Claire O’Hara: World Champion in Freestyle Kayak & Squirt Boat Kayak Reveals her Success Mantra – ColorMag Top Magazine

Claire O’Hara: World Champion in Freestyle Kayak & Squirt Boat Kayak Reveals her Success Mantra

Claire was born in Leeds and attended Cardinal Heenan High School and Notre Dame Sixth Form College. She attended Leeds Metropolitan University where she obtained a BA Honours degree in Sport and Recreation Development.

Claire has always been involved in sport from an early age and started kayaking with Leeds Canoe Club in 1996. Whilst at Leeds Metropolitan University she was the captain of the Leeds Met University Kayak club. At Leeds Met University she was awarded a Carnegie Sports Scholarship in 2003 in recognition of her talents and dedication to the sport of kayaking. Leeds Met University Head of University Sport Malcolm Brown said: “I am delighted at Claire’s sporting standard and she deserves to have been awarded a scholarship.

This scholarship will give Claire access to support, coaching and facilities needed to be successful in both academic and sporting commitments. I wish her well for the future.”

In 2001 Claire started competing competitively in freestyle kayaking and in 2006 she made the British team. Since winning her place on the team Claire has had a very successful international competition career. She has traveled to paddle at rivers in many countries across the world. She has paddled all across the UK and Europe and in the USA, Canada, Norway, Uganda, NZ, Australia and Nepal. Claire is a multi-disciplined paddler and has experience paddling freestyle, squirt boat, slalom, surf, polo and white water kayak as well as traditional and specialist white water open canoe at recreational and competitive level.

Claire is the current World Champion in Freestyle Kayak and Squirt Boat Kayak and is the most successful female freestyle kayaker in the World and the most successful British Freestyle kayaker in History having won multiple World Championships, European Championships and British Championship Golds. Claire has won five ICF World Championship Titles and two Mystery World Championship titles and is the only freestyle kayak athlete ever to have Doubled the Double. She currently holds the world record for the highest competitive women scores in both disciplines of the sports. Claire has also won numerous World Cup, European Cup, European Champion and British Championship titles. Claire still trains and competes around the world in both squirt boat kayak and freestyle kayaking and is a great ambassador for the sport.

Since graduating in July 2004 Claire has worked as a full time instructor, senior instructor and technical adviser for Bradford Council, Nottingham City Council and Nottingham County Council’s Adventure Activity teams and for a number of individuals and organisation as a Freelance Instructor including work with Leeds Beckett University, the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham and the Kelly White Water Park in the USA. Claire also spent 4 years working part-time as the Further Education Sport Coordinator and Enhancement Coordinator at Notre Dame 6th Form College.

Claire is an aspirant Level 5 Kayak coach and a BCU UKCC tutor trainer. She is also qualified to teach and deliver several other outdoor activities and sports. Claire is currently training full time and works as a Freelance Instructor for Claire O’Hara Coaching.

Achievements of Claire O’Hara

2014

  • Mystery World Champion (SB)
  • Reno River Festival Champion (FK)
  • Go Pro Games Champion (FK)
  • Jimi Cup, 1st Place (SB)
  • British Open Champion (FK)
  • Leeds Sports Woman of the Year
  • BCU Athlete Recognition Award
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak Team
  • GB Squirt Boat Kayak

2013

  • World Champion (FK)
  • World Champion (SB)
  • Mystery World Champion (FK)
  • British Champion (FK)
  • British Champion (SB)
  • Leeds Sports Woman of the Year
  • Jimi Cup, 1st Place (SB)
  • Hurley Classic, 1st Place (FK)
  • BCU Athlete Recognition Award
  • TVF International Athlete of the Year Award
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak


2012

  • World Cup Champion (SB)
  • European Champion (SB)
  • Teva Mountain Games Champion (FK)
  • World Cup, Pigeon River Event, 1st place (FK)
  • World Cup, NOC event, 1st Place (FK)
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak

2011

  • World Champion (SB)
  • World Champion (FK)
  • British Champion (SB)
  • British Champion (FK)
  • Leeds Sports Woman of the Year
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak

2010

  • British Champion (SB)
  • European Championships Silver Medal (FK)
  • British Championship 2nd Place (FK)
  • UK Freestyle Series 2nd Place (FK)
  • Bubbler Downtime Competition – 1st Lady
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak


2009

  • World Champion (SB)
  • British Champion (SB)
  • British Championship 3rd (FK)
  • Bubbler Downtime Competition – 1st Lady
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak Squad
  • ‘Highly Commended’ in The Leeds Sports Awards

2008

  • Leeds Sports Woman of the Year
  • British Champion (SB)
  • European Champion (SB)
  • Euro Championships Bronze Medal (Unisex) (SB)
  • International Festival of Freestyle 1st Place (FK)
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak

2007

  • British Champion (SB)
  • World Championship Silver Medal (SB)
  • World Championships 10th Place (FK)
  • UK Freestyle Series 1st Place (FK)
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak
  • Team GB Freestyle Kayak

2006

  • European Champion (SB)
  • British Champion (SB)
  • Indoor Freestyle Championships 1st Place (FK)
  • UK Freestyle Series 1st Place (FK)
  • Team GB Squirt Boat Kayak
  • ‘Highly Commended’ Leeds Sports Award

2005

  • UK Freestyle Series 1st Place (FK)
  • British Championship 2nd Place (SB)
  • Indoor Freestyle Championships 2nd Place (FK)
  • European Cup 4th Place (FK)
  • Liquid Life Extreme Race 4th Place (BX)

2004

  • Himalayan White Water Challenge 1st Place (FK)
  • National Student Rodeo 2nd Place (FK)
  • Leeds Met University Carnegie Sports Scholarship

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