Ricarda Funk

Ricarda Funk Hiko Team Rider

DOB: April 15th, 1992
Natural habitat: Canoe Slalom (K1)
Nationality: GER
Career Highlights:
+3rd place World Championship 2018
+1st place European Championship 2018
+3rd place World Championship 2017
+2nd place World Championship 2015
+2nd place European Championship 2015
+1st place European Championship 2014
+1st place U23 European Championship 2013 

Where and when did you start paddling? 
"Remagen, a small city of Germany, that's where it all began. No gates, no changing room and only flatwater -  not the typical city for canoe slalom. My older brother motivated me to start kayaking. Actually I was more interested in typical girly sport activities like dancing & gymnastics. I thought kayaking is more for boys. But when my brother started racing I wanted to be on the start line as well. I started training with my old 4 meter Kajak of Prijon, which I loved. Even though I had a very old boat for quite a long time, I had so much fun on the water. I really loved the physical and technical combination of canoe slalom."
Why are you doing this sport? 
"Paddling is a sport with many facets. Each course has his own character. That’s why you always have new challenges.
It never gets boring.  Fun is most important for me."
What is your favorite spot to paddle?
"Pau is my favorite course because of it’s variety. It is technically very challenging and it offers many opportunities to play with the water. That's what I love and what I need for efficient whitewater training. "
Who has influenced you the most in kayaking?
"My father and my brother influenced me the most. Of course my brother inspired me to start this sport. When we were coached by my father we did every single session together, for nearly 10 years. We had so much fun on the water but we were also training very hard, even when it was snowing and freezing.
When I was 19 I moved to Augsburg and suddenly there were many other inspiring and influencing athletes. My new training group with Jasmin Schornberg and Melanie Pfeifer really helped me to grow. I was looking up to them und I knew there is so much more to learn. They motivated me to work even harder.
In addition to my father and brother, Stefan Henze was guiding me a lot. He played a very important role. Because of him I know what canoe slalom is really about and I started to love this sport even more. All his advices are still in my head."
What was your best paddling experience? 
"When I won my first World Cup medal in Prague 2012.
I would have never expect it and I just couldn’t believe it.
Who is the best paddler in the world?
"There are so many great athletes, I can’t decide who I love to watch the most. Jessica Fox and Peter Kauzer are definitely one of my favorites. Jess combines a great technique with power and bravery. She is so inspiring on and off the water. And Peter is my technique hero.
But next to them I really like to watch: Mallory Franklin, Ryan Westley & Denis Gargaud."
Who do you like to follow on Instagram?
"Jess is my favorite. Because she gives in insight her everyday training routine. Which is inspiring and motivating."
What are your goals and plans for the future? 
"Stay focused and never forget the fun."
What do you like to do when you are not in a kayak? 
"Athletics & sewing."