Twelve Questions – Phil Boorman


Phil Boorman

This is the first in a new series of online interviews that we’re running called ‘Twelve Questions’ with a focus on the diversity of local paddlers and their backgrounds within our community.

In this first interview we asked the ever enthusiastic Phil Boorman to give us a rundown on his paddling history, what he does for a living, and what is right and wrong with paddling.

Who are you.
I’m Phil Boorman. Surfer, boater, dad, guitar player and annoying politics junkie.

What do you do?
I run a small adventure travel company called Earth Sea Sky Costa Rica. We run hiking and wildlife trips for Kiwis and Aussies in Costa Rica. I’m also a director for another adventure travel company called Active Adventures and do some work for Rotorua Canopy Tours.

Where are you based?
Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty.

When did you start kayaking?
I started kayaking in Queenstown in 2004. I came into it quite late in life compared to many.

Last time you paddled?
A cheeky solo lap down the Kaituna a week ago.

When and where was your first Swim?
On the Roaring Meg section of the Kawarau at about 300 cumecs. I failed to roll in the the boily water and swam for a couple of hundred metres. Eventually I clawed my way up the steep walls through the thorn bushes to the road, I considered throwing in the towel altogether but thankfully I went straight back for more.

What about your Last Swim?
It was on a drop on the Egua river in Italy. I was with Dave Carroll and a bunch of English paddlers. Dave encouraged me to try a kick flip thing (I dunno what the real name for the move is) off a waterfall. I stuffed the move up and landed upside down with my paddle across my chest, snapping it. My hand roll is crap, so after a few attempts I pulled my skirt. I really need to work on my handroll but hey, it made everyone laugh.

Phil Boorman

Preferred post paddling beverage and food?
A German beer and bratwurst from the Okere Falls Store.

What was the first kayak that you owned, and what are you currently paddling.
First kayak was a Perception 3D. Currently paddling a Riot Magnum – it’s a great boat but the outfitting is crap!

What’s your most valued piece of gear?
My Sommer Designs paddle.

My favourite river is…
The Tuakopai. Super, super fun!

The Dream/Ideal mission is
Creeking in Chile. I’ve been there loads of times, but before I was a kayaker. I didn’t know what I was looking at then so I’m keen to get back there!

Favourite paddler to watch.
Greg Clark.

What’s right about kayaking?
It forces you to observe what your limits are, then makes you decide how far you want to push them, and be decisive.

What’s wrong with kayaking?
It hardly ever gets the recognition it deserves in the mainstream media.

 Phil Boorman

Images Brydie Photography and Richard Bannister.