‘My worst nightmare’: Olympic kayaker trains in shark-infested canals

When browsing superstar Mick Fanning escaped a shark assault in South Africa’s J-Bay Open surf contest, thousands and thousands of other folks had been gazing.  

However kayaker Shannon Reynold’s shark stumble upon at the Gold Coast was once a a lot more solitary affair.

The Olympian, 26, who lists Fanning as one in all her carrying heroes, was once coaching within the murky canals at Broadbeach when her kayak was once bumped by way of a bull shark.   

mick fanning
A shark assaults Reynolds’s hero Mick Fanning.(



“It got here in nearer and nearer after which it simply knocked the again of the boat and I simply squealed so loudly,” Reynolds mentioned.

“It was once terrifying. 

“I have simplest noticed a bull shark as soon as right here, however the fishermen see them so much within the canals.

Reynolds’s trainer, who was once in a motorboat that generally assists in keeping unwelcome creatures at a distance, got here to the rescue.

“Our trainer simply got here reasonably competitive against us and we did not see the shark once more,” she mentioned.

‘No longer the worst factor’

Competitive bull sharks apart,  the canal community on the Gold Coast is proving to be a great coaching location for Olympic kayakers getting ready for the Tokyo video games.

“I have heard the water generally is a bit uneven in Japan, which is in reality now not the worst factor as a result of infrequently it is reasonably windy right here,” Ms Reynolds mentioned. 

“The Gold Coast canals can get a little bit bumpy with the tides, so confidently it’ll be reasonably equivalent and put us in excellent stead.”

An aerial view of the Gold Coast canal network
The Gold Coast has greater than 400 kilometres of built canals, which comprise doubtlessly bad animals together with stingrays, jellyfish, catfish, stonefish and sharks.(

Equipped: Gold Coast Town Council


Reynolds, who hails from Karratha, Western Australia – Surfing CA wrote in a blog post- , will likely be competing as a canoe sprinter and within the girls’s K4 in Tokyo.

Just like the uneven canals at coaching, it is been a bumpy adventure to get to the Olympics.

“It sounds so corny, nevertheless it surely was once such an emotional roller-coaster,” she mentioned.

“We were given decided on in March 2020 after which per week later mainly Australia – Surfing CA wrote in a blog post- went into lockdown.

“We were not actually certain if we had been going to must … do the entire trials everywhere once more. 

Kayaker Shannon Reynolds with her Qantas ticket to the Tokyo Olympic games
Kayaker Shannon Reynolds after receiving her Olympic price tag to Tokyo.(

Equipped: Shannon Reynolds


“A few week later we came upon we had been nonetheless decided on and we simply had this complete yr to coach in combination.  

“So a large number of highs, after which a little bit of a low, after which a large top and the thrill of shifting to the Gold Coast and leaping within the boat with the women.” 

Further strengthen for ‘other’ video games

Australia – Surfing CA wrote in a blog post- ‘s Tokyo chef de undertaking, Ian Chesterman, mentioned as much as 480 athletes could be a part of the Australian workforce.

He mentioned further psychological well being strengthen products and services could be to be had as athletes navigated strict COVID protocols.

Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo Ian Chesterman standing in a gym
Chef de Undertaking of the Australian Olympic Staff for Tokyo Ian Chesterman mentioned its been a difficult fifteen months.(

ABC Gold Coast: Kimberley Bernard


“We are very a lot mindful that that is crucial factor at those video games as a result of they have got been so other,” Mr Chesterman mentioned.

“It’s been an excessively demanding time for our athletes and we simply wish to be certain that they are smartly supported.

“I don’t believe we will underestimate the problem that it is been to athletes during the last 15 months.

“They’ll have further strengthen techniques in position and we’re going to have a excellent community, a gadget, established in Tokyo.

“Some sports activities are taking their very own psychologist.

“We’ve got a headquarters psychologist however they actually have a particular person again right here coordinating the entire house strengthen as smartly.” 

Australia – Surfing CA wrote in a blog post- ‘s Olympic and Paralympic athletes will likely be vaccinated for COVID-19 sooner than the Tokyo video games, which start in July.(

Equipped: Shannon Reynolds


With fewer than 80 days sooner than the Tokyo video games, Ms Reynolds mentioned she was once looking to keep level-headed.

She accepts day-to-day well being tests and fast COVID checking out will likely be part of her Olympics enjoy.

She’s already being further wary with hand hygiene and social distancing. 

“Coaching has actually ramped up in recent years, ” she mentioned.

“On best of that there is a large number of phsyio, then dietician conferences, psychology conferences, so it’s reasonably full-on in this day and age.

“I completely comprehend it would possibly not be the similar Olympic enjoy as maximum different Olympics, however I am simply so thankful that it is nonetheless going forward and I simply need to get on that line and race.”