June 25, 2011

My World Champs 2011 - Thanks Mike

Last week I gave my friend, Polly some advice: 

'Her words of wisdom today helped a lot too, and she said “you never know what is going to happen and what this is about. Don’t place positive or negative judgment on the outcome. There could be something entirely different that comes that you never saw or expected”.'

These words have been in my head a lot this week.

On Thursday 16th June, my first paddling mentor and dear family friend, Mike Dodd, lost his life in a motorbike accident in Tanzania. Mike was so important to so many people and he will be sorely missed.

I first met Mike at the very beginning of my paddling life. He took me out on the River Stour at my very first Sudbury Canoe Club session. This was where everything began for me, those first few years in the club were where my passion for kayaking started. Without Mike’s kind words and encouragement I very much doubt I would be where I am today. Mike was so generous with his time and so gentle in his approach, he has been essential to so many paddlers, and so has gotten so many people into the sport.

So this week the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships have been taking place in Plattling, Germany. After a shaky prelims, a personal best quarterfinal and a below average perform in the semi final, I placed 6th. I just missed the cut by 3pts. I’m proud of myself for getting that far. Of course it would’ve been nice to paddle better in the semifinal and make the final, but that’s just the way competition goes. I’ve learnt so much this past week and I’ve have a great experience with my paddling to get to this point.

Fellow Sudbury Canoe Club paddler, James Benns has kicking ass and is paddling in the junior men’s final this afternoon. I’m so pleased for him, he’s just 15 years old and has got many years of competition ahead of him. I know that Mike would have loved to have been here with us this week, and I know he was very proud of all James and I have achieved.

Yesterday the Walls, the Wallcooks, the Wards and the Benns’ all headed out on the river for a paddle in memory of Mike. It was so special to have us all on the water together in his honour. He would have been so pleased to see it; getting outdoors, enjoying nature and having fun kayaking was so fundamental to Mike, it was a fitting way for us to remember him. 

Thanks for everything Mike, we'll miss you.

More photos from yesterday: For Mike




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