Shoulder tape
After near on 8 weeks off the water from the end of June I’ve had to sit and wait its been absolutely killing me, not being in a boat. In 93 days on the water I missed just 2 days so technically in 100 days I missed 9 that’s a pretty good ratio just so happened they were 9 days in the last 11.
So back to the water
Session 1 – 15/8/14 
I took the  XL Burn for a spin at the new sluice with no release. No matter how careful I want to be when I’m on my own I’m far too excitable, so in no release I had the boat front surfing and some lovely vertical pop outs not my best first day on the water.  But had loads of fun and realised what I love about paddling, the freedom and the belief. The confidence that will take me to bigger sunnier places. The shoulder felt good with emphasis put on shoulder position and rotation of the torso keeping the paddle blade in front of me was important.
  • I noted that as I paddled like normal I had strength in the bottom pull of the stroke but have pain in the punch phase this could be addressed by locating the shoulder correctly before the stroke.

 

Session 2 – 19/8/14
This time the slalom boat came out after a sneaky hospital trip with a blocked ear from the last paddle I did, I decided it was better to keep my head dry. So took the slalom boat upstream really working on positioning and shoulder tension with every stroke. I was able to paddle virtually pain free upto Leixlip.  All by feeling as the shoulder wound through the stroke this time driving with top and lower hands consistently on the flat before dropping back down and into the sluice.  Front surfing and a sneaky pop out as well as some nice ferry moves looking at positioning and letting the flow do the work before some fast eddy turns down and a nice charge back up the eddies in turn and back to the feature.
  • Shoulder felt good during the session very careful about reaching and stayed on the back of the blade for eddy turns. Forwards feels strong.

 

Session 3 – 20/8/14
Slalom night at WWKC A paddle upstream kept me thinking about shoulder movement, slightly worried im rolling the shoulder out instead of holding it firm need to get time and do a video session on an ergo to really see what im doing. Paddled a smaller boat which i am able to push around on the flat. Feeling confident tried a set course and as I used a bow draw I let the tension off on the exit of the stroke which left me in a lot of pain again. Sat back for a while to feel what hurt and then stupidly attempted a timed run at the end. I cant not be competitive I love the idea of competition whether its against myself or the world. My only saving grace was I hit the first three gates great before realising I hadn’t a clue of the course and pulled up. I had let the moment take me and at that point id done too much. The pain was their and I knew I shouldn’t of. I know I  need to get some video work done and see what works. and need to get back to the physio next week to discuss the results. She told me last week to get back on the water but I need to slow every thing down I need to paddle with someone who will keep me on check and understands what I need to do and when to push me. Paddling alone is where I feel most natural but mean  I will always push myself far further than I should be right now.
  • Ibruprofen and rest for a day and see how it feels

 

Session 4 – 22/8/14
A day off work resulted in a half day in work so after getting out decided it was time for paddle again no takers to join me which was disappointing so I decided to go to sluice on my own. Since being injured I’ve definitely missed paddling with people. Before I hurt myself I had a whole host of people to paddle with but now I seem to be resigned to paddling on my own much of the time. I hit sluice in the big burn.  Still sporting the safe Palm shorty cag in the event I get stuck again I don’t want my cagdeck cut so with no release I hopped on. I had a good think about stopping and stretching but honestly I never bothered, I took a few strokes upstream with no pain thought about my positioning and headed down. In no water the current sluice creates a shallow V which is just about front surfable in the big boats with the ability to work up and over the cushion but a very tame feature. Smooth ferries using body control felt smooth I then continued to eddy hop down the eddies and back up I used combination of draws and bow rudders even the odd crossbow and felt fairly pain free. Once out onto the flat I tried simple strokes and the one that still gives me grief is a reverse stroke on my right the pushing away motion is sore. I remember that pain from before I went away as it was giving me grief in the double pump phase of the cartwheel.
  • Off the water and feeling happy I’m back on the water. I’m eager to do more I can feel my body wants to be pushed asking me ‘is that it?’ And yes it is for the moment I need to walk pain free before I can run I don’t want to rush this as I love to paddle and want to be strong again.

 

Session 5 – 25/8/14
With only 4 months to Christmas and 5 weeks until my European adventure back to the physio to see how I was doing with some improvements but still lots of pain its back to basics positioning. Today we looked at how I move in the boat and how that causes pain by using a weighted golf club we could mimic some of the work.
By starting with my seated posture and lifting from their the stroke starts much earlier. Time to get on a paddling machine and really do some work.
After the Physio appointment I took the big burn for a quick spin in no water at sluice.  Again with no one to paddle with I was just  putting into place what id just done and looking at my body positioning as I crossed the low flow, allowing the boat to do the work. The posture and seating position is an interesting one with complex creek boat seats try and drop you back into them where as you want to be on the front of the seat while using the abs and obliques from.the core to start the stroke. Some pain but just twinges tonight. Its difficult on my own to see what I’m doing, physio says the soreness and tension in my shoulder blades is correct but without a spotter its time to get inside and put in some work on a machine where I’ve a mirror to see what’s happening.
Session 6 – 26/8/14
With some work going on at Sluice today to fix the main feature by parting the bottom of the course and unblocking the flow seemed like a great opportunity to go for a paddle, when  arrived their was a nice group out from WWKC plus a few others, the rejigged feature in a minimum flow allowed the Burn 3 XL to be surfed in the surfers right pocket and spun in the surfers left side. with so many people out I was able to slow down and relax their was a queue and I couldn’t do too much,
  • A really enjoyable session, the shoulder is starting to feel strong again with good pull and starting to use the backstroke to initiate spins with no real sign of pain. strength is coming back.

 

The feeling of flying, or the feeling of falling one of the two, that last stroke to pull through and let the boat release from its downward pull to accelerate away from the pool and into the clear water. Thats a feeling I miss as I look at photos from sickline last year and cant wait to be back. Paddling is about feeling the water and the flow and forms it takes that’s what I think of that’s what I dream of and that’s where I want to be.

 
 

Session 7 – 31/8/14
A drive north to pick up a new ergo followed by a call from the walsh we headed to sluice with Bernie and Mairead today their was some tree cutting to be done. After a paddle upstream in the Slalom boats we started on the trees across the st catherines park footbridge to clear and make safe for the Junior Liffey Descent in the first week of September. As we were working the levels were rising so a few slips and falls left us swimming in the earlier shallow river. Once we were happy that we did what we could with hand saws we headed down. The level had now lifted to nearly 2 megs and the sluice was back. Surfing and cutting back in the slalom boat before plugging the nose for some vertical fun. This was the first time ive been on sluice with a sup of water and cutting in and out of the feature felt great. I still had pain but I was back in love the river was flowing and I was gliding, making use of the new deep eddys for some controlled tail squirts,

The feeling of water pushing the once static boat made for an enjoyable afternoon, with the new outlet wave formed at the bottom of the course the slalom boat was able to surf happily and controlled before spinning into some big vertical tail squirts just catching the floor as it came through.
This was a really nice session to be back on the water with friends.
  • The feeling of water pushed me to try things im still not able for but the enjoyment and the love is back

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