Sister’s are Doing it for Themselves
We are very happy to have an interview with Amber Champion, the Sister of Kylie Champion who we recently interviewed for our Dream Yacht Charter #More Women at Sea Campaign. These Sister’s are really doing it for themselves, inspiring other women in the marine industry with their achievements. They are a great support for each other, and as Kylie says “ She is by far my favourite person on the planet! :).”
Amber is based part-time on Vancouver Island, Canada and part-time in the Abel Tasman, New Zealand. She is a professional sea kayaker, guide and instructor. Amber is one of the only female sea kayak instructors with her qualification in Canada and is also the youngest by 12 years. She is highly passionate about encouraging youth to get into the sport and explore the globe. Amber owns a Sea Kayak Company on Vancouver Island (Blue Dog Kayaking).
How did you get into Sea Kayaking?
For me it wasn’t really something I had imagined doing, I was always into whitewater kayaking and looking to pursue that during the summers and then find a ‘real’ job post secondary studies. However, when I was 15 years old, had two bad head injuries in the same day and years later was still experiencing post concussion symptoms. I had made the decision to study a degree in the Outdoors (therapy, facilitation and leadership), here I was exposed to Sea Kayaking and decided to do an internship guiding in Australia (Whitsundays). I quickly fell in love with the sport and that was pretty much it.
How did Sea Kayaking become part of your career?
The summer before my last year of study I had applied for a job as a sea kayak instructor (despite having no relevant qualifications), within a few hours I had spoken to the owner of the company and gotten the job. The dates worked out so that I would arrive, do my instructors course and pretty much started instructing directly after. I taught 32 courses over the next two months and realized I loved it. After summer I returned to University to finish my degree and had been offered a job at the same company the following season, but I would be in-charge of opening a new location and running more of the overnight instructional expeditions. The same year I was exposed to some pretty prominent paddlers, which opened me up to the world of sponsorships and exposed me to more opportunities. Now going into my 5th season as a Sea Kayaker I am a shareholder of that business – Blue Dog Kayaking. I am currently sponsored by three kayaking companies and get to coach at various symposiums, internationally.
Has kayaking changed your life?
Absolutely! To be honest, before I got into sea kayaking I was upset I wouldn’t be able to do Whitewater rafting anymore (too high risk for head injuries). I felt a bit lost as to what to do as a career, where my degree would take me and what I could do in the outdoors that would be low risk of further head injury. I noticed when I moved to the ocean that I became a happier person. I felt that I had something I could see a future doing and that I was helping other people. I definitely didn’t think that at 24 I would be a part owner of a company and getting asked to coach at symposiums. The skills I’ve learnt through instructing have transferred into my daily life, knowing how to handle different situations and conflicts that come about also how to deal with the uncontrollable. I believe that the biggest thing I’ve learnt from the ocean is humility, knowing that it is a force and that no matter how good my skills are I must always respect that it is bigger, stronger and capable of more than I will ever be!
Plans for the future?
In the next few years I hope to open a branch Blue Dog Kayaking in New Zealand, offer kayak instruction to the recreational paddlers. I call them instructional expeditions; building on skills and helping to improve gaps by teaching people how to explore the places they want to go and having the correct skills to be there
Over the next few months I will be working on gaining two more certifications that I have spent the last seasons working on, these will put me one certification from the top certificate that Canada offers. Although that is exciting for me, I am most excited about my 100km Paddle for Multiple Sclerosis. On March 10th, 2020 I will be embarking on a 100 km paddle from Kaiteriteri, NZ to Mutton Cove, NZ & back to Marahau. My goal for the paddle is to raise funds & awareness for the disease, and I’m hoping to complete the 100kms in under 16 hours. This challenging will be mentally, physically and emotionally challenging for me but nothing in comparison to what people that has MS struggle with daily. This will even is in honour of my mother, 62, who was diagnosed with MS 4 years ago and so I have chosen to do it on her birthday.
Places you want to explore or circumnavigate?
My list at this stage is short. I would love to explore the Faroe Islands, circumnavigate Japan and Iceland. One of these places is already in the planning process (just can be a long process).
We hope Amber will come visit her sister Kylie soon and experience Sailing in the Whitsundays linked to https://www.yachtcharters.com.au/the-whitsundays/ with us at Queensland Yacht Charters member of Dream Yacht Charter. Linked to https://www.yachtcharters.com.au/
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