Dislocation. That was something I was hoping to never experience. As I know now, life moves fast and you have to stay on your toes. Last time I checked in was the night before the start of the U23 world championships in Penrith Australia. I’ve now had a few weeks to reflect on my plans for the future and find the time to send out an update.

How it happened…after finishing my first run I had nothing going through my head. Just sitting waiting for my time and penalties to pop up on the scoreboard on the right bank after the finish line. Hoping for minimal damage from my spin on the top of the course. I came up to the second wave/hole after crossing the finish line, I started to flip and lifted my paddle to brace but I was out of breath and didn’t get a proper brace in. Rather than flipping as you normally would, this time my shoulder had fallen to the trough of the wave and my blade stayed on top of the foam pile pushing my shoulder way up and out of the socket. I didn’t know the shoulder was out until I rolled up with it…I knew after that. Upon rolling up I had lucked out and floated into the river right eddy while frantically looking for help. Thea Froehlich was the first to jump in the water and a whole group of my teammates & competitors followed which made all the difference in getting me out of my boat without further injury. Pretty awesome feeling to have everyone jump into the water without hesitation when a fellow paddler is in need.

Following many paddling related injuries comes the questions about rehab options and surgery. After meeting with a doctor on site in Australia, a sports doctor in Ottawa, my physiotherapist (thank you mum), and finally a surgeon I decided to book a surgery date. Simply put, my chance of re-dislocating my shoulder will fall roughly from 95% to 5%. Re-dislocating my shoulder would mean going for surgery regardless and then potentially working through two rounds of rehab. I’m also thinking about the long term outcome, and my intention to paddle rivers and canoe trip for the rest of my life. Now the bigger debate is the timing of it all and potential for qualifying for funding. It seems there’s never a right decision in these situations. It will come down to risk vs. reward and whether or not I can afford the next season without funding. These days I am moved in to my new house right beside the civic hospital (come by and say hey anytime) and taking 2 courses to work ahead in my engineering degree. Just moving back in to paddling now with a bit of running and slacklining on the side to keep busy. More updates to come!


Off to the canal for my first paddle back in the C-1 since dislocation

Having a shoulder dislocated meant I was done paddling for a long time, but the competition was far from over. I had a blast running all of my team mates down the course cheering them on to go as fast as they could go. Given that this race was in such a remote location the number of athletes that attended was much lower than in 2013; However, the athletes that did attend made for a strong depth of field in that top 10 to 15 cut off. Here’s how Team Canada finished up:

Under 23 Team

C-1 Men (Canoe singles – field of 47)
Liam Smedley – 37th
Yannick Laviolette – 39th
Michael Tayler – 41st

C-1 Women (Canoe singles – field of 18)
Alexandra Mcgee – 18th

K-1 Women (Kayak singles – Field of 34)
Thea Froehlich – 24th
Jazmyne Denhollander – 25th
Florence Maheu – 29th

K-1 Men (Kayak singles – field of 46)
Michael Tayler – 32nd
Adrian Cole – 41st

 Junior Team

C-1 Men (Canoe singles – field of 31)
Zachary Zuanenberg – 28th

C-1 Women (Canoe singles – field of 15)
Kylie Zirk – 15th

K-1 Women (Kayak singles – field of 32)
Hannah Penner – 19th
Kylie Zirk – 31st

K-1 Men (Kayak singles – field of 51)
Ryler Penner – 23rd
Zachary Zuanenberg – 24th
Maxime Leboeuf – 34th

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author: Liam Smedley

Loves photography, outdoors tripping, crafting coffee & brewing kombucha. Frequently found in his hammock by the river.


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