I usually spend more time on the river rather than off the river watching other people paddle. Being both a coach and a spectator at the 2017 Freestyle World Championships in San Juan was way more interesting than I thought it would be and it was interesting to see such a kayaking event with a new perspective. 
 
THE ICF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 
 
To help develop the development of kayaking in South America before the next Youth Olympic Games and Pan American games, the International Canoe Federation put together a training camp with both slalom and freestyle for South Americans young paddlers. The idea was to train slalom as well as competing in a major international kayaking event. 
 
COACHING 
 
I’ve had a few coaching experiences but this one was probably the most rewarding one. At the end of the camp I was just hoping that the kids learnt as much as I did. And they they had as much fun as I did ! Beyond paddling itself these up and coming paddlers have different cultures, background, stories…and I feel incredibly lucky for getting to spend time in such an eclectic group of amazing paddlers. Everyday they reminded me why I love kayaking so much. There is the rivers, the big rapids, the competitions, the challenges…but also the good times, the people, the experiences, the memories. Seeing their attitude throughout the week was nothing but inspiring. They are motivated. Patchi hitch hiked for three days in order to come to this training camp. They are fighting. A lot of these young paddlers had to face the stress of the competition as well as their own doubts and insecurities which are related to their kayaking but also their personal lives – and teenage years. They were helping each other. Every single time someone was struggling they would come together and help each other out. They were hard working. Most of the kids would not get out of the water and keep working until you’ve had to force them out because they were too tired. And last but not least they were FUN and we had a great time kayaking all together. They might not be the greatest paddlers yet but these kids are amazing human beings and I feel incredibly lucky for getting the opportunity to coach them. Their progress made me proud and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can achieve in the future.
SHOUTOUTS
 
I would like to Thanks all of the training camp athletes as well as all the awesome freestyle paddlers who helped us out in San Juan.

The Rayner Family and Lewis Willie for lending us all their boats as well as being super friendly and taking part in our little slalom competition. 

 
Yoshiko for her boats, for coaching the kids in freestyle, for getting in a slalom boat, buying treats for the kids…She now has places to stay all across South America !

Anna Bruno for her boat, the encouragement, the rescue during her race… and so much more like always. 

 
Dane Jackson for the lesson about how to do a spin. 
 
For lending us boat : Emily Jackson, Claire O’Hara, Devyn Scott, Rowan, Sydney, Alex and Cheryl, Marc Antoine, Mikyung Jeong, Sage Donelly…
 
And Danny O’Brian for being supportive and for showing us his dancing skills.
 

Stephanie Helping out with injury

Drawings to Thank everyone that helped us