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5 Goals for Every Paddler

Setting Paddling Goals

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Nico Bettge and Jan Benzien of Germanyperform C-1 Canoe/Kayak Manuevers

Nico Bettge and Jan Benzien of Germany perform C-1 Canoe/Kayak Manuevers

Photo © by Guang Niu / Getty Images

Goal setting is the number one way to achieve what you want most. Why is it then that most of the goals we set are work related or financially motivated? We should be setting goals in every area that we consider important in our lives. That goes double for paddling. Well, maybe that’s a bit overboard (ha!). But why not set paddling goals? The New Year is a great time to do this but really there is no bad time to start developing the habits and routine of goal setting. Here is a list of goals that every paddler should have at all times regardless of their paddling level or number of years on the water.

  1. Learn a New Canoe or Kayak Technique
    It is very tempting, in all areas of life, to develop a certain level of proficiency and then become comfortable and even complacent in what we know. We rest on our laurels rather than strive for continuous improvement. Our canoe and kayak paddling prowess is no exception to this. We often learn just enough to do what we need in a boat and that’s it. Why not set a goal to learn a new paddling technique?. It can be a maneuver, a stroke, a trick, or even a safety precaution. But don’t merely set a goal to learn whatever it is. Become determined to master it!

  2. Canoe or Kayak in a New Location
    One of the biggest draws to paddling is that it places us in parts of our neighborhood, state, country, and world that most people never get to see. Why is it then that after a while we get into a routine of paddling the same rivers, lakes, and shorelines? Step outside of the box. Identify that one place you’ve always wanted to paddle but never have. Now set a goal to do it!

  3. Take a Paddling Lesson
    It’s funny how many things our pride and egos prevents us from doing. We think we know it all and that someone else can’t possibly help us improve. Or we think things like lessons are for beginners only. The fact is that there are canoe and kayak lessons available for every level from first-time boater to competition level paddler. Determine where you fit in the spectrum and sign up for a lesson to take your paddling to the next level.

  4. Try Something New
    There are almost as many types of paddling and places to paddle as there are paddlers. Well, that may be a little exaggerated but the point is obvious. We participate in an extremely versatile and diverse family of sports. Every paddler has that one type of paddling they’ve been dieing to try. For some it is they want to crossover from canoeing to kayaking, or vice versa. Others want to go from whitewater kayaking to sea kayaking. Or maybe its just a type of trip they’ve been wanting to take such as an overnight expedition style trip. Whatever it is, we all have that one thing we’ve been wanting to try. I’m going to make this as simple as I can. Try it!

  5. # of Days on the Water
    This is really a matter of bragging rights. We all like to sit around the camp fire or in the pub and tell each other how many days on the water we had the past year or so far for the current year. It’s a pride thing really. Setting a goal for this will not only give you something to strive for it will also force you to get out onto the water on days where you would normally be too lazy to do so. And let’s face it, there is really no such thing as a bad day on the water.

    May you achieve all of your paddling goals this year!

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