Kayaking Power – The Sunshine Coast Girl Taking On The World

We’d like to introduce you all to an extremely talented, but also extremely hard-working young Lady – Alicia.

Alicia is a Sunshine Coast Local who is stepping up to represent Australia in Kayaking during the upcoming 2018 ICF CANOE SPRINT JUNIOR & U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 26 – 29 July in PLOVDIV, Bulgaria.  Being part of regular National Competition Circuit, and earning her spot on the international team, Alicia has put the time and some SERIOUS effort into her training to get to this point.  She is currently scheduled to compete in the 1000m solo race and is penned as potentially taking on other races as well depending on form during the lead up.

Whats Kayaking Involve?

Kayak can have 1, 2 or 4 person events.

A kayak is a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation.

Race categories vary by the number of athletes in the boat and the length of the course.  The distances recognized by the ICF for international sprint races are 200m, 500m, and 1000m. These races take place on straight courses with each boat paddling in its own designated lane. For each race a number of heats, semi-finals and a final may be necessary, depending on the number of competitors.

The sport is governed by the International Canoe Federation. The International Canoe Federation is the worldwide canoeing organization and creates the standard rules for the different disciplines of canoe/kayak competition. The ICF recognizes several competitive and non-competitive disciplines of canoeing, of which Sprint and Slalom are the only two competing in the Olympic games.


Whats Required Physically?

Kayaking is an interesting blend of cardiovascular ability and recovery coupled with pure strength and power.  Depending on the distance of the event, a varying blend of explosive speed for shorter distances, and an ability to endure and recover energy expenditure in longer scenarios is required.  The obvious requirements are a focus on upper body strength, but that’s only part of the story.  The action of paddling utilises a significant engagement through the core, the body position being seated, as a primary action instigator.  In other words, all the force being pushed

Explosive Acceleration Is A Huge Part of Getting the Race Underway

through the paddle by the arms, shoulders and chest – needs to be counteracted and braced through the core and legs in order to maintain balance in the boat and not tip over.  So a wholistic training scenario is called for.


Where we can get really interesting with it – is combining the base elements of strength, speed, power in conjunction with one another.  Can you still exhibit explosive force for a final sprint finish even though the body is oxygen deprived and energy levels are flagging?  Can you maintain a constant fast pace to match your opponents and position yourself for that final sprint.  Then you start to think about stroke cadence – do you go with powerful but slower strokes? Or faster but less forceful efforts?  Adaptability is key.

How Does She Train?

Training takes many shapes and forms:

  • Training with Kawana Waters Kayak Club , coached by Shane Dalziel in regional events
  • Training with Maroochydore Surf Club (she’s a top level competitor in all these events as well)
  • Regular specialist training camps from the Australian Institute of Sports

Which is all on top of attending school at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, of course.

Additionally, we at Assume Its Possible, have the unique opportunity to provide her with general overall conditioning support out of Sunshine Coast Facility, “Ezyfit Health & Fitness Clubs”.  She trains in person twice a week with A.I.P’s Pete, one session being her own dedicated training session and another in conjunction with her family, which is something we are in total admiration of – family engagement through these high level events provide so much additional support.

The Physical Requirements At This Level Are Massive

She also receives training programs from Pete with 3 additional sessions to undertake on her own, a Cardio dedicated session, a functional strength session, and a composite workout designed to simulate race level duress on the body.  Her training involves LOTS of body weight functional strength including:

  • Upper body power – Pull/muscle-ups, Rows, lat pull-downs and push-up varieties
  • Running – intervals, steady state and sprint work
  • Explosive efforts – box jumps, sled work, bike power intervals
  • Our own special touches – we throw as many curve balls as possible at Alicia so no muscle action, no scenario or physical state is unknown to her.  We do this to increase both her physical ability and also mental strength (we could write another full article on how this is such a huge part of any athlete’s training)

When’s It All Going Down?

As mentioned right at the start – 26 – 29 July.  We believe there will be online streams of the events, and once we find the confirmed schedule of events, we will definitely post this up and will be watching excitedly. 

We wish this extraordinary young lady the very best in her travels over the next month – you have earned every bit of the adventure.

We can follow the event through the following social media chanels:






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