Young gun reveals paddle power secret
WHEN 13-year-old Torquay local Jamie Flanagan went out on her paddle board last winter she didn’t realise it was the start of an epic journey.
Fast forward 14 months and Jamie is still paddling every day, it’s an unbroken stretch that she says has made her fitter, healthier, and stronger.
Like a journey of a thousand miles, Jamie’s 400-day plus stint started with a single stroke.
“My friends asked me if I wanted to go to the beach for a paddle on our boards and it was fun so we just kept going,” Jamie said.
Over the lockdown period Jamie kept at it each day as something to do for outdoor exercise.
It evolved into a daily routine where she’d catch a minimum of two waves, regardless of the conditions.
Jamie says her arms aren’t sore and that the secret to doing it every day is to take a flexible approach.
“Don’t push yourself too much, if you have a big day one day, don’t do as much the next,” she said.
Jamie’s mum, Caroline, said it was a positive outcome that came out of a difficult time.
“It started when they went into homeschooling, she went out each day as that was her way to stay fit and healthy and connected with her friends,” Caroline said.
“She started not so much with a goal but wanted to go and do something every day and get out in the water and it just flowed from there.”
There was an unexpected benefit from all the paddle time in the water, Jamie won five medals at the SLSC Victorian State Nipper Championships in March after having never won a medal over the previous three years.
Rip Curl national team and event manager, surfer, and proud dad, Mark Flanagan, said the effort was truly inspiring.
“Jamie, with the help of her teammates, came home with five medals,” Mark said.
“The Jan Juc Surf Life Saving Club has been really supportive and has got right behind her.”
The medals are on proud display in the Flanagan household.
Jamie says she would break the stretch for a trip away, but with restrictions being what they are she will keep going for now.