Anxiety is the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Week, which ends today. As soon as I saw that word, anxiety, I knew that I wanted to write a blog article about anxiety and kayaking. Kayaking on white water is always going to involve some feeling of nervousness. You are under pressure to execute your skills with the knowledge that if you do not, there is the potential for unpleasant consequences. Being anxious is a very understandable response to paddling on white water.
However it is also a sport which can lead to high levels of anxiety at times where it is not always understandable. I am talking about anxiety that seems to come out of the blue and yet has the ability to completely paralyse you. For me, this is the anxiety that appears in situations that in theory you should be completely comfortable in. Local rivers you have run dozens of times before, play spots which you know are safe to practice in, rapids which you could run backwards with your eyes closed and still be fine. It’s the anxiety that no one wants to talk about because it just doesn’t make sense. In this article, I am going to talk about it. I will mainly be talking from my own experiences.