This week we caught up with Team Paddler Andy ‘Chips’ Kettlewell who started off as a slalom paddler and now works for Canoe Wales as a kayak coach. Right now he’s in Iceland rafting, kayaking and generally living his best life.
Where are you currently based?
Where are you based when in the UK?
What is your day job?
Kayak Coach for Canoe Wales coaching slalom to the development programme. Part time traveller and raft guide
Where did you grow up?
When and how did you get into kayaking?
Through a family friend at the local kayak club
Favourite kayaking discipline?
Slalom, although I now river run 95% of the time without my slalom technique/ tactical/ physiology/ phycology background I would not have the skills to paddle the way I do.
What boat(s) do you paddle?
Dagger Rewind (small, formally axiom 8.0) and a Waka Tuna 2.0 when it gets bigger
Where’s your favourite river or place to paddle in the UK and why?
The South Wales Triple crown is undoubtably the best day out you can have in the UK.
Where’s your favourite river or place to paddle outside the UK and why?
Oetztal. So many different sections on the Oetz itself as well as so many rivers within a 3 hour drive.
Tell us a bit about your favourite kayaking adventure
There’s some stories that just don’t need to be told that will put you off paddling for life, but it’s in those moments the most learning is done!
What advice would you give to someone new to kayaking?
Don’t just be a kayaker, be an all-round athlete. To get the best progression in sport your body has to be physically ready.
What advice would you give to someone looking to take the next step and improve their kayaking?
Coaching! It’s so easy to get into kayaking and ‘survive’ a river. But always strive to be technically better, your days out will become way more fun and smoother!
River Legacy supports grassroots paddling and encourages participation in paddlesport, how important is that to you and what would you like to see RL do over the next couple of years?
Continue what you’re doing. Paddlers supporting paddlers is the best thing in the world. People in the UK don’t realise how lucky they are! Across the globe the support structure for development just isn’t there!
What is your favourite River Legacy event and why?
Teifi! The perfect beginner event, great party, great location and great atmosphere!
What are your plans for 2021?
Who knows with COVID but let’s pray for open travel and plenty of tourism work! If that comes off then Portugal, PNW, Iceland, Austria, India, and Chile are all on the list