Hemel paddler triumphs in national championships

James Prowse, in boat number 10.   Picture by: va'a news
James Prowse, in boat number 10. Picture by: va'a news

Local paddler James Prowse, aged 23, has taken the individual title at the GBOCA (Great Britain Outrigger Canoe Association) national championships at Studland Bay, Dorset.

The 15km course round Old Harry Rocks to Swanage beach and back proved challenging for competitors, with strong headwinds and large waves.

James, who learned to paddle at Hemel Hempstead Canoe Club, opened up an early lead, but then lost time due to a ‘huli’ (capsize).

James said: “I got caught out when I hulied on top of a large wave, but luckily I was able to right the boat and made up for lost time by catching the surf. Outrigger canoe racing is such an exhilarating, dynamic discipline and I was delighted to win by a four-minute margin despite the mishap.”

James was Under 18 National Wavehopper (wild water racing) Champion in 2010, won gold with the British Dragon Boat Racing team at the European Championships in 2012, the Open Canadian Senior Doubles in the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race in 2014 and was Dacorum Sports Person of the Year in the same year.