I am a professional kayaker from Cochrane, Chile. I started kayaking when I was twelve in a small kayak club in my home town called Los Escualos. When I was seventeen years old I moved to Pucón, leaving my family to devote my time to kayaking. l’m currently part of the Chilean national kayak team representing both slalom and extreme kayaking.
My greatest achievement would be to become the best Chilean representative in the various disciplines of whitewater kayaking. I want to represent my home town of Cochrane in the best possible way.
Whitewater kayaking is one of the most dangerous sports, because of all the consequences that it has, such that you can hit rock with your head, go unconscious and simply drown or get stuck in trees that are in the river and die.
So “you have to learn to master something that is unpredictable” you can’t give chances to the river, you need to be able to flow and stay focused so that everything goes well.
One of the things that makes me feel good is when I finish running a rapid or a waterfall and I turn around to look at the immensity of nature, and see all of its consequences, and that it all went well. The other thing that is incredible about kayaking is the special places that you get to arrive to in a kayak.
When I’m training alone normally I focus on bringing in my physical and technical part in some calm place where there are not very strong rapids, such as in the río Trancura, in Pucon, Chile.
There I can train on skills in my slalom boat, then lower on the river I can improve my endurance. These times practicing alone have helped me with many parts of my kayaking.
I think the key thing during my training that helps me is to think about what my goals are, and also to think of all the people that supported me and are still supporting me to get to where I am.
For example, my family believing in me that I could do this even if it seemed impossible given how remote and small of town I came from has helped me to fulfill my dreams. This is my motivation.
What makes me the most nervous is when I am at the starting line and the countdown begins. 3, 2, 1, GO! But after that I’m able to focus on making sure everything will go as I planned.
Of course my family is my biggest fan, since they are the ones who got me into all and are always excited to see the new crazy ideas that I have and support me in the competitions.
The best advice I’ve ever received was from my friend Juanito de Ugarte who said “always be a humble rat, that is the key to success”
My future plans are to train much more than I am now, so I can become the number one kayaker in Chile. And why not — become one of the best 10 kayakers in the world?
The advice that I would give to those who are starting is that if they like kayaking they need to fight to fulfill their goals. Although people may say to you that you are wasting your time, stay focused, nothing is impossible, with steadfastness and dedication you will be able to do everything that you propose to yourself.