5 minutes with… Dan Wilkinson

Quality training from the world's largest paddling course provider

Dan Wilkinson is the Lead Standardisation Officer and a National Trainer for Whitewater Kayaking. He is involved with supporting providers and the standards team with quality assurance and standardisation. He is a keen and passionate paddler, happiest on the water.

  1. How did you start your career in paddlesports?

Through a youth club on the canal in central London. They had some funding for a youth water sports training project, which took a group of young people through coaching qualifications and gave them a heap of paddling experience. I loved every minute of it!

  1. What do you love most about your role?

Supporting providers to understand the requirements on them, and helping them to meet them. I’m really passionate about high quality training experiences for people and try to add as much value to as many providers as I can through my role.

  1. What’s a typical day look like for you?

Well, I only work 4 days a month for Paddles Up Training, so every day is different… it does involve being woken up by my young children fairly early. I’ll either then head out to do something coaching or fire up my laptop and get into reviewing reports and responding to provider queries…

  1. What’s been your most memorable moment in your paddlesport career?

Either passing my Level 5 Coach award, doing my first first descent of a river or watching my daughter take her first paddle strokes in her boat.

  1. What are you most proud of in your career?

During lockdown, I co-authored a book (Coaching Adventure Sports) with Paul Smith. Considering I failed my A-Levels pretty spectacularly, to have reached a point where I can tell people I’m a published author is something that I am really proud of.

  1. Tell us something surprising about you.

I grew up on a Narrow Boat which was moored 2 minutes from Kings Cross station…

  1. Do you have any current projects that you would like to tell us about?

Work wise, behind the scenes we’ve been doing a lot of work on our risk management processes within Paddles Up Training, which has been great to be involved with. Personally, I’m slowly (as in over a number of years – not walking slowly) climbing the highest mountain in each European Country…

  • Canoe, kayak or SUP: Kayak
  • 3 items for a day out on the water: Kober Paddle, NRS Goretex drysuit and Pyranha Kayak.
  • Favourite book: Many Rivers to Run, edited by Dave Manby. I love the evocative and humorous take on paddling that our predecessors had.
  • One thing you could not go a day without : Human interaction
  • Favourite film: Wicked Liquid 2
  • Favourite food: Mystery buoyancy aid snacks of unknown vintage 
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