Mathieu Dumoulin 14/11/2015 | Posted in 2015 Road To Worlds- Team JK, 2015 WW Events, 2016 Rock Star Competition, Events, Whitewater
Photo: Stephen Wright
I’ve been in the world top 10 freestyle paddlers for a long time. At 18, i became european champion for the first time and i had to wait 10 years to get a medal at world championships in 2015.
When i was out of the JK community, i was looking at their success at world championships (pretty much sweeping all the medals) as something that wasn’t for me. I was playing around it, getting 4th at world championships in bus eater, 7th at NOC… Then i decided to try it more seriously, as hard as i could, to have no frustration looking back at my kayaking career.
NOC world championship was special for me: i stayed 2nd behind Dane all along the event, making good impression on the crowd and putting new links in the game. I never felt that close to being on the podium… Until i failed in semi finale and i never got to play my cards in the finale. I was far to think yet how meaningful that situation was for me and what the lesson was: you can be the best kayaker out there, it takes more than this to podium or win world championships.
This is how being in the Jackson team helped my in achieving my goal, and i’m talking here to all the kids out there who want to try it hard. You need inspirations. It means open your mind to the people who make it happen, they might do something well.
When i was paddling for Guigui Prod i was able to shape my own design together with Guillaume, the owner, and we were making great boats (we made the easy mix 2010 and the first Helixir together). I was feeling in a good position of a paddler that is leading the charge for a brand and i was feeling a little too good about it. Feeling like the best in my thing, i even had a hard time facing my competitors like Sebastien Devred in France, like i was surprised that somebody could show up and take over me in a couple of years. Being in the Jackson team together with Dane, Nick, Clay, Stephen, really pushed me out of my confort zone. I wasn’t the best anymore and i was going to have to step up my game to keep up with those guys.
See it from behind the scene
Emily, Dane, EJ, they all look like they’re doing it so easily, they look spoiled by talent when they win a world championship, how do you pull out the best ride ever taking it so easy, waving at your family and throwing laid back jokes in the eddy??!!
When i started hanging out more with them i realized that this impression is wrong. They work so much to get where they are. But they love what they do so all the work becomes like their way to spend their day anyway.
I started thinking that if you feel like you have to do something it becomes hard work, but if you do the same thing for your passion and that your commitment makes you happy, then you can achieve your goals and live it the best way possible. You can show up at worlds with a large smile on your face because all the training you did to get there, all the discipline and commitment for that goal, just made of that year the best time of your life.
Believe in myself and in my way of doing things
I’m from France and here the training is a lot more conservative. Beside the very top athletes like Estanguet or Fer in slalom, who have their own little secret, the common thinking for training is that there is one way to be the best, one training that wins, and the closest you get to this training the best you’re going to be. It goes through pumping iron, time everything, a specific diet. Looking at Dane eating Doritos before his ride and Emily going in the wav 6 months pregnant, i was feeling like something was wrong in my idea of the successful training.
I realized observing and talking with them that there is really one way to be successful without putting too much pressure on your shoulder, it’s to do it your way.
Basically working on you strengths and not on your weakness, and do always choose the most fun way to your goals. This is how you get to your world championship ride with no pressure: you have the feeling that you already won, having had so much fun training for it. Now you’re ready to go in the wave and give your best, with a positive attitude and no disappointment possible…
Photo: Paul Villecourt