Saturday, August 05, 2006


Whitewater Kayaking in The Zone - 2

"When in the zone ... the mind and body are united in their purpose. A visit to the zone is unforgettable. Some athletes report experiencing a state of focused energy, or a transcendent state of well being, or an altered sense of time, or being 'on a high.' ... It is characterized by an unexpected euphoric sensation, in which the athlete feels an increased sense of well-being, enhanced appreciation of nature, and transcendence of the barriers of time and space." "The five keys to opening up the zone are physical ability, focus, confidence, calmness, and excitation." (reference)

Getting into THE ZONE

What makes it so easy and automatic for me to get into THE ZONE on every whitewater river kayaking trip? Geology provides the gradient and the river provides a lot of power, so it doesn't take much physical ability to get a kayak really moving at high speed on a whitewater river. Then there are the mental components of paddling the boat through the rapids. The sights, sounds and feelings of navigating whitewater can easily provide a sensory overload that challenges our abilities to focus on what we need to do to navigate our kayaks safely down the river. The time that we spend studying the river and practicing our river running skills can give us confidence in our abilities. Scouting a difficult whitewater rapid, either from an eddy or from the shore, enables calmness as we decide on a plan to either run the rapid, or to portage if necessary. Finally, regardless of all this other stuff there is the total excitation of jumping on this powerful whitewater rollercoaster in a zippy, tippy little kayak.

Welcome to THE ZONE.

See you in the eddy at the bottom of the rapid!!

More about: River Philosophy & River Quotes.

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