Jezz 01/01/2017 | Posted in 2015 Zen, 2016 Rock Star Competition, 2016 WW events, Australia, Creeking, Family Zone, Internationalisation, JK Little Shredders, Reviews, River Running, rivers, Trip Reports, Trips, Whitewater, Wrap Ups, WW Disciplines
How much can you pack into one year with a broken wing?
So this year saw me have a whole lot of firsts, the biggest of which was getting married to my best friend Claire. We decided that a normal wedding was never going to do, so with a spur of the moment decision we headed up to the Whitsunday Islands for one very memorable elopement. Claire organised the entire thing in a few hours including two choppers, wedding dress, photographer, celebrant, flowers and the most amazing beach in the world. The pictures actually do the trip justice for a change and I could not be happier walking down the beach into life’s sunrise and sunset with my best mate.
Paddling was intense this year. I again defended my National Championship and was able to paddle all over the world. I was very excited to be able to help a stack of juniors help reach their potential. This is really a huge focus of mine, I love to be a part of helping the next generation. I headed out to FCC as well as the NOC to help get these little ‘ankle bighters’ to become all that they can. Seeing a bunch move on and partake at the green race is fantastic.
I also flew up to Canada to be a part of a fantastic expedition on the Ottawa with Claire, a bunch of paddlers with a stack of kids firing up garb on a warm summer day. Warm garb days, really there is not much better.
I got on the mighty Snowy River again with a fantastic crew. This place is truly fantastic and I am thankful every trip I head down there. I still can not believe that this river was shut off after 60 years of no water due to a damming. It is fantastic to see so much life come back to the river now after just a few years of environmental flows.
More New Zealand paddling too, this place should be on everyone’s to do list. I headed to the UK also and spent a bit of time at Nottingham and traveling around the country.
We created the Jackson Kayak Little Shredder program which is just crushing it. These kids are the next big thing in paddling and they are all doing such an awesome job at enjoying the outdoor life while being on the water promoting good vibes all the time. Make sure you say hi to them next time you see them on the water. Sometimes managing these kids is almost like herding cats, they are fun to be around but they really have a hard time focusing, this is true for all kids, a good challenge for me but still a challenge. I see nothing but big things for these kids, just you wait!!
I continue my work as the Head Coach of Australia helping coach the team every week, as well as the head of the Australian Freestyle Committee. Lots of behind the scenes work went on this year and I want to thank our Committee for all their hard efforts.
Off the water I have been very happy with the work that continues to push the sport of freestyle kayaking forward. I was very fortunate with the assistance of the Australian Freestyle Committee and the ICF Freestyle Committee to be able to help shape some of the rulings that Freestyle Kayaking has. These rules are still in the approval stage however we believe we should be able to see these rulings being agreed upon very soon. Without going into a huge amount of depth, these rule changes that I requested are:
Equal gender equity in positions for men and women at worlds (5x Men, 5x Women)
A 10 sec buzzer in competition.
Squirt feature can be in different location to the freestyle feature. This is to so safety is considered as well as the best feature for each discipline can be selected.
Entry fee does not change if more than one discipline is elected.
I also had shoulder surgery which took me out of action for nearly half the year. Every C1 paddler will have it, I just hope I can get back better and stronger than ever. Looking back as I type this I am quite fortunate to have been able to do as much as I did this year with shoulder surgery.
Claire and I helped start up a new watch brand called Arête which has kept us very busy too.
Finally this year I also went paragliding all over in places I have never been before, when I can’t go paddling I just love to be in the air, went jet skiing in Queensland, Snowboarding in NZ.
Phew, wow. That was a big year. I might take a breath for just a bit, actually no, I think I will head to the river instead to cool off as it is over 100 degrees f down here in Australia right now. Thank you to all that help and support what I do, it is fantastic to have so many behind my journey. I don’t think next year could top this one.