At Welzen we know the importance of having a strong mind in order to be calm, focus, and perform at the highest level. This is why we are extremely proud to be sponsoring young Kurt Adams, a Canoe Slalom Athlete, with a very promising future. We hit him up for a quick interview to get to know him better.
Kurt is originally from Latvia and has been living in the UK for over 5 years. He lives together with his mother and brother in Staffordshire.
“It’s like a jigsaw, you have to keep achieving everyday little by little to create the picture of a winner” – Kurt Adams, Canoe Slalom Athlete
How did you get into Canoe Slalom?
It’s a pretty interesting start. Me and my brother both signed up to try scuba diving in our local pool. And while we were doing the session my mum started to chat with other parents whose kids were doing the scuba diving course with us. That’s when my mum got information about Stafford and Stone Canoe Club (The best performing canoe club in the UK and a home club of the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Clarke).
I was then invited for a trial session, enjoyed it, and just kept paddling. So, if I wouldn’t have gone to the scuba diving session then I wouldn’t be doing what I do now.
What is it that you love most about this sport?
This is an interesting question as there isn’t just one answer. I most love the adrenalin that I get every time I train and race. But my favorite part is the competition side, it’s not just in canoeing. I am very competitive in everything I do. Just being on the start line, getting ready to do my run is the best feeling.
What category are you competing in and what’s your ranking?
I do both C1 (Canoe Single) and K1 (Kayak Single). My favorite one and the one I do most is K1. In K1 I recently got into Premier Division and am ranked 60th overall at the moment and the best in my age group. In C1 I am ranked 3rd. My goal for the season coming is getting into Premier division in C1.
What is your biggest accomplishment in sport’s career?
In 2015 I was a British National Champion Division 1 Newcomer in K1M, and in 2016 I was a British National Champion Division 1 Newcomer in C1M. Also, highest ranked J14 K1M of the season 2016.
What is your biggest challenge?
Canoe Slalom for me it’s more than 50% mentally, not physically, and because of that the biggest challenge for me is staying calm and thinking about the process rather than the result on the sheet. “If I think about where I want to come then I’m not thinking about the correct lines and strokes”
How is meditation helping you in your career and how often do you meditate?
I use meditation for getting me in the right mindset and focused, for racing as well as training. It helps me a lot to calm my nerves before races. Because when I’m calm, I race much better. Meditating is a part of my success. Because if I wasn’t calm and focused I wouldn’t be where I am now. I try to meditate at least twice a day, it helps in my out of canoeing life as well. Keeping me focused for school work.
What’s the most important skill in this type of sport?
Personally, I think the most important skill in this sport is being confident on the water, and thinking about doing your best rather than beating your competitors, as you can’t control what your competitors do, you can only control what you do. It’s important to be physically fit and training a lot. You can be in the best mindset, but if you haven’t trained then you won’t see results.There is no shortcut to practice. A typical white water session will be around one hour long.
The most essential skills are being able to roll back up if you capsize on white water as well as never giving up. I am very excited for the racing season just coming as this will be my first International Racing Season. I will be doing 15 ECA (European Canoe Association) Junior Slalom Cup Races all over Europe.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
My ultimate achievement is being in the 2024 Olympic Games.
How do you set your goals?
I set a lot of little goals every session, because all the little things make up the big. I always make my goals a little bit bigger than what I think I can do because that makes me train and race harder. However, the older I get, the more I realize the goal is to be happy with what I do and how I do it. As one of the world’s best paddler Vavra Hradilek said in his documentary Feel The Flow ‘’If I’m better than others, it’s because I’m enjoying it more’’
What inspires you?
What inspires me? That’s a good question. To be honest I don’t have 1 person or thing that inspires me. I like to get to know people that are better than me in different aspects, as it helps me learn and find the right path in my life.