Full Interview with Jack Barker - Current Men's Long Boat Surf Kayak World Champion
Jack Barker is a member of the England Surf Kayaking Squad and won the Surf Kayak World Championships on Pantin Beach, Galicia, Spain in 2015. We caught up with Jack to hear about his year, his thoughts looking forward and his opionion on our competition cag decks.
Hey Jack, where abouts are you now and what are you up to?
I live in Bude Cornwall, about 2 minutes walk from the beach. I work as an Apprentice Heating Engineer and Plumber for a local firm. I'm finally in my 4th and last year of the apprenticeship.
Congratulations on a great year and your new title as the Men's Long Boat Surf Kayaking World Champion! What else have you been up to and what highlights have you enjoyed?
Thanks :) It was a complete surprise to even get to the semi finals so winning the championship was mind-blowing! Other than surfing and working you'll find me in my local gym. Training hard to become ever better.
Highlights..... the whole World Championships trip??? I spent almost a week travelling the coast of northern Spain with some of my best friends and my incredible girlfriend. Then another week and a half at the fantastic Pantin beach and local breaks. It really was one of the best surf trips I've ever had, and all we did was.. surf. haha
Where and when did you start surf kayaking and where are your favourite waves to train?
I began kayaking when I was 12 and I joined Bude Canoe Club. The following year I was bought my first surf kayak, a Riot Boogie. We would surf at Summerleaze and Crooklets beach in Bude. Its now been 10 years of kayaking, and 9 years of surfing and competing. Bude still is my home break and one of my favourite areas to surf, there is just so much diversity to the area. If you're willing to travel and get lost on our country roads, you may just find one of the best breaks of your life.
Which other paddlers inspire you?
There really have been so many. Basically the whole England Team, past and present.
Jack Horwell gave me my first introduction to surf kayaking as he lived in my village,
Sam Davenport, another powerful surf kayaker that was with Bude Canoe Club,
Chris Hobson, multiple time World Champion, fantastic surfer and an even better mate,
Marc Woolward, my neighbour when he's not living in California,
Aidan Brackenbury, we competed together in the junior circuit. Constantly pushing each other, we still remain great friends as well.
Glyn Brackenbury, a fantastic coach and in all honesty anyone who meets him just wants to sit down and soak up all his wisdom.
Gary Adcock, he makes this list for just being an incredible human being. And THE guy for a long boat, next time you see him surf just watch and absorb!
There really is so many people that inspire me, there are many more. And loads from other countries, but there's too many to name. Maybe that's why I love this sport so much, we're all a close knit bunch, and normal barriers such as language don't seem to make a difference.
What other events or trips are you looking forward to? Do you have any goals for the near future?
I am going out to the Santa Cruz Paddlefest in under a month. My first time to the event and California. I reckon that will be a super fun trip. I am just looking forward to surfing new breaks, pushing the sport and all the fantastic gear I use.
Do you have any advice for people looking to get involved in surf kayaking?
Do it! But first, get in a kayak and see if you like it. If you cant do that, get in a sit-on-top and just get in the sea.
Find a local Canoe Club that could possibly support and train you. There are loads around, especially in the South West that do a lot of Surf Kayaking.
A note though - learn about surf etiquette. And implement it in your surfing. No one hates kayakers that don't follow these simple rules more than myself. Do it before you get in the water!
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 have been using Reed gear since the beginning, and it was great then. Now its fantastic. I really love the Short Sleeve Competition Cag Decks. And now using the new prototype that has been specifically tailored to myself and my boats. Its never better. I can have a 2 hour surf and come out with dry boardshorts!
Working with Chris and you guys at Reed has been a pleasure. Long may it last!
Below is a short film showing the action and the reactions from the Beautiful, Galician Coast, made by Austin Davies