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I’ve come across this problem on more than a few occasions, and it’s time to nip it in the bud before I say something I regret!

The problem being that when I mention that I’m going through head games issues with my boating, the reaction I get is almost as if I’m a beginner at boating who wobbles down Symonds Yat or something.

More than once I’ve been offered to be lead down a rapid like Serpent’s Tail etc as if this will somehow solve the issue.

I’m going to say this pretty straight out. I don’t have a skills problem, I have a head games and confidence problem, and to put the topping on the cake, I’ve run and also beatered on much bigger rivers and rapids than many of these people probably ever will, and I’ve even style some of them, incredible as that may seem (it surprises me too). I know that saying that possibly sounds like the biggest ego trip comment a person could possibly make, but when it comes to pretty much everyone who has tried to ‘solve’ my problem without me asking them to, this is in fact completely true.

The reason it’s true is because any kayaker of any note, skill, and experience knows exactly what dealing with the craziness of head games is like. Such a person is knowledgable enough to know that giving skills advice or talking to a person who is going through it as if they are a special needs case who requires help with their general boating is absolutely *not* what is needed.

Okay, I know some people do mean well, and it is a good show for the kayaking community that it is generally so supportive and helpful. But quite often the advice seems to come from a place of ego, wanting to show how much knowledge they have or where they have paddled. Hint if you do this: Look at the blank expression on my face, it’ll save you a lot of wasted breath.

The same goes for having an off day. So you saw me swim once? So what? I really don’t need your rolling advice either. No, really I don’t. Swimming once in a while does not equal “My roll needs tuning”. It happens to everyone, and quite often in the silliest of circumstances or where you wouldn’t expect it.

If I want advice I’ll ask for it, and I’ll likely ask for it off someone of trusted experience and knowledge when I do. That is all. And I know I speak for others, too.

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