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


Many think that Unsponsored is a company, a shop or group of people, this is not the case. Unsponsored is one person – me. I started kayaking at around 11 years old (over 30 years ago) with my Dad and I have realised over the years that the introduction to what seemed such a simple past time has shaped me into what I have become. It has truly dictated what I have chosen to do with my life.

Since 1996 I have been a Maths teacher working in 11-16 schools in the North East of England. Unsponsored was created as a medium to practice HTML coding skills. I was required to learn some coding back in 1997/8 so I could teach it to some of my classes. Rather than simply create a series of web pages with no particular focus I chose to give my homework/lesson planning a little bit of a kayaking feel.

Why Unsponsored? I initially chose the name as it was something different. If I was doing it all again I would probably choose something else. Yet in some ways it has become a statement of sorts. The site is not about making money or becoming a “face” within the kayaking world. That’s not how I work, if you follow the site you will see that I attend most if not all UK based kayak events. I feel that to some extent I go to these things “under cover”, I don’t like to make a show of being Phil from Unsponsored. In some respects this has probably held the site back, but I prefer it that way. Up until recently you wouldn’t have actually seen many kit reviews with photographs of me in them. Many of the older reviews have just been updated to include images taken at the time but never used.

Over the years the site has changed a great deal. The site has dropped off and been built back up a number of times depending on what I have been doing – work, family, boating, biking etc…The site is paid for from my own funds and to be totally honest was going to be pulled from the net sometime during 2010. This was mainly due to my own personal interest in the site being lost. Maintaining the site, coding, fixing bugs and shelling out hundreds of pounds out for hosting every year was starting to become a chore. I was also committed to a number of other projects including a MEd in Educational Leadership.

The emergence of content management systems (like WordPress) rekindled my interest in the site, simply because it is easier to push out multimedia without all of the fuss. As I transferred the old content from previous versions of the site the number of hits increased exponentially. Using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites has brought Unsponsored to the attention of a whole new generation of paddlers and the interest has continued to grow. I started to get out more in my boat, bought new kit and folk started to ask me what I thought about it.

Unsponsored is now bigger than it has ever been, it is costing me more money than it ever has before but I am enjoying the distraction.

To help keep the servers running I earn commission from qualifying purchases via the Amazon Affiliate scheme. You will see a few banners on the right hand site of the site.  These companies help keep the site from going under.

Thanks for reading!

Phil Carr

Check out my own Q&A here.


  1. sam ellis

    I get alot from this site mate and it(you) do alot for me glad its still going, great job!!

    • admin

      Thanks Sam.

  2. Simon

    Enjoy your site a lot Phil, (and the odd bit of a second hand kit you move on 😉 )

    Keep up the great work – please

  3. Derek

    Keep up the good work. Thanks.

  4. purelandexpeditions

    it is a breath of fresh air to have this site – thanks you.

  5. Lora

    Perhaps you should set up a paypal account and let readers make donations to help you keep the site going. Just a thought 😉

  6. Brian Taylor

    Good stuff in plain English (if that is pc), keep them coming.

  7. Nick

    Great site with great content – keep up the great work!

    PayPal donations button sounds like a good idea if only to cover your costs and pay petrol to events – you should get something out of the effort you put in.

    • Unsponsored

      Thanks Nick, will consider it.

  8. Aaron

    Thanks for a great site done on your own dime and in your spare time. Got some great advice from this site.

    • Unsponsored

      Thanks Aaron.

  9. Thomas Caddell

    Philip. I think your doing a great job with the site., and can say i look forward to your updates on new kit etc. A very helpful read, hope you continue for many years to come…best wishes.

    • Unsponsored

      Many thanks Thomas.

  10. Mark Stancer

    Just found this site. Brilliant. So glad you didn’t stop. Keep up the good work. Thanks

    • Unsponsored

      Many thanks Mark.

  11. Will

    Just found this site. Brilliant. So glad you didn’t stop posting great content. Keep up the good and valued work.

    • Unsponsored

      Many thanks Will.

  12. Jason Skipper

    You’re still doing a great job mate, your reviews of new equipment & honest comparisons with older versions is very helpful whenever I’m looking to update my kit. Please keep going, you may be Unsponsored …but certainly not unsuccessful.

  13. Dave

    Just came across this site and I’ll definitely be coming back

  14. Johnny C

    ‘Unsponsored’ is my daily ‘go to’ site and i really enjoy the mixed and varied articles. Movie Monday is the highlight of my week! Thanks for all your hard work and long may she run. Dhan Uisge!
    Best regards, John

  15. Keith Elliott

    Great site Phil and an excellent reference point for kit etc.

  16. Peggy-Lou

    I really enjoy checking out the site Phil you’re doing a great job.

    • Unsponsored

      Many Thanks

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