Why life and downwind are very similar.

A New Normal

“What a year the last week has been!”

And here is another one I heard:  “Remember the old days, like February” – (@mikestopworth).

Our situations have rapidly changed. Not just over months or weeks. These are daily, even hourly changes. And they are swift and mightily uncertain. We simply can’t be sure of what tomorrow might bring and thinking about it for a moment too long can lead to fear and ultimately, a pandemonium of panic. This is a new normal.

For the downwind paddler, we know this feeling. It’s that breath holding moment where you’re in between swells, hovering at the top of the wave, uncertain of your fate as it’s cresting. The millisecond moment between fearful panic or ultimate exhilaration.

This is the most critical part of downwind paddling.  It’s a brief millisecond where you’re at your least stable and typically, for the beginner, a moment of hesitation.

While your coach is shouting, “Go”, your mind is shouting, “No!” And you must bravely choose to paddle through brief instability by handing control of forward motion over to the wave.

This is the moment we call The Zone of Uncertainty.

At the Zone of Uncertainty, as you take a stroke onto a swell, you are propelled forward and downward, into the trough. It’s fast and exhilarating and at double the speed you could ever wish to paddle on your own.  It is both a scary obstacle and a wonderful opportunity and only happens once you teach yourself to paddle through the Zone of Uncertainty.  Then, and only then, will you paddle yourself into the wonderful world of downwind paddling.

The world’s “New Normal” could be likened to a cresting of waves in a sea of questions and uncertainties.  It’s happening scarily fast and is constantly changing.  It seems as if the entire world is hovering above this wave in a critical moment of flux.  There is a beautiful metaphor here as we now face our own Zone of Uncertainty, and I would like to suggest that what we’re calling a “New Normal” is not actually so “New”.

Did we ever truly know what every hour, day, month or year had in store? Of course, we had some pretty good predictions; the “waters” were flatter then; but actually, we never really knew.

When it comes to wave physics, the actual Zone of Uncertainty isn’t uncertain is it?  The wave is the wave, and how it works is how it works. The reason for the uncertainty has got nothing to do with the wave and everything to do with your ability to deal with it.  All you can do as a paddler is understand it, perceive it and adapt to it.  Learn to paddle through it. Once you’ve decided to embrace it: that moment of uncertainty, hesitation or fear – that’s when your journey as a downwind paddler truly begins.

And so, it is in the world right now.  We are faced with a reality that we never considered and therefore feels very uncertain. It can be scary when you look at the facts and their repercussions. But you can also change your perception and focus on the truth – the truth is that you never really were in control of what happens to you anyway, and this is the same, except it’s moving a lot faster and is way more evident.

So, if you are not in control of this situation, then what are you in control of?

You are in control of your emotions, your feelings, your decisions.

You are in control of your actions and reactions.

You are in control of the talents and abilities you already have.

You’re in control of how you use them.

Just like the downwind paddler can’t control the wind and waves, you can’t control what’s happening right now. But the downwind paddler uses the tools that he or she has in their hands and at their disposal – the paddle and the craft- and uses them to actively paddle forward and through their situation, and not float at the mercy of the situation. You can do the same.

The Zone of Uncertainty is not so much a situation to be feared as much as it’s a situation to be embraced and paddled through, looking for opportunities to use the tools we have at our disposal to keep moving forward, and have a blast doing it!

As a global community, the world has learned much about unpredictability these last 2 weeks, but that’s not all.  We’ve learned how connected we really are, about how much we truly need each other, and how our decisions and perceptions can affect each other, both positively and negatively.

So take the moment for what it is, and use it to reflect and to see how you can come out of the crisis using your abilities, gifts and talents to pursue a dream worth following, helping and serving those around you, and in the world, while you are doing it. Don’t use them for some shallow dream that is subject to things you can’t control. Because you don’t know what tomorrow brings anyway….

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone reading this. May God bless and keep you.


23 March 2020 – 

We have just been informed of a nationwide 21 day lockdown in South Africa from Thursday 26 March. This is following the example of many nations worldwide and believed to be the best way to minimise the effects of Covid-19.  

What does this mean for MOCKE PADDLING?

  1. As from 26 March until 16 April we will be unable to fulfill any online orders made via our website
  2. We WILL be able to offer our dealers in Europe, USA and Australia access to limited stock wharehoused in those areas. 
  3. We will be contactable via email and will endevour to assist in any way possible
  4. We WILL NOT be able to offer any coaching or paddling sessions during this time.
  5. We WILL be able to spend amazing quality time with our families, spend time designing awesome paddling products, dreaming up new paddling ideas, praying for all our friends,  read some great books – both for fun and for personal development, and seeing as it takes 21 days to learn a  new habit or skill, we will be able to come back with some amazing new skills, perhaps even a new language!
  6. Bring it on, we are ready!
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