Canberra kayaker Joseph Hogbin-Bourne competes in World Championships

Joseph Hogbin-Bourne of Canberra represents Australia at the Kayak Freestyle World Championships in Nottingham, England from 27 June to July 2.

The 17-year-old Lake Ginninderra College student was selected to represent Australia in the men’s youth kayaking category, despite only recently starting Freestyle kayaking.

Hogbin-Bourne said he started kayaking when he was 13 after watching a YouTube video.

“I saw this really cool Red Bull video on YouTube of kayakers paddling down insane waterfalls and I thought I wanted to do that,” he said.

“I wasn’t really having fun in school and just wanted some excitement, so kayaking just made sense,” he said.

Jo’s favorite spot for paddling is the Goodradigbee River, southwest of Canberra.

He started freestyle paddling in January because there wasn’t enough water to creek at the time. Jo and his twin sister Emily both went to the Paddle Australia national competition and competed in Extreme Slalom, but were not fast enough to make it to the team. They were doing freestyle at the same time and Jo was successful.

In preparation for the World Championships, he took tips from Jack Newland, Australia’s first youth gold medalist, and trained on flat water.

“Learning new things is fun,” he says. “It’s insane to see all the linked moves here at the World Cup and you really want to try new tricks”.

Hogbin-Bourne is in mid-Year 12 at Lake Ginninderra College and has had to complete all of his assignments prior to training.

“Fortunately, Ellen Smith, my outdoor education teacher, has really supported me and is just cool,” he said.

Jo returns to the exams but now only thinks about the competition and learns some Spanish from the Argentine paddlers as he sets out to kayak across South America. “Freestyle skills translate very well to whitewater paddling,” he said.