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“Drive your gains”: Blackfish Performance Camps unlocked

June 18, 2023

By David Smart

Blackfish Performance Camps return for 2023: David Smart, Blackfish Paddles Founder, shares his thoughts and ideas on what to expect and how to prepare for the experience delivered by World SUP Champions, Olivia Piana and Lincoln Dews

Blackfish Performance Camps are a new part of our business and we started the camps as a way for paddlers to learn and train in a small group setting. The camps offer an amazing way to generate a performance boost, improve your skills and also get a chance to travel to enjoy paddling somewhere new. Plus, you will meet some amazing people who share a similar passion. It is often the people you meet and the social engagement that ends up being the most memorable part of the camp.

This year we are hosting two camps, one here in our home town of Squamish, B.C. on the 4-6 August led by 3x World SUP Champion Olivia Piana and the other in our adopted second home of Phuket Thailand on the 16-20 October led by 2x World Champ Lincoln Dews. Two very different ecosystems but two amazing places to paddle.

I wanted to share a few thoughts and ideas around how to prepare for a camp, what to expect during the camp and how to continue your progression post camp.

Before the camp it is important to reflect on what you want to achieve while at the camp and write it down in a journal. A written set of goals will help you stay within your limits and not get carried away with too much volume and intensity. Once you have your goals identified it is important to show up at the camp feeling fresh. This is especially true if you are traveling across several time zones. So treat the camp like an important event, arrive early if travelling across time zones, let your friends, family and work know that you are away and will be in touch afterwards. Simply put - unplug from your day routine and enjoy the process.

Once you arrive at the camp it is important to remember the two DON’TS!

  • Don’t go looking for work
  • Don’t spend time above your ability

It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and try to train with faster athletes. Avoid this mistake by training at or below your ability level. You are at a camp to let volume, rather than intensity drive your gains.

Focus on your nutrition: a training camp is not about weight loss! So don’t weigh yourself, focus on being energy positive, eat early and often and assume that every morning you are slightly dehydrated. Especially when paddling in Phuket!

Pace yourself: do the work and finish strong - be humble and pace your week so that you last day is your best day and not a foggy haze of fatigue. And feel free to stay an extra day at the end so that you don’t go home exhausted.

The camp experience is special and hopefully you will have completed a lot of training, eaten a ton of food and slept a bunch. This means that it is time to let your body taper back to what is normal. Eat whatever you want in the first 24hours after camp and then style back to normal. You may feel really strong in the days right after a camp, which is real as your body is responding to the demands of the camp. Be patient and let your body calm back down with short and easy training days. Then slowly settle back into your normal training routine. Take extra recovery time if needed as it is better to rest than require a prolonged recovery period. Long walks are a great way to stay active and also allow your body to recover. And don't forget to catch up on work and the important relationships in your life.

Remember the goal of the camps is to perform at a higher level once you have absorbed the camp workload. Target a low priority racing a couple of weeks post camp and keep it fun!

Hopefully our paths will cross at a Blackfish Performance Camp - they are great fun!

To find out more and register, visit blackfishpaddles.com/camps or contact Blackfish Team on sales@blackfishpaddles.com