Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

Unsponsored Q&A Series 2011 – James Bebbington

James ‘Pringle’ Bebbington – 6 time GBR Freestyle Kayak team member, British Champion, World Champion, World Cup Champion and European Silver medalist. James is truly one of the stars of the freestyle world.

I was chuffed to bits when I found out that James had agreed to take part in the 2011 Unsponsored Q&A series.

When and how did you first start paddling?

I think I first got in a kayak about age 9 with my best friend from school. It was after seeing Shaun Baker on Tv in Iceland, i then joined my nearest canoe club and went from there. It was only at about 12 that I took it up regularly.

What is your current location?

My van mostly, currently sat in Germany but soon to be Katya’s home in Siberia.

What scares you the most?

The times when I cut short on my own dreams or when I let fear stop me doing something I want, I always push & remind myself to aim at the top of my goals and not ton settle for less.

What was your biggest hurdle in kayaking when you started out – finding people to paddle with, nailing the third end, lack of rivers etc?

Getting over the fear of being upside down was the 1st thing, then when I got into freestyle, finding people who wanted to go with me in my own area or how to get taken to the places I wanted to go before i could drive.

What has kept you in the sport?

The love of it. The constant improvement of both skills and personality through kayaking and my appreciation of being in nature & the outdoors.

Who is your biggest source of inspiration within the paddling world (and why)?

The closest inspiration would be my girlfriend Katya, i’ve learnt do so much from her on how to approach life and the way she approaches life and goes all out in a kayak really pushes me on.

Other than her the paddlers who are living their dreams to the full, enjoying what they do and making the sport better I really look up to, all of the Tribe group/ movement fulfil this and the way Pat Camblin is changing the sport is incredible.

Given the choice where would want to paddle?

Right now I’m really looking forward to being somewhere warm with big waves so probably my 2nd home Uganda.

What do you dislike most about the competition scene, the industry and media, and what you’d change if you had a blank cheque or God like powers?

I wish in the Uk the BCU would support the freestyle scene & the committee much more. Given our results, the success of the Youth Freestyle series & the amount of incredibly talented young paddlers coming up they really need to get behind it more. There is just such enthusiasm & life in freestyle right now.

I think the Industry is doing well, companies seem re-interested in WW and I think the sport is quite healthy & media wise we have a wealth of great sites, mags, films & individuals all putting great exposure & content out there!

Blank cheque I would put some £ to the WWGP events, some into youth events and set up more and more top end events too with £ prizes.

What kit are you currently using?

Mostly I use my Palm fuse long sleeved cag or my Palm Zenith shortie in the warm or if it’s cold or I’m creeking my Torrent drysuit. Shoes I use Teva Slingkings mostly for play & boats wise I use my carbon Guigui easy mix for play & a Dagger Mamba or Nomad for creeking.

James would like to thank Palm, Teva & Brookbank for their support over this year.

To follow James check out http://www.Riverzoo.com

Many Thanks James!


  1. Just one thing that has had me puzzled in these Q&A’s. What is this “third end” thingy of which you speak?!

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