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Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 11:00 UK
Splashing about on the Broads
Jenny Kirk
By Jenny Kirk
BBC Norfolk

Tony Urwin in his canoe
Former power-boater Tony Urwin runs Bank Boats at Stalham and sees canoes rather than motor boats as the future for the Broads

Tony Urwin, 56, went from being a self-confessed 'mad idiot', to spend his time paddling on the Norfolk Broads.

For the last 27 years he's been running his boating business on the water, but he's moving from traditional engine powered boats to man power.

"They are so noisy, even the electric boats - canoes are the way forward," said Tony.

In 2002 he was invited to join a Broads Authority scheme to promote eco-tourism by creating a designated canoe centre.

There are now 11 canoe depots linked across the Broads, containing around 100 of the boats between them.

Bank Boats, the name of Tony's company, has special boats for disabled people and caters for school parties, as well as offering evening paddles for stressed office workers.

Norfolk Broads
You can experience the fun of the Broads without the noise of an engine

Tony used to be a power-boater, where he regularly raced at Oulton Broad and in the National Championships.

"This is a total change for me, from being an idiot to appreciating what's out there," he said.

What's more, he doesn't do it for the money, he does it for the love of boating.

"It's a way of life. You get hooked on the wildlife and I even canoe in my spare time - it's just magical," said Tony.

Find out more about canoeing on the Norfolk Broads.

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