We are pleased to welcome Jamie to the Canoe and Kayak Store Sponsored Paddlers Team, Jamie will be representing the store and Select Paddles UK, Jamie is also part of the new business Paddle 365 which he started with fellow team paddler Luke Partridge, where they live, eat and breath paddle sport!
Photo Credit: Martin Linford
I started kayaking as an East London teenager, I discovered my passion for the outdoors through kayaking by virtue of the fact I was rubbish at football. In the 11 years since the mind boggling discovery that you can be active without being a thrower or a catcher, I have tried to get out into the world's wild places as often as possible. My preferred method of transport is by kayak down a white water river, but I acknowledge that planes, trains, bikes, buses and boots are also useful tools to help explorers to get amongst it!
The inner-London boating clubs that I grew up in gave me a firm foundation of basic skills, that I then built upon when I began entering my first moving water slalom races and going on longer white water trips to Scotland and Slovenia with the club. University was the real tipping point in my paddling career. Having arrived as a keen but still pretty green river paddler, the demands of the Leeds University Canoe Club life meant my all around kayaking skills were pushed, as well as my coaching and guiding. Since University I have lived a double life. On the one hand, a mild mannered Paddle sports instructor and youth worker, and on the other, a white water and expedition kayaker who just can't stop craving for more!
Kayaking has taken me to many places in the world, but the ones closest to my heart are Nepal and the Southern Alps. I have visited these beautiful paddling areas more times than one hand can count, and hold them up as benchmarks in my white-water career. Nepal; the first trip that opened my eyes to the multitude of adventure possibilities that were open to little old me. The Alps; the place where I first started to feel like I was really getting good!
Over the past year my kayaking has consisted of:
- Delivering regular community and youth, kayak and canoe skills sessions;
- Chasing rain all around the UK repeatedly (North Wales is my favourite!)
- Touring Les Alps on a 6 week road trip bagging rivers and trying my hand at extreme racing;
- One big fat Nepal kayaking extravaganza with my good friend and colleague Luke Partridge. As soon as the monsoon season had finished, we spent our first week experiencing the awesome white water of Central Nepal, and came away with 6th and 7th place in the Bhote Koshi Express Race, which was organised by our friends at the Nepal Kayak Club. Clients then arrived and it was time to work. Luke and I had spent the past year putting together an amazing itinerary of Class 3+ multi-river kayaking in the Himalayas for the team of 5 who joined us over an 11 day period. This was a resounding success, and we came away resolved to do it again and even better next year! The final jewel in the crown was getting to paddle the legendary Humla Karnali. This great river drains directly from Mt. Kailash, and paddling the 200km of Class 4/5/6 in our final week in Nepal was truly awe inspiring. We are already planning our next trip, as 'Paddle 365'. For more info head to paddle365.co.uk
As well as working as a professional white water performance coach, I recreationally paddle to the highest level, and have claimed descents of some of the world's most beautiful and powerful rivers. This is how I plan to go on.
Paddler Profile in his own words:
I came from a land far away, my father made the decision to ensure the survival of our kind he sent me to Earth in my kayak on a quest to seek out and conquer the thing you now call WHITEWATER!
Name: Jamie Greenhalgh
DOB: 20th November
Boats Currently Paddling: Pyranha 9R: The perfect boat for my style of paddling. Carry all of the speed and have all of the fun!
Dagger Centrifuge: Reserved now for play runs, this is the first boat I ever paddled, and when the chance came to buy it 2nd hand from my old centre I snapped it up.
Crystal the slalom boat: A relic from my canoe slalom days where I was first introduced to white water; I could never quite bring myself to sell her. She is beautiful, sleek and fast.
Favourite piece of Equipment: My favourite piece of gear is 100% my 9R. A friend talked me into trying the boat around a year ago, and I have been enjoying it ever since. It is fast and incredibly reactive; as soon as my paddle digs the bow out of the water the boat begs to fly in whichever way I choose. This means each piece of water I take it down is just as fun as the last, and my inner Springer Spaniel is channelled on the river more and more. The 9R is the ideal vehicle for kayaking progression at an advanced level.
Proudest Achievement: Spring/Summer 2015 I worked guiding rafts in Japan for Big Wave Rafting. When I left the UK I had basically no idea what I was walking into. There were no English 1st language speakers in the company, I hadn't ever rafted before and I couldn't speak a word of Japanese. On the other hand, the town was beautiful, everyone was awesome company, and the river was great fun. I was taken in initially by the Nepalese guides, while I found my feat. They had the best English and helped me to get my foot in the door of Japanese and Rafting. By the end of the season I was a decent guide and I spoke passable conversational Japanese. The customers were 99% non-English speaking Japanese, and I enjoyed the challenge of guiding in a new language. I loved that season and felt I had achieved a lot.
Photo Credit: Penny Dixie
Favourite place to paddle: Nepal. Incredible scenery/culture/people/MOUNTAINS/KAYAKING. I've been back 4 times in total now with another scheduled for October 2017. Nepal offers long and epic adventures with many trials but also the reward of incredible and consistent white water for days. A true multi-day river paradise that I have grown to feel a deep connection with.
Likes: Scheming adventures/carrying out schemes, and also ice cream.
Dislikes: Sitting still when there are schemes to be plotted or seen through, and also bowling.
Keep an eye out for Jamie out and about on the water, give him a friendly wave or pick his brains about our range of Select Paddles, if you want to follow Jamie’s adventures then you can find him on facebook or follow his blog: https://jamiegadventures.wordpress.com/ or check out his videos on his youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/thecatwith9lives (see Mangroves & Mayhem for my best work).