Interview - Vawn Humphrey Wilson Sponsored Paddler


 1) Hey Vawn, where a bout's are you now and what are you up to?

I am in Bedford competing at a national race in order to get to division 1 which is one of my goals from the beginning of the 2016 season
2) How did you get into Canoe Slalom and why do you enjoy it?
I got into canoe slalom through trips with my youth club laburnum boat club, who had slalom sessions held on a Wednesday to help promote the sport to others and get them involved in it. I got into canoe slalom because I love being on the water and being competitive and also it allows me to get into a mental state where I can just let go and make decisions to run with the water or against it.
It also allows me to go to different parts of the UK and socialise with others instead of seeing the same people in my local area everyday .
3) Have you been paddling much this year? If so where?
I  have  paddled a lot this year mainly in the UK at shepperton weir and in different parts of the UK such as Bala in Wales, Lea valley white-water centre Nottingham (Hpp) and at my local youth club laburnum boat club in hackney these are all great places to be as it is mainly for socialising and training with others and learning from each other, one of the steps you may have to take in order to progress and perform at an elite level.
My youth club is no 1 in London for its diversity of people and the different kids they enroll whether you're disabled or not they will still welcome you because they feel you could be a great success and they would rather see you on the canal paddling and enjoying yourself than on the street doing illegal things where you're more vulnerable .  
I started there when I was 9 and I never knew anyone but I felt safe because I trusted staff around me and they felt like a big family because they care for you and your very important to them. As I got older I realised how much time they had put into me in order for me to become more independent by setting up courses, workshops trips which have helped with my team building and communication skills which I didn't’ have a lot of before . But looking back on it I am grateful I went to my youth club as it has taught me a lot of things.

4) Do you have any events or trips planned that you are looking forward to? Do you have any goals for the near future?
I am going to Dubai to watch my sister take part in the world championships for rafting, it will be my first time going to Dubai and experiencing the very hot weather it is famous for.  My goals for the near future in canoe slalom are to get to prem before I am 18also to get on the junior GB team and hopefully be selected for the Olympics. I would like to get on the GB team because I will be able to get more experience and get to know more experienced paddlers and how they train on a regular basis.
5) Which other paddlers inspire you?
Joe Clarke inspires me because he went to his first Olympics thinking he was going to get the gold medal and messed up in his heats due to anxiety of making it to the Olympics and then recovering in the semi finals and then giving 100 percent in the final going home with the gold. It just tells me that whatever you put your mind too you can achieve it and it’s not impossible unless you make it impossible. Another person who inspires me is my coach Gordon walling who gives up his time every Tuesday and Saturday to support me and many others to help us progress and become successful in the sport like he did when  he became world champion and world champions with his brother in c2 . This has inspired me a lot as it has open my eyes to how hard it will be just to get at a elite level and the amount of time you have to put in in order to reach those long term goals you set yourself.
6) Do you have any advice for people looking to get involved in Canoe Slalom?
My advice for people getting into canoe slalom is to give it a try because you never know you could be good at it and you may enjoy it also its a brilliant sport which can lead you to many things and surprise other people. Because, they may not have heard about it and may find it a bit new as they're used to football and basketball . But that’s just someone’s perception of it and it can only be changed if you want it to by expressing yourself. Kayak slalom/canoe slalom whatever you want to call it is a great way to do that.

 7) Here at Reed we're always working closely with athletes to get valuable feedback. What equipment do you use and what do you like about it? Is there any improvements you might suggest?
I use the Aquatherm Topdeck and I like that it is very flexible, durable and very warm and dry  when I need it to be anywhere in the UK were it is very cold. Also it dries very quickly which is a good thing for when I have a competition which is held on two days or a training campacross the winter period. One improvement I would suggest is to make the deck more flexible so it’s easier for the back of the deck to stay on without someone manually pulling it down.

Thanks for all your answer Vawn - A very interesting insight. It's been great watching you develop and we wish you all the best with your future in this amazing sport we love!

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