Contributors - Scottish Sea Kayak Symposium

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2018 Symposium

Gordon Brown

Gordon is one of only three doubly qualified level 5 coaches (sea & Inland kayak) in Scotland. This is the highest coach award achievable in the UK. He has a lifetime's experience on rivers and the sea.  He has guided on rivers in Nepal where he ran the first river safety course for kayakers supporting commercial rafting. He has trained both British and American Special Forces. He is also the Scottish representative on the BCU level 5 development team, and has written the chapter on sea kayaking for the latest edition of the BCU Handbook. Gordon has written his own successful book on sea kayaking skills and produce DVDs. Gordon Co owns Skyak Adventures

Doug Cooper

For those that do not know Doug, here is what he says about himself
For over twenty years I have worked at Glenmore Lodge, the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre as a British Canoeing Level 5 Sea Coach, Level 5 White Water Coach and Level 4 Surf Coach. This has kept me busy on the water helping other paddlers develop their skills or become coaches and leaders themselves. In doing this I have created a strong coaching/leadership ethos and philosophy which has the learner/participant at the heart of the process and is focused about empowering them to be all they can, in a supportive and inspirational way.
Any time away from coaching I ideally spend exploring the worlds’ coastlines, rivers and surf breaks (along with ski touring and rock climbing) in far-flung destinations. At weekends it will be in Scotland, which of course offers some of the best adventure locations in the world, on holidays it will be further a field to destinations warm and cold. I have enjoyed many paddling expeditions throughout the UK as well as Greenland, Canada, USA, Iceland, Norway, Alaska, Austria, Switzerland, France, Corsica, Croatia, Sardinia, India and Nepal.
I am also passionate about sharing my knowledge and I have done this by writing about paddling, with two instructional books (Sea Kayak Handling and Rough Water Handling) and three guide books (Scottish Sea Kayaking, North and East Coasts of Scotland Guide, Skye and the North West Highlands Scotland Guide).
In addition to all of this I am actively involved in supporting and developing coaching in the Adventure Sports Coaching Sector, working closely with many NGB’s, in particular British Canoeing. With an MSc in Performance Coaching from Stirling University as well as a UKCC Level 4 Award in Paddlesport I have developed plenty of thoughts to share, aiming to learn from theory but contextualize it in a practical and applied way. This has included publishing papers in academic journals and supporting other written material linked to coaching in the Adventure Sports Coaching world.

In essence if I’m having an adventure and supporting others achieving their dreams I’m a pretty content person!

Nick Cunliff

Nigel Dennis

Nigel Dennis started his kayaking career by the circumnavigation of Great Britain in 1980 with Paul Carffyn. This expedition was the first successful circumnavigation of Scotland, Wales & England taking 65 kayaking days. This was the start of Nigel's career in coaching and Sea kayak expedition. In 1995 Nigel Dennis Kayaks was formed and since then a range of kayaks have been designed. This range can be used from the beginner to advanced sea kayakers. The kayaks have been used on many expeditions and are now available at Nordkapp Trust Expedition Centres around the world.

Kate Duffus

Phil Eccles

Phil  is a BCU Level 5 Sea kayak coach from Wales

Oisin Hallissey

Oisin is Head of Canoesport at Tollymore National Outdoor Centre in Northern Ireland. He is a BCU Level 5 Coach (Sea); Level 5 Coach (Inland) and Level 4 Coach (Surf) .

Jas Hepburn

Howard Jeffs

Howard  has been sea kayaking for nearly 40 years and has worked and paddled in most of Europe, Arctic Norway, Svalbard and Greenland, North America, Sri Lanka, Maldives and the Galapagos Islands, his love for the diverse west coast of Britain still remains ever strong. His particular passion is the west coast of Scotland.  The author of A Practical Guide to Sea Canoeing, he is involved in sea kayak design and manufacturing.

Jim Kennedy

Kevin Mansell

BCU Level 5 Sea Coach and the owner of the best and widest collection of sea kayaking books known to man.


This is what Kevin Mansell has to say about himself.
"I started kayaking in Jersey, in 1969, on a beach less than a mile from where I now live.  It is still one of my favourite places to paddle but during the intervening 49 years I have been fortunate enough to visit some superb areas in pursuit of kayaking.  My favourite waters are in the Arctic but as I have got older I have started to appreciate the attractions of the Mediterranean and Mexico for paddling.   I qualified as British Canoeing Level 5 Coach in 1986, and although I have coached in numerous countries my focus remains in Jersey, I was a founding member of Jersey Canoe Club in 1974.  After 38 years of working in education I am now using retirement to explore even more areas.  I am looking forward to the 2018 Symposium as I have attended everyone since 1995."

Nicky Mansell

Nicky introduces herself

I have been kayaking now for over 40 years which is pretty frightening and been a sea kayak coach for around 30 of those mainly in the local club setting. As a retired Geography teacher most holidays have been spent on kayak trips or trekking to remote areas. This year has included paddles in the Lipari Islands, Gozo, Malta, Brittany, Spain, Holland, Mauritius and Baja. I have also spent 12 weeks in Greenland in the Disko Bay area and of course spend time in the local waters around the Channel Islands. My expertise lies in the soft skills of interpreting the landscape and seascape that we travel through and I like nothing more than guiding groups and opening their eyes to what they are seeing around them and helping them understand the weather, tides and currents and the geography and geology of the coast.

Mike McClure

Mike is a BCU Level 5 Coach Sea, 5 Inland and 4 Surf.Mike works as an instructor on training courses at the Tollymore Mountain Centre. He has been involved in canoesport for many years and has had a major impact in the development of canoeing both locally and nationally, particularly with young people. He has been involved in the administration of canoesport, through the governing body, the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland. He established Seaboard Canoeing Association, a club for young people in the South Down area.


Ken Nicol

Ken holds the   BCU Level 5 Coach (Sea), Coach Level 4 (Inland) and Coach Level 3 (Surf) awards and has run numerous sea kayaking courses in Scotland. He is based in Thurso and he has organised many kayak competitions (national and international) including 2 world kayak surf championships. He is the secretary and founder member for the local canoe club in Thurso. Besides leading sea kayaking trips around the Scottish coastline for the Club,  he has  taken Club trips to  Norway, Greenland and Croatia.  Thurso is another area which offers very challenging sea kayaking due to the strong tides of the  Pentland Firth .

Andy Stamp

BCU Level 5 Sea Coach, 3 Inland and 4 Surf with an interest in marine electronics.

Donald Thompson

Donald has been expedition paddling in Scotland and abroad since the mid 1970s, and an active coach in both sea and river paddling since 1977. He holds BCU level 5 Coach Awards in both Sea and Inland kayaking. Donald is one of only a few who have kayaked the Orkney-Fair Isle- Shetland crossing, and was expedition leader for the first successful return kayak trip to St Kilda, 42miles into the Atlantic Ocean


Rowland Woollven

Rowland Woollven,  introduces himself.

Currently in at least his 50th year of paddling, Rowland now concentrates mainly on the sea, having in the past experienced the varied delights of sprint, long distance and marathon paddling, whitewater racing, down river touring, slalom, surf and canoe polo!   He has expedition experience in Canada, Alaska, Norway and France and in 2012 completed the circumnavigation of Great Britain, becoming the 19th person to do so, the oldest paddler so far and the first to do it with a Greenland-style paddle.   As well as being a Level 5 Sea Coach and Level 3 Surf Coach, he is a member of the WEMSI-International teaching faculty presenting Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician courses across Europe.   He is the author of ‘Sticking With It – A Sea Kayak Odyssey Around Britain’.
 
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