When did you start kayaking and what/who got you interested in the sport?
I started kayaking when I was 14 and have been kayaking for 17 years now. I started kayaking for DofE, but the guys that should get credit for getting me really hooked if the South Avon Canoe Club and a big shout out to Mike Moxin who was willing to take a young and wide-eyed kayaker onto his first class 4.
When did you move to Norway?
I started coming to Norway back in 2001 for my first rafting session. I then spent the next few years working summers in Norway and winter somewhere warm till I moved to Norway full time in 2014.
Where is your favourite country to paddle in apart from Norway?
There are too many places. Generally, for me I like to go to new places where you can explore both the culture and the rivers. But would have to say anywhere in South America has a special place in my heart especially Chile and Ecuador, both have so much good white water, fun and vibrant cultures.
Can you describe your most fearful moment in kayaking? Where were you? What happened? And how did you overcome the situation?
This has to be getting stuck over night in a New Zealand jungle with no equipment. We were on the Waitaha River in the West Coast and had organised a heli run on the South Island. Having been flown in 12 hours before and lots of classic West coast Class 4 / 5 water. We came to Morgans Gorge a 1-hour potage normally. Getting out on the left side like the guidebook said, we started following the trail. Then we followed it over a bridge, bad move as the trail then disappeared, which is not that odd in NZ. We carried on down the river, 5 hours later and it started to get dark we very much realised we were lost and had to stay the night. What followed was a very cold night in wet kayaking equipment with very little sleep.
Using the river and valley as a reference in the morning we hiked another 4 hours to get down to the river and then 1 more hour of paddling out to get to the takeout. There we found a note from friend which said 'Have phoned the police, they will send helicopters up the valley to look for you at 1pm, but I suspect you are just lost happens often'. This was at 12pm and the rally to the police station was 30 mins. 2 hours later and after several pies from the local shop and we were already laughing at it.
What do you do to keep yourself paddle fit when you’re not paddling?
Well I’m definitely not the best at gym training. Don’t think that many kayakers are. But I am super lucky here in Norway. If I can´t be in the boat, I’m normally bouldering all year around or biking in the summer several times a week. A mixture of these two keep me in pretty good shape and in the winter I am out ski touring in the mountains and this definitely gets you in more shape than kayaking!!
When life returns to the new normal, where do you envisage your next personal expedition will take you?
Have plans in the works for Zambezi. I know it’s a well-known location, but somewhere I’ve never been and just looks epic. Otherwise I would love to plan a trip to Peru. There are so many epic multi-day trips in deep canyons and I just love the feeling of being isolated and locked in.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to head to Norway to paddle for the first time?
The biggest thing I’ve seen with kayakers coming to paddle in Norway is paddlers arrive here and get super pumped up and then jump on one of the hardest runs in the area, then break themselves or have a lot of carnage. Just take the first few days get on something chilled and get used to the size and speed. Think of it like acclimatisation in the mountains. I promise you will have a much better trip.