This Southampton student is about to head off to Australia to compete in the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships. 

Piran Phillips, a 20-year-old high-performance athlete at Solent University, is one to watch with a particular talent for surf lifesaving, ocean kayaking, ski and canoeing.

He is set to begin his journey at the Shaw and Partners WA Race Week – the world’s most coveted ocean paddling event – before competing in the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships in Perth, from November 30.

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To qualify for the championships, Piran took part in an intense summer of trials around the UK, finishing first in each of his category races.

Competing in the Under 23 sections of the championships, Piran is one of just two who qualified to travel to Australia for the event.

In between races, Piran, who is originally from Cornwall, will be training with some of the sport’s top competitors, honing his skills and carving out a name for himself on the world stage.

Hampshire Chronicle: Piran Phillips in the water at the Sussex Classics in June 2023

He told the Daily Echo: "This is what I train for every day. Opportunities like these don’t come around often.  I get to go and have the biggest experience in my sporting journey to date. Without the University supporting me, I would be spending Christmas in the UK training in the dark. Instead, thanks to the lecturers and staff who believe in me and my sport, I’m going to compete in one of the world’s biggest ocean events.

“It’s my ambition to finish in the top ten at the world championships, but just being good enough to qualify, and represent Great Britain, is a brilliant feeling.”

A second year student excelling in sports journalism, Piran was awarded a sporting scholarship earlier this year and invited to join Solent’s high-performance academy which supports the next generation of sporting talent, including Commonwealth gold-medal winning gymnast, Kelly Simm.

The academy helps rising athletes manage their sporting and academic careers as they cope with the demands that come with being an athlete competing at the highest level.