It was an autumn to remember for second year accountancy and finance student Emma Wynter who claimed her first surf kayak world title, just two years after she started competing.
Her achievement is more recognisable in the fact that she claimed the title in the lesser of her individual categories.
Wynter competes in both international composite (IC) which uses a long kayak and high performance (HP) which is a short kayak with fins; the latter being her preferred event.
“It was quite a shock, I didn’t expect it, it is an amazing feeling,” she said.
“I finished third two years ago in the high performance category which I train the most for but I barely train for international composite.
“It was a back up to do if I didn’t do well in the high performance.
“It’s not what I usual do, but I enjoy it much more now.”
With three British titles to her name before this competition (two in HP, and one in IC) as well as two team event medals, Wynter was set on winning a world title.
“We also finished second in the team event, however after the singles win, nothing else mattered, that was what I wanted and came out for,” she added.
“It made everything worthwhile.”
Wynter’s attention now turns to the upcoming British Championships where she will look to defend her HP and IC titles and the prospect of the Europeans.
In 2013, Australia will host the World Championships and she is set on becoming HP World Champion.
Wynter ends up doing a lot of travelling with the sport, with tournaments all over the globe.
“It’s the best part, I love travelling around the world,” she said.
“Portugal, USA, and Australia; it’s a pretty good line up.”
The university’s kayak club have played a massive part in Wynter’s rise to glory, citing the diversity within the club allowing her to hone her skills.
“I do different disciplines with the university’s club; river kayaking and kayak polo. All that helps furthering my skills.
“So it’s really useful, quite a lot of my skills progression is thanks to the club.”
As well as improving herself as a surf kayak competitor, Wynter is looking to get the sport known within the club and University.
Surf kayak is a lesser known sport and Wynter explained how she got involved in it through surfing, and how together with her stern mentality has benefited her progression.
“I used to surf originally and then started kayaking in kayak polo when I was 15,” she said.
“In 2008, a few guys from a club back in Cornwall took me surf kayaking and I was hooked; I started competing a year later making me one of the youngest ladies in the sport.
“My background in surfing and knowledge of the waves does help plus I am quite feisty and extremely competitive.”
As well as surf kayak, Wynter tries to keep it balanced with her degree and admits that she does struggle.
“I find it hard, because I train every weekend.
“Since coming to university I haven’t trained as much as I would like to.
“And with going away on trips it is so hard to catch up.”
Wynter also mentioned her admiration of fellow surf kayak competitor Chris Hobson who played a part in her generating a passion for the sport.
“He pulls air on every wave; it’s amazing to watch him,” she explained.
“If you watch him, you’ll want to do the sport.”
She has also had a lot of support and paid tribute to her sponsors who have given her fantastic backing.
“Mega Surfkayaks provide me with my kayaks all the time and Gireau Premium Spirits pay for my entry fees.”
Wynter admitted that it feels as if she is living two lives; her university life and then the professional surf kayak one where everyone knows her face.
“It’s nice for when the sport is seen for what it is,” she said.
“I don’t really consider myself as famous; I’ve had a few people ask me for autographs. I hate being ‘look at me’; it’s not me at all.
“I like training and enjoy the sport how it is, focusing on my results.”