At Wansbeck Paddlesports Club, Tom is the man you need to know; I think he might actually be my hero. He has his own special way for doing most things and a passion for the sport that shines like a beacon. Tom also knows everyone, including Nigel Dennis.
The club brought a decent assemblage to Nigel’s Anglesey Sea Kayaking Symposium this year, where a fantastic time was had by all both on and off the water. Sitting together around a too small table at the end of a great day’s paddling, Tom introduced each of us to Nigel. “This is Cara, she’s looking to buy a boat. This is Andrew, also looking to buy a boat. This is Kate, she’s planning a solo circumnavigation of Ireland and requires sponsorship…..” WHAAT?!!! I’d joked with people about the idea of finding sponsorship, but sitting amongst some of the best international coaches in the world, all with incredible achievements to their names, made me feel ridiculous. Some looked impressed, one or two that already know me, half laughed. Still despite my being an unknown within the sea kayaking world, it sparked a fantastic conversation between Nigel and I.
Over the next couple of days I demoed the boats Nigel suggested would be most suitable for the trip and I fell head over heels with the NDK Latitude. In testament to Nigel’s incredible support, I brought one home on loan and, hopefully, there are some exciting things happening at the Sea Kayaking UK factory even as I type. Watch this space!