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Current country : Still in Nottingham
What's your story?
My first exposure to paddling was on a kayak simulator when I was about 10. My dad then took me to some pool sessions at the local leisure centre, I was a pretty shy kid so I think my folks saw kayaking as a way to get me out the house. From here I then moved onto Regatta Lake with the Legend that is George Oliver, followed by hitting the moving water at HPP. The summer of 2007 was when I really got hooked on freestyle and since then I’ve pretty much been trying to paddle as much as physically possible.12 years later and I’m still here as motivated as ever to keep paddling and learning new things. It was this love of mastering new skills which really drew me to freestyle, competition was initially as a sort of second thought and a justification for paddling as much as I was. Over the years the competition has become more central as I’ve improved, wanted more challenges and also embraced my competitive side.
Over the last three years or so I’ve started to become a reasonably consistent competitor at most international events I’ve been to. Winning the Natural Games in 2018 and the 4th place finish at the Worlds in Argentina in 2017 are the two competitive highlights so far, hopefully with more to come. Ultimately there is far more to my freestyle paddling than the competition and results. It’s definitely nice to win things but if I look back at 2019 my highlights have been a wider variety of things. From the satisfaction of hitting my dream inlet gate ride in training for the first time and putting down my smoothest most technically perfect ride under pressure at Brit Champs to meeting and hanging out with some cool new folks and catching up with old friends at the Montreal Eau Vive event in Canada and a surprise Trent Lock session with some of my best friends from the paddling community.
Favourite food: I do like a good Pizza
Favourite drink: I’m partial to a nice cold glass of milk
Favourite music: My other great passion, generally guitar based but people who have quite unique styles and experiment with what a guitar can sound like. A dangerous thing to ask me about if I’ve had a couple of beers, you may never escape!
Ultimate paddling destination: Uganda was pretty special the two times I got out there just before the most recent dam was finished. The Ottawa is also a really good freestyle trip.
Motto: I’m not really one for mottos and motivational quotes
Advice to newcomers: Always try to have fun on the water and whilst having big goals is good make sure you take enjoyment from the small step along the way to achieving them. From a technical point of view try and learn new moves on both sides at the same time, I’d hate to admit how long I’ve been working on getting my left hand moves up to the same level as my right.
Favourite Peak UK kit : The Semi ST – As soon as the Racer ST came out I was hassling Ibbo to convince Pete and Paul to make a freestyle version and now we finally have it. The feel of it on isn’t massively different, especially if you paddle with quite a loose BA, but whenever I wear mine I notice a definite performance gain. With the custom prints they also look really cool.
Stretch Fleece Base Layers – These have been really warm through the last couple of winters. This is the one layer I’ll always wear. Layer up some other thermals underneath and then put this on top. They seem to wick really well also, keeping all moisture on the outside away from your body.