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Paddling Champ Geared Up!

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When St Ives Mandurah resident and paddling champ Johann approached St Ives and asked for sponsorship to help him upgrade his paddle, we were excited to be able to help out. Now that Johann’s all geared up, we caught up with him to find out more about his athletic pursuits.

Johann bought a kayak at age 40 and joined a canoe club near his home, since then he’s been out on the water quite a bit. Once he got the hang of it, he joined fellow club members for some of the marathon races that the WA Canoe Association organise every year.

From 1988 to 1994  Johann paddled competitively, then he took a break until restarting his training for a competition in August of this year.

“The highlight of my racing career is the National sprint competition on the Nepean river in Penrith, NSW. I won the 45+ year gold medal in the 500m sprint. I won bronze in the 35+ and 40+ age groups 500m sprints as well. You can compete in younger age groups in State and National competition.”

This adds to a long list of achievements for Johann.

“I got a silver in the 45+ 5km race which should have been gold, but I picked up a clump of weed on the last lap and had to stop and reverse to get it of the nose of the kayak. I got two bronze medals in sprints in the World Masters Games that same year. I have won medals in National marathon competition including a gold in 1990 in the 35+ age group.”

When chatting all things paddling with Johann, his passion for the sport seems to ooze from him. He had been using the same paddle for a number of years, so he was very excited to get assistance from St Ives to upgrade to what he says is the best paddle he’s ever had.

A true competitor, Johann is back to setting goals for himself and working his fast-twitch muscles the best he can.

“My current goals is to win gold in the 70+ age group in the National marathon championships and to give a good showing in the 55+ age group in the National sprint regatta. Sprints do not cater for ages past 60 so us old competitors have to race against some guys 15 years younger, including an Olympic medal winner.”

So what training does Johann put himself through? He’s very quick to point out that what he’s doing now is much less than the countless hours he put in 25 years ago.

“Now I go out about 5-6 times a week where I do some 10-15 km easy paddles, some 5 km fast paddles and some 500m sprints. It will later change as my aerobic base is settled and I got my technique improved and I am happy with the settings on the ski and kayak and the length and feather on my paddles.”

We’re looking forward to keeping up with Johann’s paddling ventures as he trains and prepares for his upcoming competitions.