We are excited to announce the ten #ShePaddles Ambassadors for 2020. This year British Canoeing have teamed up with the Scottish Canoe Association (SCA) and Canoe Wales to choose ten inspirational women from the world of paddlesport. The #ShePaddles Ambassadors will be pivotal in promoting paddling and encouraging more women and girls to get on the water.
Last year's ambassadors have done a wonderful job of promoting all types and levels of paddling and encouraging more women and girls to get on the water. We know that this year's ten will do an equally great job and we can't wait to share their stories with you.– Cadi Lambert - British Canoeing
Emma has been on an incredible journey these last few years. From initially trying to work out how to stay on a paddleboard on moving water, to becoming one of the driving forces of Notts WW SUP, organising the annual national WW SUP Dart Trip, and more recently becoming qualified as a BC WW SUP Coach.
At 5ft tall and coming up to 50 this year, Emma admits she's not your typical image of a white water SUP'er. But she is excited about bringing more women into the amazing sport and the WW SUP community.
Kirstie hated canoeing - at 13 years old, on a rainy March day in the Lake District, she spent the afternoon in an uncomfortable wetsuit, struggling to help carry cumbersome boats. "Never again", she said.
Fast forward 16 years and she couldn't imagine being without her canoe. Paddling has been her antidote to stress, anxiety and depression over the past 10 years. Time on the water has taken her to incredible places and allowed her to meet some equally amazing people. She's also made paddlesport part of her career, as an outdoor education instructor, allowing her to share her passion and respect for the water.
After what India refers to as a 'mid 20's crisis' she changed her mindset, completely stopped doing what she felt was expected of her and started doing what fuelled her soul. She left her office job in London, moved to the Kent coast, trained as a yoga teacher and learned how to surf, skateboard and most importantly SUP!
Since 2016 she has been teaching SUPYoga in Folkestone harbour with her local paddle-boarding club. Her time on the water has also brought her closer to caring for the planet and she regularly organises beach cleans in the local community.
Julie started paddling 13 years ago, aged 40, when she moved to Devon. Since then she has become the first woman Club Chair at Totnes Canoe Club.
Her sea kayaking experience has been widespread: from a self supported Greenland trip to expedition paddling in Norway, France, Jersey and across the UK. Alongside this she has grown as a professional coach and as initiator and co-organiser, with Natalie Maderova, for the Women's Sea Kayak Festival, South Devon.
Jessica is the #ShePaddles Ambassador for the Scottish Canoe Association.
Through her work as an outdoor instructor she has come across many people who have enjoyed and benefited from paddling. Jessica feels lucky to have a great bunch of female paddlers to go out with but knows others don't and is looking forward to connecting with more female paddlers online to help them.
She paddles a wide range of boats and her most recent project is to learn to white water SUP.
Del is frequently told by friends that she is the most enthusiastic person about kayaking that they know.
When recently completing an advanced White Water Safety and Rescue course her instructor asked Del why she liked kayaking. Her response was 'it was my life-line'. It is her stress relief from the long hours she works as a teacher, it is the way she looks after her mental health, it's how she has met her closest friends and it is both her social and alone time.
Clare is the #ShePaddles Ambassador for Canoe Wales.
Clare is committed to challenging the perceptions of things women can or can't or should and shouldn't do by standing strong, being an enthusiastic voice, a supporter, promoter, motivator and opinion shifter.
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.
Julie rediscovered paddling two and a half years ago, at the age of 53. Having joined a local club she found she loved it and since then has completed many qualifications and done a huge amount of paddling trips. She now confidently paddles Grade 2 rivers and started paddling and competing C1 and K1 slalom, with a C1 win last year.
Julie doesn't believe there is a more enjoyable, diverse and all-inclusive sport than paddling and that there is something for everyone, whether it's on a SUP, in a kayak or an open canoe, on a lake or river, a canal or the sea.
Hannah has been paddling all her life in some form, whether that was being towed along by her Dad whilst aged just 5 years old, or more recently completing her canoe leader award. I really cannot wait to use this opportunity to share
Hannah wants to use showcase the fact that canoeing is a fantastic and dynamic discipline where everyone can belong, contribute and thrive, especially young females like herself. Her hope is for British Canoeing courses to get to the stage that a female paddler would do a course and wouldn't expect to be the only
Paddling has bought many wonderful experiences and friendships into Eleanor's life and he feels it has shaped her for the better
Since university, she has developed her paddling passion to become an active member of four clubs. She is also an athlete in the GB Women's Canoe Polo squad, juggling her time between paddling and work demands as a junior doctor in the NHS.
Eleanor wants to be an ambassador to promote kayaking for women, especially minority ethnic women who are less likely to participate in sport in general. In addition she's keen to promote the discipline of Canoe Polo.
We hope you join us in welcoming our fantastic ambassadors! Over the coming weeks and months we will be bringing you lots more about their paddling stories and introducing you to them on social media.