Our newest contributor, Emily King, has been busy after the birth of her son. Not only has she somehow found the time to train for and compete at the two biggest races of the year so far, ‘The Head of the Dart’ and the ‘Battle of The Thames’ but she’s also finished her second article for SUPboarder. Hot on the heels of Chasing Tails here is Emily’s account of her recent training camp with the team at The Ocean Sports Centre in Carbis Bay, Cornwall;
As with most things nowadays, it started with a text….
Emily “Do you think I could get some coaching with you?”
Ollie “Sure, can you come down to Carbis in a few weeks time for the weekend and we’ll get together a group of female paddlers.”
Glenn Elderidge, owner of Ocean Sports, Carbis Bay, Cornwall and Ollie Shiltston, Head Coach, are two of the UK’s finest competitive paddlers. Both have an in-depth knowledge and background of ocean sports and sports science. So I was definitely in the hands of the professionals!
It had not been much more than 3 months after giving birth and I was feeling very unfit and slightly insecure, especially as I’d found out that the ladies I’d be training with were some of the top elite female paddlers! I felt I wanted to get some coaching to not only help me improve my paddling skills and get my confidence back, but also to understand what it is that makes the magic happen. Even after two years elite paddling I was feeling that there was defiantly more to learn. Being able to discuss these matters and work with ocean sports would help move me forwards towards my paddling goals.
Saturday morning arrived and we all met up at Glenn’s house, with a warm welcome from Ollie and Glenn and all who were paddling on the course. We headed off to Newlyn harbour where we warmed up on our race boards in the sunshine, amongst the fleets of fishing trawlers. It was nice to warm up slowly and Ollie made us all feel comfortable and relaxed. We worked through a few paddle drills and by the time it came to paddle past the camera, which was being used to record ourselves for the video analysis later, we all felt we were into our paddle stroke and doing what felt natural.
After lunch and much chatting about the morning, Glenn took us to dry land and had us paddle on his SUP Ergo, which is best explained as part board and part rowing machine. This was to help us understand what it is we are doing as we go through the 5 stages of our paddle stroke. We all laughed and joked about our weakness and cringed at the thought of watching the video analysis. As always we were made to feel relaxed as we were talked through what is good paddle technique and how that would translate to us as individuals. Then with this in mind we analysed each others footage and started to understand where changes could be made to help make improvements.
Later that afternoon we made our way to Carbis bay where Ocean Sports base themselves. The sea was showing some good conditions of onshore winds and plenty of wind chop. We all got straight onto our boards with lots of renewed confidence to put into practice all the theory we had learned in the morning. I was straight away able to put into practice some of the tips, with Ollie and Glenn accompanying us. Beach starts were the next area of improvement and Glenn briefed and demonstrated to us how to do a successful beach start and paddle away through the white water. So much fun was had by all, l can say that we all regressed to being what looked like big kids having the time of their lives on the beach. I was shattered by the end of the session, but smiling and feeling really pleased, so we ended our session there with the need of a good nights rest.
Sunday’s morning weather gave us equally good conditions to paddle in. The final session was a down wind technical paddle, with all of us raring to hit the water. After some coaching on the beach, we made our way out over the lumps and bumps again, being given coaching from Ollie and Glenn, reminding us of our individual goals. We turned to head back to the beach on the ‘down wind’ leg and the magic started to happen! We all flew into peaks and troughs with new skills making it easy to negotiate the power that the ocean was providing. We paddled in and out several times throughout the session, each time getting more and more confidant and being able to read the ocean more. I was having the time of my life. My fellow paddlers were laughing at me as I squealed with delight riding long glides effortlessly. They even christened me the Welsh Pocket Rocket!
The course ended with a debrief on the beach and we all thanked Ollie and Glenn. We all commented on how much we had taken from our sessions. All the paddlers had gained lots of knowledge to take back to their different areas of the country, to share with their fellow paddlers. For me this course was not just about getting the technical low down, and it ended up being so much more than I dared to hope. Glenn and Ollie had given me back my attention to detail, confidence, passion and ability to believe I could do this. Their passion for teaching and getting paddlers onto the water, to get their best out of themselves, really shone through. They are able to nurture the skills you already have. Not only that, but their insatiable passion for the sport and its growth, really made them human and want to share all their knowledge and skills. The real testament to them is I implemented the advice and training they gave, and in my last race at the Battle of the Thames, I came away with UKSUP 3rd in the elite ladies 12’6″ class….thanks boys!
Words : Emily King
Getting advice from others, particularly from racers that put into practise what they teach, is a great way to improve your paddling, not just for elite racers but for any paddler. Check out the training tips here on SUPboarder to help take your paddling up a level.