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'Paddlers can help protect nature for future generations'

Peter Gowans, the UK Country Manager of ERDINGER, a key partner of British Canoeing, shares his passion for paddling and how important protecting the environment is to him. 

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Peter Gowans, the UK Country Manager of ERDINGER, out on the water.

“Being so close to nature and the feel of the kayak moving through the water is just so special,” said Peter Gowans, ERDINGER’s UK Country Manager.   

Peter fell in love with paddling during lockdown and, while he is not quite ready to take part in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, just yet, he is well aware of the allure and health benefits of being outdoors and on the water. 

A family holiday to the Norfolk Broads also brought home the incredible wildlife you see along the waterways.   

“You have time to take in so much and it’s always nice to get a smile from the people you encounter along the way, be it in vessels or on land.”
Earlier this year British Canoeing announced a new commercial partnership with ERDINGER Alkoholfrei to help grow paddlesport and support our environmental work on inland waterways.   

The company was an official partner at the The ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships, in June and July, and will be again for the ICF World Slalom Championships in September 2023.   

We have been very slow in this country to embrace the change needed to reduce waste.

– Peter Gowans
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The isotonic Alkoholfrei drink has been a staple at the finish line for some of the biggest triathlon, running and cycling events for many years and it is going down very well with our athletes at the National Watersports Centre and Lee Valley.   

As the partnership develops, ERDINGER want to get involved with supporting some of the cleanups by being out on the bank side helping out volunteers doing important environmental work.    

Peter knows full well the issues facing paddlers, including pollution and areas overwhelmed by invasive non-native vegetation.   

“I often scoop up glass and plastic bottles that I encounter while paddling on the Thames,” he said.   

“My local river has too much weed and trees blocking safe access, so it is not an option for now.”   

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Peter Gowans said paddling has become a family pursuit.

He is keen to get behind campaigns like The Big Paddle Cleanup, which saw the paddling community remove dozens of sacks of plastic pollution from our inland and coastal waters.     

He said: “The Big Paddle Cleanup is a fantastic project which so many people [have taken] part in, for the huge benefit of keeping our waterways open.   

“Pursuing outdoor sports such as paddling gives you a heightened awareness of the world around us.   

“It is important to protect the natural environment so that it is there for future generations to enjoy as much as we do.”   

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Ben Seal, Head of Access & Environment (left) with Peter Gowans ERDINGER’s UK Country Manager (right).