5 minutes with… James Russell

Quality training from the world's largest paddling course provider

Meet the team. James is the Provider Workforce Advisor at Paddle UK, supporting Paddles Up Training arranging Provider Orientations and Moderations, as well as answering all your Provider queries, he even finds time to compete internationally at marathon racing.

  1. How did you start your career in paddlesports?

This is my first full time role since finishing my Sports Science degree at Loughborough University. Having paddled since the age of 10 and living in Nottingham, when I saw the job at Paddle UK advertised, it seemed like the perfect fit for me.

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

I’m usually up early, around 5:30 / 6:00, and head straight to the local kayak club for a training session. I then squeeze in breakfast before heading to the office for 9:00. The first part of my day is usually responding to emails that have come in from the previous evening. We sometimes have our wider staff gatherings in the mornings, where departments can give updates on their areas of work so that everybody is aware of what’s happening. I usually break for lunch around 13:00. When I return, I check my voicemail and return any calls before picking up any planning / organisational work that needs to be completed for upcoming Provider Orientation / Moderation Events. I finish in the office at 17:00 and usually head out back on the water for a second training session.

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

Organising the SUP WW Leader Provider Orientation in the Lake District earlier this year. As it was a new award pathway there were many people in attendance, from BCAB representatives, to National Trainers and Providers. There were lots of logistical challenges involved. The three-day event ran smoothly with lots of newly qualified providers coming from the event.

  1. Tell us something surprising about you.

I’m not a big fruit eater. I’ll say yes to an apple crumble, but that’s about it! I’d much prefer a big plate of vegetables.

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

I will shortly be putting together some Provider Moderations for early 2025, keep your eyes peeled for those!

  • Canoe, kayak or SUP: Kayak
  • 3 items for a day out on the water: Garmin GPS watch (did you even go for a paddle if it’s not on Strava?), a hat to either keep warm or stop a sunburnt head. And a big water bottle, especially now the sun has come out. 
  • One thing you could not go a day without: Going for a paddle, I’m usually out twice a day through the summer.
  • Favourite book: Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins
  • Favourite film: Hot Fuzz 
  • Favourite food: BBQ Pulled Pork 
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