Staying Engaged with Paddling through Lockdown

Paddlers in Greater Sydney would be forgiven for forgetting what an organised event or a group of more than two paddlers looks like these days! And with increased restrictions introduced in rural and regional NSW in recent weeks, paddle blues might just be in danger of becoming a reality. While some of us are still lucky enough to be able to get out on our waterway of choice for regular paddling activities, many are having to dream up new ways to stay engaged with paddling through lockdown. PaddleNSW Board Director Naomi Johnson shares a few ideas to keep your paddle brain engaged in the coming weeks, while staying on the right side of current health advice.

Group of people in Zoom call, most seated on the floor and ready for physical activity.
Lane Cove paddlers ready for some core exercises and stretching. (Image: Naomi Johnson)

Check in with your Community

Let’s face it, whether your idea of paddling is a river ramble, an ocean quest or a mad racing dash, a huge part of what makes the activity fabulous is probably your paddling community. Even if you can’t go paddling together, why not grab a virtual coffee or organise a paddle-related Zoom catch-up.

I’m a member of Lane Cove River Kayakers, and a group of us have recently started catching up for a virtual core and stretching session. While it can never quite be as good as an in-person squad session, it’s great to see everyone and draw on team motivation to work on something that will ultimately benefit our paddling!

Get Dreaming

2020 and 2021 might have put some of our bigger or far-flung paddle goals on hold for a while, but we can always draw some inspiration from past endeavours and dream about the future. Whether your thing is chasing rapids on the Snowy River or tackling the 111km Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, why not check out your club archives for paddle stories to inspire your bucket list for 2022 and beyond!

Get Environmental

Lockdown is leaving many of us with a little more time on their hands, and with few organised events on the horizon, why not dedicate some of that time to ensuring that the waterways we return to in the future are in good health?

The PaddleNSW environment committee has put together a fabulous selection of resources for SUPtember, with things you can do either on the water or from the comfort of your couch a home. From signing petitions to cleaning up your local waterway, it’s great to think what we could all achieve as a community if every member of PaddleNSW put a little of their lockdown time into some environmental action.

Cheer on our Paralympians

The Olympics might be over for 2021, but the Paralympics are now in full swing. Tune in from 2nd to 4th September to cheer on 2020 PNSW Male Paddler of the Year Dylan Littlehales and the whole Australian paracanoe team as the line up to strut their stuff in Toyko.

Rear view of paddler in lifejacket walking a white boat down a footpath.
Some of us will do anything for a paddle!

Explore your Patch

While a 5km exercise radius might leave many of us without our regular waterway access, another bit of a local river or coastline might offer a new and different paddling opportunity. As with every paddling activity, though, safety needs to be the biggest priority. Be sure to do your research on the waterway you plan to paddle on, let someone know your paddle plans and log your trip via the PaddleSafe App.

I’m just a bit far from Lane Cove to be paddling my K1 on my favourite river, yet almost a third of my 5km radius is filled with the water of Sydney Harbour. I might have got a few odd looks walking my partner’s sea kayak down the hill to Neutral Bay last week, but the feeling of being out on the water again after ten days away for it was second to none!

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