FIVE MINS WITH KAYAK WORLD CHAMPION
DEB PINNIGER

So, what’s your name and where are you from?

Deb Pinniger, from, not sure, Chippenham UK I guess.

How long have you been working at Outdoor Interlaken?

Two and a half weeks!

Where do you call home these days?

Cornwall England

Where else have you worked in the world?

Turkey, US, India, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Iran, New Zealand, Montenegro, Uganda, Gabon  (interviewer stops writing about here as the list goes on...)

What languages do you speak?

English and some bad French

How did you become a guide?

I've been kayaking since I was 8 years old, at 16 a did an outdoor education college, and then became a semi professional Kayaker at 20 years old.

What is the worst job you ever had and how long did you stick it out?

Working in an outdoor sports shop selling equipment. It was just very boring.  I lasted a few months.  I was also a Post lady for a while so I had time to train for kayaking after work, but I really enjoyed that!

What are your top 3 holiday destinations and why?

Zambesi for kayaking, India Ladakh area for cultural experiences, and I quite like my home as well if I must be honest!

What, in your opinion, is so special about Interlaken?

The international community of active young people in Interlaken is really unique.

Apart from working for Outdoor Interlaken, what is your favourite thing to do in Switzerland?

I like swimming at the pool in Bern when I drive the Aare rafting trip, but don’t tell the boss that!

Have you ever had someone famous on your trip?

I took John Craven (TV host in the UK) in a kayak in a swimming pool for a television broadcast of a kayaking exhibition.  He wore his business suite under the drysuit, paddled under a waterfall, got recirculated and ended up swimming!

What is the highest competition award you have to your name?

Kayak World Freestyle Champion 1999, 2000, (2nd place 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004).

What is the most memorable expedition you have made?

I went to Gabon in west Africa with a small group (Nico Chassing, Olaf Obsommer) on the Ivindo river for one week.  The river is surrounded by pristine rainforest, has really nice cascades, and class 4 and 5 rapids (although we portaged the class 5 because we were in one of the least inhabited places in the world!).

What do you love most about your job?

It's not stressful, I love not commuting further than a 5 minute bike ride, and working with a fun group of people.

What is the scariest situation you got yourself into?

When I was 19 I drove to Turkey from the UK, then took a public bus to Iran.  On the bus ride we lent some Iranians some cash and they invited us to their house in the Caspian Sea for three days.  I had to hang out with the mum and daughter, wear a Burka and wasn’t allowed to spend any time with the men.  It wasn’t scary, but very culturally awkward.

What’s the longest period you’ve been without a shower?

Probably at least 2 weeks!

Thanks for your time, what are you off to do now?

I’m off now to drive the afternoon rafting trip and then after that go for a run in the hills.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3PSd_vaP60]

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