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Go Deep­

Real World Application

Listen up!

Learn to Breathe­, Settle Down, Focus on what You Want, Be Present and Work Hard, and Incorporate Gratitude, Excitement and Devotion into everything you do.

Go Deep! 

Get a Strong Start and Own the Race!

Lets talk about the Go Deep! process as it relates to a race as a metaphor for handling a challenge and then to a specific race that features Harrison Deisroth in an OC1 (one man outrigger canoe) in the Columbia Gorge. Harrison, in paddling terms, is a bull. He was the Captain of the World Champion Ka Lahui Kai Junior Crew in this year’s Molo Challenge.

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Real World Application

A race features: preparation (mental and physical), a plan, a start, a course, a finish and a debrief.

Harrison’s race was down river in the Columbia Gorge on the Washington/Oregon border. The conditions and format were very different than anything he had ever done. The weather was cold and the start and early race was extremely stressful. In his words, “At the start and throughout the first part of the race I felt tight in my arms, shoulders and neck. In short, I was trying too hard and struggling to get on track. It didn’t help that I was in tenth place.”

Learn to Breathe

A race, by definition, involves extreme exertion in order to be competitive. The need to settle down and manage your emotional output is compounded by the need to focus, be present and work hard.

There are three types of intentional breathing: Essential, Performance and Power. All three are needed to give your best effort. Essential helps with the settle-down, performance helps to manage your intensity, form and power. Power helps to build endurance, discipline and recovery.

Settle Down­­

The breathing when done right helps you to be calm, clear and confident. 

Harrison recognized after the start that he needed to settle ­down. “Suddenly,” he said, “ I remembered to breathe: I took three short, rapid clearing breathes and I was able to settle down and focus on feeling the complete stroke. This helped me to bring myself present and began to pick up the tempo and move the boat.”

Focus on what you want The instructions before the race were to always turn to the right as you come around a bend. Harrison’s intuition was to find and feel the best line for him. “At this point I wanted to get back into the race.”

Be Present and Work Hard

As Harrison began to stay more in the middle of the Gorge, he found his line and started to move up place by place. Harrison explains, “As I moved into second place my confidence was back. I was able to create some real momentum and take over first place.”

As Harrison started to extend his lead he felt himself getting tight. “The pressure of being in the lead took its toll, my confidence turned to doubt and my paddling went back to being mechanical.

At this point the paddler in second place took the lead and created some momentum of his own. Gradually, Harrison slipped too far behind to catch him and wound up finishing in second place.

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Harrison Deisroth at the Columbia Gorge OC1 Outrigger Race, photo by Tom Gomes

Incorporate Gratitude, Excitement and Devotion into everything you do.


The ability to train your brain to be grateful for the challenges in your life. This positive emotion will allow you to be aware of the why this challenge is so important to you and to focus on the solution and the expectations (that the event, others and you have for yourself).

Harrison is grateful. “I appreciate all of the learning I’ve gained from this race. I want to learn how to “start strong and own my race” in all areas of my life. In order to start strong, I need to be able to settle down and be calm and focus on my plan from start to finish. To own my race, I need to execute the plan to completion.”


The ability to accept the demands of the challenge, train with the right energy and be present and access the skills and power required to perform at your best under pressure. 

Harrison is excited. “Right now I’m dealing with the pressure of getting into the college of my choice. The two aspects of college that mean the most to me are the military and being a fighter pilot. I’m excited every day to deal with the pressure and follow the plans I’ve laid out for myself. Thanks to the “Go Deep'” process I’m learning to be excited for the opportunities to work hard, settle down and compete.


The ability to balance the awareness of what you want with the acceptance of the energy required to get the job done.

Harrison is devoted. “I’ve learned that I need to have the self-discipline to follow the “Go Deep” process and practice the breathing everyday in every way. I also need to continue to work hard on having the confidence in my ability to enjoy the work and avoid the tendency to get tight when things don’t work out exactly the way I want them to. My work in this area has taught me that I can trust in my ability to get the job done.”

Go Deep! Get a Strong Start and Own the Race!

Get a Strong start and Own Your Race vs. Get a Strong Start and Own the Race. To own your Race is to meet your expectations. To Own the Race is to lead from start to finish.

Jamie Mitchell, Big Wave Surfer, 10 times Paddleboard Champion, originally from Australia and presently living on the North Shore, owned the Molo Race for ten years from 2002 to 2012.

Hunter Pflueger speaks to Owning the Race at this years Worlds

“By no means do I compare my self to Jamie Mitchell, but for me, I needed to start strong and give myself a chance to own the race. When I found myself in first place after the start, I pursued  a dominant performance. Thanks to my training and all of the opportunities I’ve had to learn how to settle down in situations like this­, I was able to breathe, focus on holding my position and not count my chickens before they hatch. This routine dialed me in to own the race.” 

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Hunter Pflueger, USA’s Men’s Paddleboard Distance World Champion, Surf City El Salvador

That’s HiLevel!