1) Tell us a bit about yourself,

I am Jack Gunter, from Kingston upon Thames in Surrey but now living in Nottingham. I have recently graduated from the University of Nottingham, and am now working full-time as the manager of a media company, dgtl Concepts (www.fb.com/digitalC). As I write this I’m currently on my way to the French ski resort of Les Deux Alpes to film Rise Festival! I’m a big fan of outdoor sports, especially whitewater kayaking, wakeboarding, climbing and skiing and have previously been on the GB Freestyle Kayaking Team.(Me - 2nd from Right)

2) How did you first get into kayaking? Who introduced you?

My first experience of kayaking was at age 13 as part of a watersports day through scouts, and I have been hooked ever since! From there I found a local canoe club and quickly progressed onto whitewater, and then onto Freestyle, and started trying to tail squirt and do bow enders before I could even roll! Whilst at university I started competing in a different discipline of kayaking, canoe polo, a sport combining paddling and ball handling skills with an exciting contact team game. I competed for the university team, getting a bronze medal in my final year BUCS, our biggest tournament of the year. I now play for our university old boys team, the Nottingham Honey Badgers in the National League.

3) What was your first kayak?

My first kayak was a beautiful yellow and orange Perception Blaze, before I replaced it with a freestyle kayak. I now own a number of different boats, each suited to different situations and conditions,

4) What was your biggest hurdle when starting out?

By far the biggest hurdle for me was finding people to go and paddle with, and then trying to nab a lift off my parents when I was too young to drive. Weather conditions in the UK mean a lot of waiting for rain, making it difficult to plan any sort of river trip far in advance. When the rain does arrive, it means dropping any commitments to get those optimum levels!

5) What’s the most exciting place which kayaking has taken you?

The most exciting time for me has to be back in the summer of 2012 when I competed at the World Freestyle Kayaking Championships out in North Carolina in America. I headed out a few weeks early to get some practice time in before the masses arrived, which meant a wait between each practice ride of up to half an hour! It was awesome to compete at my first world’s against all of the world’s best, and I hope to get to compete at another in the next few years!

6) What has kept you into kayaking?

I’ve never really been into traditional sports like football and rugby, but kayaking and other outdoor sports have always held my appeal. What I really enjoy most about kayaking is that it allows me that sense of freedom and independence. Through paddling I have had the opportunity to visit so many different places and make numerous great friends. The feeling of running a hard rapid, and conquering my fears is like no other, and I really enjoy the exhilaration I get from this.

7) Have you ever had any set backs or accidents?

I’ve been fairly lucky for most of my years kayaking, but a low point for me was in March 2014 when I ended up in hospital with a suspected broken back after landing flat off a waterfall in Yorkshire. This led to a numerous months where I was unable to paddle, as I underwent intense physio to repair the muscle damage I had done to my back. When I was allowed back on the water this gave me more drive than ever to paddle as much as possible but it did mean I missed out on selections for the 2014 European championships.

8) Do you have any pre-paddling rituals to help you calm your nerves to get you into the zone?

To get me into the zone before a competition ride or running a challenging piece of whitewater I try to calm my nerves, look at the rapid, find my line and visualise myself running it. If I spend too long looking at something I can all too easily talk myself out of running it, so get into my boat as soon as I feel ready!

9) Tell us a bit about your accomplishments in the kayaking world.

My biggest achievements to date have been to place 10th in the 2011 European Championships, 12th in the 2012 World Championships and 1st at the 2013 National Student Rodeo.

10) Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world to paddle?

I’d really like to get out to Uganda before the damming destroys one of the best stretches of whitewater in the world. Uganda is a location world renowned for warm weather freestyle kayaking with its sections of huge waves and rapids which run year round! Another place I would really like to get to visit is the Zambezi, but this is another river which is under threat of damming as more third world countries use hydro turbines to generate electricity.

11) Who is your biggest source of inspiration?

When I started out, the person I really looked up to was Eric Jackson or EJ as he is more commonly known. A four time freestyle world champion, owner of Jackson Kayak and a member of the US freestyle and slalom teams ever since 1989, he has been around on the scene a long time but still able to throw all the latest moves!

12) Favourite Boing Band?

My favourite boing band has got to be Middy Bulldog, but I love them all. They make great presents to if you’re struggling to think of something to get as a Valentine or birthday pressie!