Come and train with us in 2017

Check out what are we offering in 2017 regarding training camps for teams, clubs and individual paddlers. Teams and clubs from New Zealand, Italy, Latvia, Croatia and Israel have already confirmed their arrival.

This is our 2017 Training Camp offer: Come and train with us – Training in Paradise



Guest: Iliya Podpolny (ISR)

Israel national team member visited us for 2 weeks at the end of August. As we could see he liked the place and staying with us:

”My name is Iliya Podpolny. I started kayaking in Russia, but I am now living in Israel. I compete for Israel national sprint canoe team. Usually the summer temperatures in Israel are 40 degree and above so I have to look for alternative training locations especially during our summer.
I have friends in Slovenia so I decided to visit Training in Paradise this year in August. I loved Bled and Bohinj lakes. I could also train together with their best junior K2 and their coach Miha Kordež wich was amazing and helped me a lot. The place is very beautiful, the people are good and so kind and the water is crystal clear and always calm. Next year i want to come again and stay for longer. I need more tough training in this amazing place!”


Interview: Olympic and World rowing champion Mahé Drysdale (NZL)

MAHEMahé Drysdale is a rowing super star. The multiple World champion and Olympic champion from London was training in Slovenia for several weeks before heading to the 2015 World Rowing Championships. This was the second year in a row Mahé and a part of the New Zealand team was training on TiP lake Bohinj. Training in Paradise provided an electric catamaran for the coaches as no other kind of motor boat is allowed in this area.
We caught up with Mahé on a Sunday afternoon. The big man showed us a very kind personality, a strong confidence in his path and his way of going about his business. We could clearly sense his love for the sport and his strong motivation on the way to defend his gold medal Rio. He was open in his answers, of clear opinions, witty at times and fully present  in the moment for the whole duration of the interview. No phones, no looking at the time, focused on the questions and keen to provide extensive answers. His calmness and mindfulness was in a way very similar to what we experienced during the interview with kayaking champion Lisa Carrington a week later. 
The interview was an hour and a quarter long so here is the transcript split in 8 parts for easier reading:
 Mahé on his beginnings and the rise of Rowing NZ
Mahé on racing, winning and his rivals
Mahé on training
Mahé on technique
Mahé’s philosophy
Mahé about his lifestyle
Mahé about the winning mindset
Mahé about Training in Paradise
Quick IDQuick ID
Full name: Alexander Mahé Owens Drysdale
DOB: November 19th 1978
Place of birth: Melbourne, Australia
Height: 1.99m
Weight: 100kg
Boat: Filippi
Olympic games medals:
Bronze: M1x, Beijing (2008)
Gold: M1x, London (2012)
World Championship medals:
5 golds in M1x (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011)
3 silvers in M1x (2010, 2014, 2015)

Interview: Why Bled makes the perfect base for paddler Lisa Carrington

We caught up for a chat with Lisa Carrington a week before the 2015 World Canoe Sprint Championships. She was spending her final training camp along with the rest of the New Zealand team in Training in Paradise – paddling on lakes Bled and Bohinj (Slovenia).
On the water the Olympic champion looked fierce as if the hunger never fades for her, but once outside that thin carbon shell, she gave us a glimpse of her gentler side. Reserved and composed by nature she was same time also very kind and warm during the interview. In her answers she is giving us an insight into the life and thought process of a true champion.
You are leaving for the world championship tomorrow. How are you satisfied with the final training camp in Slovenia? Was it as efficient and enjoyable as you thought?
The whole trip felt great. The sessions were done as they were supposed to be done. In the build up to the race it all comes down to the amount training you were able to do and I was in a good place and able to do my sessions the way I wanted them to be done. I paddled with Špela Ponomarenko a few times and did my key sessions with her. In these two weeks I’ve been mostly training on lake Bled, but the trainings we’ve done together were out on lake Bohinj instead. It was really great to have her. And she is looking good!
Let’s go and start at the beginning. How did you get into sports?
I’ve tried many sports; volleyball, a bit of track and field, netball, which is quite big in New Zealand, and surf lifesaving of course. I sat in my first kayak only around the age of 16.
What about the story where you were the bravest little girl attacking  the huge swell in your ski at a surf lifesaving competition while the other girls were really scared? Coaches must  have noticed some of your talents by then?
(loughs) Oh, yes, I was around 12 then and they would only let some of us race in that swell. I think I was naturally a bit stronger. And perhaps I was less scared!
Was the Olympic ambition something that grew with your involvement in sports or a goal you set to pursue in your early childhood?
I think when I was 17 I realized I could go to the Olympics in kayaking. It was after I went to the Junior Worlds in my last year in  high school. So from there I thought it would be good for me and I could go and pursue it after high school. I didn’t know if I can get there or not, but I thought once I left school it was something I wanted to do.
You’ve come a long way since then, enjoying fast acceleration up the ranks. Do you remember this? (I show her the pic below).
Ooh! So funny! When was that?
The photo was taken in Most na Soči in May 2010, during a Training in Paradise camp you attended with the NZ team between the World Cups. It was one year before you won your first world title – nobody was expecting what was about to come?
Oh, no, nobody…
Between 2010 and 2011 your career took off. The definitive breakthrough came with the victory in K1 200m at the World Championship. Since then you established yourself as the dominant force on the international racing circuit. What was the turning point that triggered the success?
Well I think probably I had potential, but it wasn’t realised so much. Then Gordon started coaching me. It was also  very hard for me to get an opportunity to race in the K1 200. But it was what I wanted to do, so we had to figure out how I could do it, as on the same time I was also trialling and racing a K4. So there was the K4 and the K2 with Erin Taylor plus the K1. It was very hard for me to get an opportunity to race my K1 200. But I was lucky because then I’ve won my K1 200m at the World Cup in Duisburg that year. So it is how I could race it at Worlds in 2011. It was a bit of a surprise. It’s happened by chance. Wasn’t the plan. I wanted to do it and though it could be good, but I hadn’t realised by then I was able to win it.
How does Lisa Carrington feel on the start of a big race?
Pretty nervous, yeah. But I think you need to be: nervous but very confident.
…you do look very confident on the start!
(loughs) Yeah, I try to! I need to be confident in order to race properly and race really well!
In one week you will be on the start line in Milan, you know already how you will feel?
Yeah, i do know. And i am lucky because I have the experience and I know how to cope.You can get those bad feelings and you can get scared, this is normal. But you need to get yourself in the right racing mode.
Will it feel different on the 200 and on the 500m?
On the 200 I have a lot of experience, i know that race more, so I am very confident in the 200. Also I can get a little bit worried sometimes, you know, not racing that well and so on, because in that sprint you can not make mistakes… While on the 500 I think it hurts a lot more. So you have to be prepared to hurt, to dig dip. Really deep, yeah.
Since you finished your studies is life different now?
Last year I finished my studies in Bachelor of Arts. I majored in Politics and Māori Studies. And I just started studying what we call a graduate diploma in Sports Psychology.
How did you keep busy while you had more free time?
No more free time, I seem to feel it up with sponsorship and meetings and lots of different stuff. But now that I am gone back to study it is a good as I can say no to things because I have to study.
What does it mean for you to be a Māori descent? What’s it like to be connected with all this heritage?
It is special and different. Connection is massive with all the heritage and the people. The Māori people in New Zealand are very well connected. And Māori is our culture.
At home many places are very westernized, but we still have the local ‘iwi’ which means tribes. There are many tribes around the country, but you know exactly which place is your family coming from. And we have the ‘whakapapa’ wich is a concept a bit like the family tree. So maybe they know you are somebody’s distant cousin because they know all the long chain of aunties.
It’s nice, it means having a culture to come back to.
I’ve asked the same question to your coach Gordon Walker already, but I am interested in your answer even more.  What do you think is the one thing that makes you this successful?
I think for me the one thing would be the ability to learn and grow. I think it is the biggest thing that is helping me. Continuous going and learning, as a person and as an athlete.
 I’ve read this quote of yours somewhere: “If I find something hard, and I really dislike doing it, then it probably means I have to do it. My support team has been great at helping with the internal pressures of being an athlete, both within and outside the sport.” What does that really mean?
It means that if you find something challenging it is really important to work at it, not go around it. Definitely I think this is very important for somebody’s growth.
Your coach helps you identify these challenges?
Yes, he does help me with that. But I also recognize them alone. It is also phisycall challenges of course, but mostly mental ones. I think mental challenges are much harder challenges. Tougher to overcome (smiles).
Do you ever miss more competition on training? How do you set daily training goals to yourself? How do you make sure you stay sharp?
I do make a lot of my hard sessions on my own. I do have a couple of training partners back home, so we have a group of a few guys and a girl that we train together when at home. It is more of an environment that we create. With training partners the toughest thing is to find someone who understand the environment that is required for good training. It is very difficult to find somebody who is there to grow themselves and be better personally when you try to beat someone. So competition isn’t so important for me when in training. It is more for the partner to be reliable and be there to do what they need to do to grow them selves, respect the environment and everybody within that environment. It’s quite hard to find somebody that can fit in that mold. Also all the athletes coming through are all in different stages of their development as athletes, so what they need is pretty different to what I would need. But i think every now and then it is really good to have training partners.
I could see in this training camp you can really push yourself. You seem to really be able to make hard sessions even on your own?
Absolutely yes, I can do that. I know what I need to do on the session, I don’t need competition to go hard, because I know how fast I need to go, my stroke rate, my heart rate… I know exactly what I should be achieving out of the session, so I don’t necessarily  need someone to push me.
Do you have any special daily routines?
(Thinks for a long time) I do have a morning routine, but is just so normal it doesn’t even feel a routine. I have a pre-race routine and a warm up one of course.
You could easily stop here and be content with yourself for achieving everything that was possible to achieve in the sport. But you look calm, happy and hungry, going for more! How do you achieve this?
I think it is a very good balance I am having. Not always thinking about training and kayaking, almost like having a contrast between being and athlete and being…you know…a ‘normal’ person. I am making sure to keep a good contact with friends and my family, that type of things.  You know, making sure you are in touch with people outside your sport who have different problems, not kayaking problems (loughs). All of them have different experiences to share and that’s important, so when I come back I am fresh and I am not spending to much time in this environment. I shut off paddling often.
What are your plans or goals for after sports in a distant future?
I am not sure, because I am so much here. I don’t know…have a happy life, a happy family (loughs).
A good job maybe. As I am studying psychology probably something about helping people reach their potential. That’s really cool and could be good.
How do you find the new Nelo Cinco?
Oh, it’s good. I find that accelerates quick out of the water. And it doesn’t have as much rocker – the up and down nose to tail movement. So it just sits a little nicer in the water. Indeed it’s very good. I wanted to keep moving with the times in the boat. It took me a little time to adjust to it but now it feels normal, so that’s perfect.
How did you like Training in Paradise? Would you consider coming here again?
I loved it! I didn’t know Bled is such a touristic place and can get crowded in summer. But it is really pretty. Overall, we had a nice accommodation, delicious food and perfect water conditions. Also, the whole facility with changing rooms, boat shed and the gym – all in one place – is amazing. You did a good job!
Quick ID
DOB: June 23rd 1989
Place of birth: born in Tauranga and raised in Ohope beach, New Zealand
Height: 1.68m
Weight: 53kg
Boat: Nelo Cinco
Paddle: Jantex Gama
 Olympic games medals:
  • Gold K1 (2012)
World Championship medals:
  • 4 golds in K1 200 (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • 1 gold in K1 500m (2015)
  • 1 silver  in K1 500m (2014)
  • 1 bronze K1 500m (2013)
01_banner 2x SP-15

Guest: Canoe Club Koninklijke Sobeka (Belgium)

The canoe club Koninklijke Sobeka from Zwevegem (BEL) with almost 40 athletes was having their annual 10 day camp on lake Bohinj early August this year with us. Tom Cremers marathon paddler and coach had this to say after the camp:

”Training in Paradise lived up to the expectations. Lake Bohinj proved to be a fantastic lake to train on with phenomenal surroundings and very frinedly and helpfull people.
Our group of over 40people loved every minute of it. Training there was fantastic and will fore sure help me get a great result at the marathon Worlds. Thanks again for all the help”

Belgium 2015

Memorabilia: lakes buzzing with amazing athletes at the moment

Training in Paradise area seems like the place to be these days. Despite some rain the lakes were buzzing with boats this morning:

  • a big part of the New Zealand rowing team is training on lake Bohinj and some of the crews were smashing race pace pieces today…
  • world and olympic champ Lisa Carrington and Marty McDowell were doing a longer endurance session
  • Špela Ponomarenko Janić (SLO), Martina Kohlova and Ivana Kmetova (both SVK) were going hard too
  • the canoe club Koninklijke Sobeka from Zwevegem (BEL) with almost 40 athletes is having their annual camp on lake Bohinj
  • a development fun camp for kids run by the Slovenian canoe federation with almost 100 participants is also taking place on lake Bohinj
  • the New Zealand WK4 girls were out in the K4 again on lake Bled today, going hard and probably loud;-)

New Zealand W8 2015

Guests: Lisa Carrington, Marty McDowell, Aimee Fisher, Caitlin Ryan, Jaimee Lovett and Kayla Imrie (team New Zealand)

The new Zealand kayak squad just arrived to lake Bled for their final preparation camp for the Milan World Championships. The team is composed of Lisa Carrington (World and Olympic champion), Marty McDowell (bronze in K1 500m at the first world cup race of the season) and the WK4 of Aimee Fisher, Caitlin Ryan, Jaimee Lovett and Kayla Imrie (winners of the K4 500 at the first world cup race of the season), plus the coaches Gordon Walker and Rene Olsen.

They are staying here for a good 3 weeks, polishing their form for the World champs and Olympic qualifier in Milan. They will be based by lake Bled, mostly using the Olympic center and Bled’s rowing course, occasionally switching to the course on lake Bohinj. Our new electricity powered coaching catamaran was ready just in time for their arrival.

Carrington 28/7/2015  Bled

Guest: Joel Tan (Singapore)

This year we have already hosted teams and athletes from: Japan, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Swizzerland, USA…and for the past 2 weeks we’ve been hosting Joel Tan from Singapure.Joel has just graduated from universty and the trip to visit us was his gift to himself. We had a couple of 1:1 sessions together regarding technique, training methods, conditioning and opportunities for his progress. But he has also trained with the local team and found some extra time to discover Slovenia when his parents joined him during his second week.

Have a safe trip home Joel, do the home assignments and race hard next month!

Memorabilia: Paddling Paradise since 1936

”From the past (part I) : It is almost 80 years since the first marathon canoe race on Lake Bohinj. On 5th July 1936 a first ever race in Slovenia was held as selection race for Berlin Olympic Games. The winner on 10.000 meters course with four turns, was Deutschman (KK Ljubljana) who covered the course in 62 minutes. In doubles the winner were Gaberšek – Šavnik (KK Ljubljana) in 55 minutes 10 seconds.” (Darko Logar)

Race in 1936

Guest: Marin Millar (USA)

We had the pleasure to host Marin Millar from wildwater kayak team USA in the past days for a couple of technique sessions. Marin has trained on lakes Bled and Most na Soči with us for the last fixes before racing the wild water world cup the coming weekend on the river Soča. Good luck Marin – keep your strokes long and strong!

Marin Millar

Guests: Gordon Walker – New Zealand K1 head coach

Head coach of NZ canoeing team Gordon Walker visited us today at lake Bled. He seemed very satisfied about the set up we are preparing for the NZ squad. We have visited with him the apartments, the course, the Olympic training center and the restaurant where the team will eat in summer before the Milan World Championships. It is going to be an exciting summer in Paradise. ‪#‎Rio2016‬

Gordon Walker

Guests: Finland sprint canoeing team

The Finish team has visited us for a spring camp 2 years ago. And now they are back, bigger and stronger then ever. Visiting for a 2 week training camp as a build up for the upcoming European Championship in Račice (Czech Republic). Great to have these guys and their coaches around!

If they are back it means we are doing something right and they feel good here.

God luck at the Europeans team FIN!




Guest: Anne Rikala

Anne Rikala, world champs medalist and Olympian, visited us 2 years ago as an athlete for some good spring training…this time she is visiting as a mum with her little baby Leo who just got 1 month old. Just enjoying the place and supporting the team! With mum and dad both being paddlers and visiting Training in Paradise at such a young age, little Leo will have no choice but to become a fast paddler too!


Guests: Susanne Gunnarsson and Julia Langerstam

Kayak team Finland coach Susanne Gunnarsson (former world and olympic champion in kayaking) is in Training Paradise at the moment preparing the Finish team for the coming European championships, but is also taking care of her young Swedish protégée Julia Langerstam. Good luck ladies and thanks for visiting!

Gunnarson, Langerstam


Training in Paradise stuff was in Mantova this weekend for the annual international race. We couldn’t resist not to ask these 4 legends of Italian and world canoeing to pose for us. From left to right:
Piero Congiú
(4th in K4 at the Munich Olympics)
Daniele Scarpa
(1995 double world champion and 1996 Olympic champ in K2)
Luca Malusà
(long time Italian canoe team member)
Oreste Perri
(1974 K1 10.000m world champion and coach of such legends as Antonio Rossi, Beniamino Bonomi, Daniele Scarpa, Andrea Facchin and Antonio Scaduto)

Perri, Congiu, Malusa, Scarpa

Guest: Mikko Karppinen (Finland)

After the C1 guys from the Latvian team, Mikko Karppinen arrived to lake Bled. A Finn living in Swizzerland flew in with his wife for a 4 day coaching clinic. A lot of positive impressions for us and for Mikko.

Not blessed with perfect weather during his visit we nevertheless worked on technique, stability, mobility, did some efficiency testing and planned his coming season in detail!

Memorabilia: Training in Paradise lake Most na Soči on BBC travel

BBC Travel mentioned one of our lakes today:

#FridayFeature! Craving a little getaway this weekend? Check out the waters in Most na Soci, #Slovenia! Not only does the area have gorgeous views like this, but it also ranks as one of the most important prehistoric settlements in #Europe. Thanks @hecktictravels for sharing using #bbctravel and #LoveTheWorld! ”


Guests: Latvian C2

Aivis Tints and Gatis Pranks of the Latvian C2 are our second visitors for a training camp this year. On the picture here before their first session today! These guys look strong!



Guests: Yasuhiro Suzuki (Japan)

Mr. Yasuhiro Suzuki from Japan. Happy faces in Training in Paradise. Taken on the 20km flatwater race on lake Bohinj today. Yasuhiro is back in TiP after 2 years. Nothing make us more happy than guests who come back!

#wassabi #comeback #goodbloke


Visitors from Finland and Switzerland

Nicole Rutishauser from Swizerland and Miika Dietrich from Finland are training with us at the moment on lake Most na Soči.

Nicole is here training with Slovenian national team member Anja Osterman to get ready for the Canoe Sprint World Cup #2 in Czech Republic.

While Miika is training here between the World Cups #1 and #2 in order not to have to go back home to Finland where it is still pretty cold. Follow Miika’s blog in Finnish here.

For both of them it is not the first time here and we are particulary proud that paddlers like to return to our esmerald river Soča!

Miika Bled

Miika Dietrich above lake Bled.