Athlete Profile: Dane Jackson
Based in: Rock Island, Tennessee
Sports: Whitewater kayaking and canoeing
Career Highlights: 3-time Freestyle World Championships K-1 gold medalist, achieved the first descent of Encanto Falls, 2014 World Cup champion, 2011 C1/Squirt world champion, 3-time Whitewater Grand Prix champion, 10 World Championships medals
Training Variability: Generally if I am pretty far from an event, training is just going out and having some fun messing around with tricks, lines and techniques. Then as I get closer to a major competition, I’ll work on paddling faster for races and nailing my routine for freestyle. Personally, I like to paddle as long as I can in a day and keep going until I’m tired. Then do it all over again the next day. I try to really push my endurance as much as I can.
Recovery and Nutrition while Traveling: Even without a great night's sleep I can usually just go ahead and do what I was going to do anyway. But sometimes getting over jet lag or a big international time change is pretty important before I go out on the water. I find that I run best on a lot of protein and quite a lot of fat. Breakfast is usually some form of egg sandwich with lots of bacon. Lunch is a turkey or ham sandwich, maybe a burger if I can get it. Dinner is often a burger if I didn’t have one for lunch or maybe pizza.
A Family Foundation: Without my Dad dropping everything to commit to being a full-time kayaker, I don’t know what my upbringing would have been like. My sister pushed me to learn kayaking and continues to challenge me. She's also great fun to hang out with while I'm traveling. I'm not just an ambassador for Jackson Kayak, but also help Nick [Troutman] with video edits, photoshoots of new boats and all kinds of other media stuff.
Dane Jackson's Top 5 Tips for Staying Calm During Competition
- Many people's natural reaction is to tense up, but you're only going to perform well if you can overcome this and make yourself relax. I want to be as loose as possible during each run and just let my training take over.
- Try to have fun. At the end of the day, you're out on the river doing tricks with some of your best friends and, in my case, family members. If you approach it like it's a grind, you're going to miss out on the full experience.
- While you should be relaxed out on the water, you also need to focus on what you're about to do and mentally rehearse your moves. The run is over so quickly that there's no room for error and you've got to dial in.
- If you're thinking too much about making the podium or beating a certain competitor, you're going to put too much pressure on yourself and your performance will suffer. Just do the best you can. It's all you can do!
- Even if you don't have the best result ever or fall short of your goal, you've still got to enjoy yourself no matter what. No career lasts forever, so you have to value each day and be thankful every time you go out on the water.
To learn more about how the best paddle athletes and surfers train and recover (and how you can up your game, too), pick up a copy of Kelly Starrett and Phil White's book ‘Waterman 2.0‘. Read a review of ‘Waterman 2.0‘ from our partners at SUP magazine.
More on CK