Hi everyone, my name is Kelly Jury and to be completely honest with you when Jimmy approached me and asked me to write some blogs about my goals and my paddling for his website I was extremely reluctant to say the least.
However, after a couple of conversations and some convincing I agreed to put some thoughts down in the hope that you may learn something new about paddling and the people who take part in this great sport.
My passion for paddling began when I was 16. I started paddling surf skis as part of my training for Ironwoman racing, which at the time was my sole sporting focus. I enjoyed paddling the ski but most of all I loved the challenge the surf offered, paddling out in big surf certainly gets the blood pumping and is something that has got me into some trouble over the years.
When I was 16 I attended my first ever World Surf Life Saving Championships in New Zealand. As the youngest member of our team I was over the moon to be involved in this event and when I finished 7th in the Open Womens Ski I thought to myself ‘gee this ski paddling game could be for me’.
After returning from New Zealand I was selected to compete in the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Series the following season for the Tasmanian Torpedoes and I was teamed up with some surf life saving legends including Jim Walker, Nathan Smith, Simon Harris and Hayley Bateup. It was during my three seasons in the Kellogg’s that I had the pleasure of getting to know Jim Walker as he was our team captain. This was an experience I will never forget, I remember thinking to myself ‘this guy is so full of energy’ I had never met anyone who talked so much and played so many practical jokes and I loved it.
In 2001, after three season competing in the Ironwoman and swim events in the Kellogg’s Series, I underwent shoulder surgery and missed the entire 2001/02 season. After 12 months on the sidelines I returned to training and quickly realised that the new shoulder did not agree with the combination of swimming, board paddling and ski paddling. I was faced with the decision of giving up surf completely or focusing on one of the three disciplines and it was the latter decision that I went with.
I started training and racing on the ski under the guidance of former Uncle Toby’s Ironman Grant Wilkinson and won back-to-back NSW Open Women’s Ski titles and a NSW Open Women’s Taplin Relay with Cronulla SLSC.
Having competed quiet seriously in Surf Life Saving for several years my motivation to continue to compete started to deteriorate. My sole focus for several years had been winning the open women’s ski at Aussies – a goal that I have still not achieved. I began questioning myself and if I really wanted to continue paddling. I had toyed with the idea of trying Kayaking but was totally freaking out about stepping outside my comfort zone into something new and unknown.
Then on New Years Eve 2007 I crossed paths with Jimmy and his family on a beach of all places, after a surf on the NSW central coast. I got talking to Jim and explained my situation and he suggested that perhaps I should come and try Kayaking with him and his squad at St George Kayak Club – once again I reluctantly accepted this offer.
I started paddling with Jimsquad in February 2008 and soon found myself enjoying my paddling once again. I could see the benefits of the kayak training in my ski paddling and was beginning to enjoy serious competition. In late 2008 I made a very hard decision and changed clubs to join my best friend Kristyl Smith and race for Northcliffe SLSC on the Gold Coast. In my first season with the club I collected five gold medals at the QLD State Championships and went on to win the Open Women’s Taplin Relay and finish second in the Open Women’s Double Ski at the Australian Titles – all of which would not have been possible without the help and guidance of Jim Walker.
After Aussies I reflected on my year and the changes I made and thought long and hard about where I want to go and what I want to achieve. I set my goals for 2009/10 for both surf and kayaks and have a number of things I hope to achieve this season. I honestly believe with the help of Jim and my training partners that these goals can be achieved and I can’t wait to kick off a big summer of racing.
I will be sure to keep you posted on how the season unfolds with regular updates on mykayakcoach.com.
See you on the water,