Name: Sam Ward
Hometown: Ruthin, North Wales, UK
Favourite rivers: There’s so many good ones to choose from but I’d go with the Nile (Uganda), the Zambezi (Zambia) and the Mistassibi (Canada)
Why do you coach?
Kayaking has given me so much and coaching allows me to give back and share the sport that I’ve loved for so many years. Plus, anything that gets people outdoors and appreciating nature is a great thing in my book.
Why do you love kayaking?
There’s always a new trick to learn, a new river to paddle or a new place to explore. It never stops! My love of kayaking has given me my passion for the environment and the natural world. It’s given me the drive to care about our planet and do what I can to lessen my impact on the climate.
Highlights from your kayaking life?
There’s too many special moments to choose from! A few highlights…surfing the epic ‘Molly’ wave for the very first time, competing at my first World Championships in 2015 and placing 6th, coaching the British Freestyle Team to success at many international events for 7 years, taking Team Uganda to Canada for the World Championships (and making it happen despite so many challenges), many many sunset sessions on my adopted home river of the Nile, taking my son kayaking for the first time!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
When I started university I joined lots of different clubs and societies as a way to get involved and make friends. I was an avid board surfer at the time. The only reason I joined the canoe club was because they had a surf trip happening and I wanted to tag along with my board. Thankfully the canoe club were keen to have me and quickly converted me into a kayaker! I also joined the break dance society….
Sam is the founder of Love it Live it. His passion for kayaking, travelling and his desire to pass this knowledge and experience on to others was the original drive behind Love it Live it, and what’s helped it thrive for over ten years.
Sam has many thousands of hours of coaching on all styles and grades of white water. He has experienced coaching and kayaking all over the world, having travelled, kayaked and coached in around 40 countries. As well as his involvement in Love it Live it, Sam also runs Kayak the Nile, one of the leading kayak schools in the world based in Uganda on the banks of the White Nile River.
For five years Sam was an official GB Freestyle Team Coach, and coached at both the World and European Championships, helping the british athletes achieve 25+ medals in a variety of disciplines. In 2015 Sam retired from coaching the GB team to compete himself at the world championships, where he placed 6th, and to act as a team coach and manager for the Uganda team. As well as kayaking and coaching, Sam also has a passion for conservation and the environment, which is the origin of LiLi’s environmental side (link) and hosts a podcast called Climate Change Unfolding: http://www.climatechangeunfolding.com/