. This is a vital step so be tactful when compiling the list. Music that dampens your spirit will interfere with your self-esteem so steer clear of that. On the other hand, the music shouldn’t over-energize you into thinking that this is the time to try something new or drastic, as it may spell doom not only for you, but other competitors as well.
8. Warm Up
Before the competition begins, it is advisable to perform a little bit of a warm up. This prepares your body and mind for the task ahead. Take care not to exhaust yourself though. Paddle slowly after doing some nice stretches and drink enough water to stay hydrated if it’s hot outside. Also put on some sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
9. Channel Your Mental Focus
Everyone has that one thing that boosts their confidence. Some socialize with other competitors, others spend time with their fans, while others scroll through their previous competition photos to remind them of how amazing they are. Find an activity, memory or view something that gets you in the mood to win.
10. Keep Cool
There is no guarantee that things will run smooth during the competition. Kayaks overturn, paddles break, competitors surpass you, your arm gets a cramp that interferes with your ability to paddle, etc. You should never throw a fit in full view of your fans, judges, and sponsors, as it will taint your image. Keep it cool and work towards overcoming the obstacle. The smile doesn’t have to be genuine, it just has to convince your sponsors that you’ve got this!
Kayaking competitions are fun, so stay focused on that and everything else will flow naturally. Fear and panic will magnify even the smallest challenges, hence interfere with your mental focus and your chance of winning. Get some moral support from your family and friends for some hype and motivation. Remember, you’re only as good as you think you are!