I’m ecstatic to announce I have been selected as one of British Canoeing’s #ShePaddles Ambassadors for 2021/22!
British Canoeing #ShePaddles Ambassadors are chosen yearly to promote the fantastic variety and benefits of paddlesport. The ambassadors are chosen to represent paddlesport at a range of different levels and in a variety of disciplines. All of the ambassadors have fantastic and unique stories about why they paddle. One thing they all have in common is their passion for getting outdoors and sharing their love of the sport with others.
Keep up to date with my blog for the She Paddles Ambassador interview series with this years ambassadors.
I am a pretty novice paddler having only started paddle boarding in 2020. I had paddled in canoes and done some sailing as a child but other than that I am very much a novice paddler.
I bought my own board at the end of 2020 and have been enjoying paddling since, exploring the river and coast of Suffolk as well as the highland and islands of Scotland. My passion for paddling also leads into my passion for access, I campaign to improve access on land and on the water.
According to Clear Access Clear Waters less than 4% of rivers across England and Wales have a clear right of access, meaning that the great majority of the public are at very real risk of confrontation and challenge each time they take to the water for enjoyment. This is because access to those waterways has been disputed for more than 60 years and the situation is getting worse.
I am planning to use the opportunity as a #ShePaddles Ambassador to raise awareness of the lack of access on the water and share my experiences as a beginner paddler to inspire more women to take to the water for the first time.
As a new 2021/22 #ShePaddles Ambassador I was invited, with the 15 other ambassadors, to British Canoeing‘s head quarters in Nottingham for an induction.
It was a brilliant day meeting the other ambassadors, getting to know them and meet the British Canoeing staff team. We got to know each other and find out each others paddling stories and what we wanted to achieve as ambassadors. British Canoeing got some promotional photos and videos of the new ambassadors which took many of us our of our comfort zones.
We also got to meet some of last years 2020 ambassadors and find out what they had made of their year. We had a truly inspirational talk from Clare Rutter.
In 2017, Clare sustained a life changing Traumatic Brain Injury. It didn’t dampen or dent her determination but it did knock her confidence. She has had to re-learn and re-establish skills and knowledge to enable her to reclaim her life. Returning to paddlesport post-injury has been a great vehicle for her to do just that.
Clare used her year as a #ShePaddles ambassador to motivate and inspire others to get paddling via her writing and motivational speaking, showing us what is possible with our opportunities.
Our day at British Canoeing HQ finished with a game of SUP ball. I’d never even heard of the game before blowing up my paddle board that afternoon but it can be best described as a combination of netball, water polo, lacrosse, and rugby – played on stand up paddle boards.
I spent more time in the water than on my board as my competitive side certainly came out but it was a fantastically fun game and a great way to feel on a level playing field with the other ambassadors. The other ambassadors are all very talented paddlers many with years experience on the water from playing water polo to being coaches and expedition leaders of paddling adventures. So the SUP ball games were great as many of the ambassadors had never been on a SUP so as a beginner I was still confident enough to get stuck in and be part of the team.
Watch this space for the #ShePaddles interviews and for more on access on the water!