During 2023, BCAB will be sharing a range of webinars aimed at those looking to paddle overseas or exploring places to paddle.
Each webinar will cover the opportunities to paddle throughout the country, including types of environment available and grades, visa requirements and byelaws, logistics of getting to and in and around the country, as well as local guide top tips.
Join our next webinar on 21st June 2023, led by Steve Brooks, exploring paddling in Austria.
Steve’s route into kayaking was quite unusual. He was serving in the British Army and had specialised in a Mountain and Arctic environment in Norway before becoming an instructor in Alpine Winter survival and skiing in the Bavarian Alps. It was while he was serving in Germany that his commanding officer wanted him to become an instructor in a Summer adventure training activity and it was by luck that one of his troop commanders said “I am a kayaker, he will love it” so Steve got sent back to Bavaria in the Summer to learn to kayak and become a BCU Kayak Instructor. What the military did not realise was that it would open up a whole can of worms. After becoming an old BCU Level 3 coach Steve realised he lacked a lot of practice and experience, so after some careful thought he decided that 12 years was enough in the Army and he said goodbye to his military career and headed off looking for adventure on the world’s best rivers!!
He decided to use his resettlement into civilian life to become a whitewater raft guide, spending 5 months out in Nepal. He then came back to Europe and travelled to Austria to become a raft guide and safety kayaker working alongside some of the best expedition kayakers that Great Britain has produced. This schooling on the river helped him immensely, and after another 3 seasons in Nepal and Austria he headed off to South America.
Steve has explored some of the most remote rivers in the world, from the deepest gorges in the Peruvian Andes, into the dense amazon jungle rivers of Ecuador. He spent 8 months of the year on a river pushing rafts, safety kayaking or taking groups trekking so that he could go kayaking and explore. A couple of trips to Africa on the Zambezi and Nile had also come before he headed back to the Himalayas but this time it was India. Steve has spent months and many seasons kayaking in the Indian Himalayas in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It is in Himachal Pradesh that he has become the encyclopaedia of the country’s rivers!
In 2010 Steve along with his Austrian wife, Ute, started a Kayak School called Arlberg in the West of Austria. Based out of the famous ski resort of St.Anton am Arlberg, they offer a variety of kayaking courses from beginners all the way up to Class V on the classic alpine rivers around that part of Austria such as the Rosanna, Sanna, Lech, Inn and Oetz to name just a few. His knowledge of Austrian rivers around Landeck is second to none and he has travelled through Austria kayaking rivers that are unknown to kayakers outside of the German speaking community. He has also continued to develop his BC qualifications and coaching skills.
In 2020 Steve and Ute bought 10,000m2 of land in Pucon, Chile and have now built a beautiful lodge up in the Andes with stunning views. From here with their team of talented Chilean kayakers they run guided trips in Chile. However, it is not just in Chile where they offer trips, their love of India is still strong as they run trips to Ladakh and Uttarakhand again with their talented Indian team of kayak guides.
Austria has been his base and home now for over 25 years, not only does it have the longest kayaking season in the Alps it is also a proven training ground for Himalayan kayaking expeditions!
Join us on 21st June 2023, 7pm – 8.30pm UK time, to hear about paddling in Austria.
Keep an eye out for more overseas webinars throughout 2023.