My ‘top 5’ most popular kayaking articles over the last 6 months

6 months ago I finally had the time to start writing a kayaking blog. I am hugely passionate about whitewater kayaking and super keen to share that passion with other people. What better way, I thought to myself, than through writing! The positive feedback I have had from so many people since I began has completely blown me away. This has been from friends but also complete strangers from all over the world (48 different countries to be exact!). So thank you so much to everyone who has taken time to read any of the articles and share their thoughts with me. It honestly brings me so much happiness to think that my ramblings might actually be helping others. So this piece is a quick review of my top 5 most popular articles. Hope you enjoy!

1. Review of the Ozone small

My most read article was my review of the Pyranha Ozone small. Somehow circumstances aligned in my favour and I was fortunate enough to be loaned a small Ozone. This was in part because I live next to a whitewater course, HPP. It has been great fun to mess about in and my tailees have got infinitely better since paddling it. I have a lot of people asking me about it when I am on the water and consequently I seem to be lending it out for endless demos. So if you see any snazzy photos of people enjoying a small blue Ozone at HPP – you know who talked them into it! I would recommend if you get the chance to try one out to do so – they are great boats for playing in!

I’ve been having a tailee of a time! Photo: Tom Clare

2. Everybody swims

Everybody swims might just be my favourite article that I have written so far. As someone who has certainly had her fair share of swims, I felt as though I had a little more authority to speak from on this topic. I really struggled when it came to learning to roll on whitewater and there was a time where I honestly thought I would never be capable of doing so. Through sheer determination and perseverance I eventually got my whitewater roll. This was not to say that I stopped swimming however but more that my swims decreased in numbers.

What this article focuses on is the attitude to have when it comes to swimming as a novice as well as a paddler with more experience. I have had a lot of people reach out to me about this one. So if you are struggling with your head space when it comes to swimming, this may be an article worth reading for you.

My favourite Palm sticker!

3. Negative thoughts and how to deal with them

I decided to write an article about negative thoughts because this is an obstacle that I personally have to really focus on to overcome. I am generally a very happy positive sort of person. But there are days when I allow negative thoughts about myself or my kayaking to get into my head whilst I am on the water and this can have a very destructive effect. I am aware that this can happen though so I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to best combat these negative thoughts. This article focuses on three common negative thoughts and how best to deal with them. Again, I have had a lot of people reach out about this article, so hopefully that means it has been helpful. If you are someone who can be affected by negative thoughts whilst on the water, then please do have a read.

Photo: Tom Clare

4. Picking your own lines

Picking your own lines was an article I wrote as part of a trilogy of posts about how to become an independent boater. The other two posts focused on safety and friendships. I think perhaps this article was popular as being able to read whitewater and choose your own line to take is a skill that is actually quite challenging. I would in no way say I am an expert on this but I would always much rather choose my own line than be told what the line was. It is a skill that takes a lot of practice but definitely one worth investing in. Check out the article if you would like to read more.

This may be one of the most well known rapids in UK paddling – but most will not recognise it from this angle! This is the boof line – and the most fun line on this rapid!

5. First time on white water after lockdown

Obviously last Spring we all had to take a break from kayaking as the UK went into lock down. It was many months of being unable to paddle on whitewater and I know for myself that I was very nervous to get back on once restrictions had eased. It had been the longest time off paddling that I had ever had since I started the sport 5 years ago. When HPP reopened and I had my first session there, I actually felt sick with nerves. However as soon as I relaxed, I realised it really wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating nor had I forgotten as much a I thought I had. In fact, after I got over my initial fears, I really enjoyed my session.

When I came home I wanted to write about my experience. I suspect the fact that this article made it into the top 5 was partly because other people were also experiencing those nerves. Perhaps people wanted to read how my session went before they embarked on their own first trips back. As we head into Winter and tighter restrictions, I believe we may all have to have further breaks from paddling. When this happens, I myself shall go back and read this article to remind myself that it really wasn’t that bad returning to whitewater after a break. Hopefully the breaks will not be as long this time though!

My first paddle on whitewater after lockdown and no swims – I was very proud!
Photo: Tom Clare

Leave a comment if you have any requests for future blog articles! Happy paddling – Del

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