Boof Left is a kayaking and canoeing based blog run by me, Mathew ‘Matimus’ Wilkinson. The aim is to record my personal experiences and thoughts about the sport, equipment, locations and more for my reference and hopefully to help others too!
Below is a bit about me so you know where my opinions are coming from:
My first experiences of kayaking were a couple of one-off pool and lake sessions when I was little, but it only became a real passion around 2004 when John Taylor (known to most as Mr. T) introduced me to whitewater on the mighty Burrs. Over the next few years we spent many a Wednesday evening sports lesson dodging chemical waste on that same section, and needless to say I’m now immune to even the horrors of HPP’s water.
I was lucky enough to go to a school with an excellent outdoors programme, which gave me the opportunity to go on regular trips to the Lake District, as well as further flung adventures such as a month-long Sea Kayaking expedition around the coast of Vancouver, Whitewater Kayaking in the French Alps, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Canoeing expeditions in Scotland and various other trips across the UK.
After leaving school I went to The University of Manchester, in theory to study Civil Engineering, but instead I got heavily involved with the University Canoe Club and spent most of my free time paddling instead of revising. Realising that Civil Engineering wasn’t for me, I eventually dropped out of the course and spent a full year acting as MUCC’s Trip Sec, which was easily one of the best years of my life so far!
Although I didn’t have a degree, I had gained a handful of paddling qualifications and plenty of experience in web design (through it being somewhat of a hobby and having written a whole new website for the club) and in June 2012 this helped me secure a job at Brookbank Canoes & Kayaks as their WebMaster.
Brookbank unfortunately folded at the end of that same year and I was made redundant, however the directors later invited me to help them set up a new company called Get Out Limited, where I worked as the Web Designer, Marketing Co-Ordinator and Assistant Manager for a short while.
A little over a year and a half later, Pyranha Kayaks approached me to work in their Web & Marketing department, and being a longtime fan of their boats, I couldn’t help but say yes! These days I take care of the company’s various social media platforms, travel around the UK to show off our boats at heaps of paddling events, act as the Team Pyranha manager and go paddling as much as possible between all that; life is good.
Let’s go boating!