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PADDLING LIFE LESSONS - When Too Fast means Too Slow

PADDLING LIFE LESSONS - When Too Fast means Too Slow

Apr 2017

Words Dawid Mocke

#MOCKEMAXIMS – Never sacrifice stability for speed

One of the biggest mistakes made by aspiring paddlers is buying a paddling craft (Surfski or Kayak) that is too unstable for their ability. In over ten years of coaching and teaching at our Surfski School in Fish Hoek; as well as 20 years of competitive paddling, it is probably the most common mistake that I see new and experienced paddlers making. I have made the same mistake myself.

In an effort to be as competitive as possible you obviously select a faster and less stable craft, a few notches above your ability level. Your reason is that you can ignore stability and improve regardless of being unstable. It’s a faster boat, so you’ll paddle faster.

The harsh reality? You won’t improve or go faster!

The harsh reality? You won’t improve or go faster! Here is why: you’ll spend more energy trying to be stable than actually paddling; and many times, you don’t even paddle when you should.

In a more stable boat, you can use 100% energy going fast, but now you use 60% energy going fast and 40% energy being stable. Or, even worse, you fall out! Now you’re swimming, not even paddling! You didn’t buy a kayak to go swimming did you? Also, sometimes conditions are rough, so you won’t enjoy paddling or won’t be able to paddle at all! So what happens? You don’t go paddling. But if you had a stable boat you would be out there, paddling up a storm!

Drak Challenge 2015 Heaven and Hell Rapid.

So, whether you’re wasting energy trying to be stable, or not paddling when you could be, you are certainly not going faster, and you’re definitely not improving.


What is the solution? NEVER SACRIFICE STABILITY FOR SPEED!  Select a craft where you can focus mostly on your paddling and which you can use in most conditions. Not only will you be faster, you will also improve because you can now adequately challenge yourself.

Life Lesson?

We all make the same mistake in Life: In our professional and, sadly also in our personal lives. We try to go too fast. We commit when we know we can’t; we promise what we can’t deliver; we try to “fake it until we make it”. How often do you hear, or have made, excuses and justification for being late, or not delivering, and many times not wanting to take responsibility, blaming circumstance instead?

Dawid Finishing, pic Pete Marlin 

I remember entering into a very loose agreement with a supplier early on in the MOCKE journey.  After a few months it became evident that we had very different ideas for the business.  It was a painful and timely issue to work through.  In the end we had to part ways, amicably fortunately.  Had I not had an unhealthy ambition I would probably have moved a little slower, and much more surely.

Here paddling can teach us some valuable life lessons.  It’s similar to selecting an unstable craft.

Here paddling can teach us some valuable life lessons.  It’s similar to selecting an unstable craft.  We falsely think that our intentions are enough to pull us through, we want “more” at the expense of stability. Instead of honestly assessing what we can really commit to, and then realistically setting our challenges, we take on challenges and then unequally distribute commitment. The result is poorer performance, or worse, non-performance and most times regression.

Always, our relationships suffer!

Always, our relationships suffer!

Where in your life have you looked for Speed at the expense of Stability somewhere else? Are some relationships suffering, perhaps at home, because of professional choices; maybe vice-versa?

Let’s make a commitment to be faster because we are stable and not try and go fast hoping for stability.

Dawid Mocke is a world champion paddler from Fish Hoek, South Africa.  He has represented his country in many paddling disciplines, but it is in the daring world of Open Ocean Surfski paddling where he has set himself apart, not only as a World Champion, but also as an entrepreneur, leader and mentor.

Dawid’s enthusiastic storytelling highlights pertinent and relevant life lessons relating to finding purpose in one’s work.  He sincerely and candidly shares his most terrifying moments on the ocean, and regales with relevance his most exhilarating victories and losses and the valuable lessons they have taught him.

Contact [email protected]  if you would like to have Dawid share and motivate at your company or with your team, and perhaps even take them paddling.

Source: Mocke Paddling

Mocke Paddling

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