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Gav Barker

Hometown: Manchester

Living Now: Nottingham

Class: K1 

Disciplines: Freestyle is my main discipline. I also enjoy paddling whitewater rivers. I rarely go surf kayaking.

What's your story?

I started paddling with Bury Canoe and Kayak club on the river Irwell when I was 12…. 26 years later and I still find it as fun, challenging and exciting as that first day on the Irwell.

I compete for Great Britain in Freestyle kayaking and in the UK find myself regularly training at HPP in Nottingham or on the Thames weirs during the winter when the water levels are right. Freestyle competitions have taken me around the world and kept me motivated to continue to improve. While Freestyle is my main discipline, I also love to get out river boating and have had many amazing experiences with friends on rivers across five continents.

I suppose my biggest achievement in freestyle are:

2 x British Champion

6th 2017 World Championships

5th Overall 2018 World Cups

1st Hurly Classic 2019

1st GB Team selection 2020

1st Euro open 2018

Qualifying 2nd from prelims at 2017 & 2019 World Champs

My favourite things about being on the water are; the feeling of nailing a move, a ride or a line one on a rapid and also beauty of the places that kayaking can take you; the Rio Claro gorge, the sun setting over the Batoka gorge while surfing 12b, paddling through the jungle in Ecuador are some of the places that spring to mind!

Quick facts:

Favourite food: Probably going out for tapas

Favourite drink: Strong Coffee. Weak Cordial. IPA.

Favourite music: Indie rock.  Acoustic tunes.

Ultimate paddling destination:

Hmm tricky one, I’d say…. somewhere with the creeking of Chile, the big volume rapids of the Zambezi, the legendary waves of Uganda, play holes like San Juan and surf like Bali. Does that place exist??

Advice to newcomers:

Don’t give up!! Kayaking can be difficult and it takes some time to learn the basics, but once you do progression can be quick. The places you go and the experiences you have make all the hard work well worth it!

Favourite Peak UK kit: 

I love my Semi ST, the freedom of movement, the warmth of the foam in the cag and the infinite colour scheme options make it be best thing on the market to Freestyle! Storm Pants are a great addition for winter freestyle paddling. The Deluxe One Piece is a must have to stay warm and dry on those winter river days.

Favourite Kit:

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