Born and raised in Scotland, Gordon Brown is well known by paddlers around the world for his charming accent, exceptional coaching and incredible coordination in a kayak. His many contributions to the sport include the award-winning DVD skills trilogy Sea Kayak with Gordon Brown, an indispensible book, Sea Kayak: A Manual for Intermediate and Advanced Kayakers and guest coaching at events from Chilé to Israel to San Francisco. When he’s at home on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, Brown balances family time and running Skyak Adventures with his wife, Morag, and studying for his Masters in Performance Coaching. Another book is also in the pipeline. But if these seem like the achievements of a lifelong paddlesports professional and natural academic, you don’t know Brown as well as you may think.
WHO IS THE REAL GORDON BROWN?
At school, I was much more interested in woodwork, metalwork and outdoor studies. I spent all of my time building kayaks and sailboats, maintaining the school minibus and running a business repairing the teachers’ cars.
I left at 15 having completed no academic qualifications whatsoever. I started competing in motorsport and by 18 was the Scottish road rally and Autotest champion. I had also earned my British Canoe Union (BCU) Sea Proficiency Award through the school’s canoe club. Instructor and Senior Instructor awards and then the Advanced Proficiency Award followed. After some 20 years working in the motor trade, I left and started to develop sea kayaking work around the UK.
WHAT KEEPS COACHING FRESH AND EXCITING?
There is always something new to learn or discover. The most fascinating thing
to come out of my academic studies is that what I have done intuitively—because it feels like the right thing to do—has been studied and written about by clever people with letters after their names. That I am now able to engage with this writing and understand it, has really added to my knowledge about coaching. Also, as a coach, I can allow others to see some of what I have seen and hopefully make it easier...