Showing posts from 2021

Turning competition from stress to fun in whitewater kayaking

An introspective based on 16 years of competition to help motivate more paddlers, especially women, to consider competition as a fun avenue for self-improvement to push their skills.  This blog is cross-posted on Kokatat's team blog titled: Motivations for competing in whitewater kayaking When I first started competing in 2005 it was fun because I had no expectations for myself with regards to results - I just did it for fun. Then, I spent many years competing in whitewater and feeling really stressed about it. I would enter competitions with high expectations and invariably be disappointed in the results. In 2019, I finally started having some fun competing again by being more intentional with my practice and more fully present with those who surround me. I am now able to experience the joys of focused improvement and share in the joys of others’ successes. And, results have followed. In this blog I use my own maturation as a competitor, as well as informal conversations with my f

A Word on Wood

A slightly shortened version of this post was cross-posted on the Kokatat team blog on March 14, 2021 . -All photos by Leif Anderson. I have spent a large portion of my professional career thinking deeply about wood in rivers and how important it is for the ecosystems of the world; from the headwaters where logs enter our drainage systems to the estuaries and oceans where they are integral for ocean food webs. I am also a boater and am usually able to feel okay about the wood removal that the boating community does because, in general, it is fairly tactful and minimal while also appropriately mitigating risks.  Melissa Vaughn with Bryar Skinner and Michael Jonnson, Thunder Creek, WA  However, this past spring there was a log removal project on one of my local runs that made me pretty sad and upset and this past winter, during the high flow season I have noticed a knee-jerk mentality among my fellow paddlers that all wood, if inconvenient to you, must be removed and chopped up immediat