Here you will find information about the people who are involved with the 8th UK Storm Gathering, which is taking place from February 20 to 22, 2016. Learn about the organisers, presenters, coaches and safety crew who will be shaping your event experience.
Mark Tozer has been messing around in all kinds of boats in all kinds of waters as an active paddler and coach for the past 25 years, with sea kayaking being his main specialism. In particular, Mark has made the most of the tide races and overfalls of Anglesey for his personal paddling as well as his classroom. Mark now travels the globe, teaching alongside his wife, Helen.
Mark holds several British Canoe Union awards, including the coveted Level 5 Coach (Sea). He is a BCU Star Award examiner, and an ISKGA Guide. Having explored Greenland with Helen, Mark has come to recognise that modern paddling skills owe much to our Greenlandic cultural heritage of yesterday. He enjoys the blend of teaching traditional skills using contemporary coaching processes and puts his students at the center of the experience. Mark and Helen are the owners of Greenland or Bust.
Helen Tozer-Wilson is a sea kayaker out of Arcata, California. She enjoys open ocean paddling in her skin-on-frame qajaq and can be found playing off the northern California coastline and in the lagoons several times a week. She is never far from water and enjoys being underwater as much as being on the surface.
Helen specialises in traditional paddling skills using traditional equipment. She competed in the Greenland National Kayaking Championship in 2008 (Qaqortoq) and again in 2010 (Nuuk), receiving five medals in four disciplines. Helen and her husband Mark have also hosted commercial expeditions on the east and south coasts of Greenland.
Helen performs rolling demonstrations, presentations and instructs at events worldwide. She has written skills articles for several publications including Sea Kayaker magazine, The Masik, Ocean Paddler magazine and Canoe & Kayak. She is also the art director for The Masik. In May 1010 she released an instructional DVD, Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson. In September 2013 Helen and Mark released a second DVD, Yoga for Outdoor People. Both DVDs are available worldwide. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Qajaq USA. Helen is an ACA Instructor with an ACA Rolling Endorsement and is also an ISKGA Guide.
Besides from being a kayaker, Helen’s other passion is yoga. She is a registered yoga teacher (RYT), and often runs Yoga for Padders at symposiums. Helen and Mark are the owners of Greenland or Bust.
Jeff Allen founded Sea Kayaking Cornwall in 2003, and probably knows the Cornish coast better than any other paddler. He is a world renowned expedition sea kayaker, and has chalked up circumnavigations of Japan, South Georgia and Ireland as well as completing expeditions in Norway, Sweden, Alaska and Scotland.
Jeff has given presentations and run courses all over the world including:- Iceland, Israel, Maine, Georgia, Michigan, San Francisco, Finland, Norway. He specialises in Incident management and rough water rescues. Jeff is also the founder of the International Sea Kayak Guides Association.
Phil Clegg is the owner of Sea Kayaking Anglesey. He has lived and coached sea kayaking on Anglesey for the last twelve years. He is a skilled paddler, and his abilities in a boat are matched by his ability to teach others effectively with his fun and friendly manner.
Phil regularly attends symposiums, events and expeditions around the UK and abroad but believes Anglesey to be the best place in the world to coach sea kayaking. With his in depth knowledge of the local areas he is always keen to select a trip that will best suit your wants and needs, and with a degree in Zoology he knows a bit about the local wildlife too.
Phil’s expeditions have taken him from the Arctic to the Equator and most notably a record breaking circumnavigation of Great Britain in 80 days. He is a BCU Level Five Coach, ISKGA Guide, a Sea Kayaking UK, Celtic Paddles and Palm sponsored paddler.
Jonny Eldridge has been kayaking since the age of 9, when he took his first paddle strokes on the River Dee, near to his childhood home in Chester. Since then he has clocked up many miles from the cockpit of a kayak. Initially proving himself on the white water test pieces of North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland, before venturing further afield to explore the rivers of the European Alps, Chile & Patagonia.
Jonny has been working, professionally, in the outdoors for over 10 years, with a focus on sea kayak coaching and guiding. He has spent many seasons on the west coast of Scotland, guiding a wide variety of trips from the Mull of Kintyre and Isle of Gigha in the south, to the Summer Isles and Cape Wrath in the far north and has undertaken crossings to, and completed circumnavigations of, many of the Hebridean Islands. In addition, he has participated in a 5 week long sea kayak expedition to British Columbia, and lead paddling expeditions to Norway, Madagascar and Thailand.
Jonny is in his element in the outdoors. Especially when journeying by sea kayak. He has a passion for nature, wild places and people, combined with a love of play and adventure. Most importantly he is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with other people. He is dedicated to helping his fellow paddlers to discover, achieve and progress.
Jonny has made his home in North Wales. He lives with his partner Katy, in the foothills of Snowdonia National Park, close to the tidal waters of the Menai Straits & internationally renowned sea kayaking play ground of Anglesey. Jonny is also registered as an ISKGA Guide.
After completing a degree in Health & Exercise and then a PGCE in Outdoor Education from Bangor, North Wales, Ollie Jay moved to Northumberland for work in 1999. He headed North to work as a deputy head of a local outdoor Charity and then worked as an adventure activity tutor at Ford Castle, Northumberland’s last remaining centre for 9 years before its closure.
Ollie Jay owns and runs Active4Seasons, which he set up as a hobby in 2000. He has been running it full time as a self employed coach since Sep 2011. Ollie started canoeing at the age of nine at school and has been a full time BCU Level 4 Sea and River Kayak coach as well as Level 3 Open Canoe coach for a long time (15 years).
Ollie currently offers made-to-measure guided trips and coaching mainly in beautiful North Northumberland but is lucky enough to get to play elsewhere when clients ask for something a bit more out there. Ollie has been fortunate to paddle in Chile, Alaska, Canada, Morocco, The French Alps, Norway and Germany and extensively around the UK and Ireland in his 41-year paddling career.
Jim Krawiecki started paddling in any old kayak that he could muster during his school holidays. Having endured the pleasures and pain of a musical career he returned to kayaking for further enrichment. Since then he has paddled and swum many of the exciting white water rivers of England, Scotland and Wales, as well as many of those in the French Alps.
Jim’s passion for sea kayaking inspired him to write the popular guidebook ‘Welsh Sea Kayaking’ and the subsequent sea kayaking guidebook ‘Northern England & the Isle of Man’. Jim is also a registered as an ISKGA Guide.
More recently Jim’s attention has moved to the icy and mountainous coast of east Greenland and its associations with the mysterious disappearance of the British Arctic explorer ‘Gino Watkins’.
Back home in the UK, Jim has been poking his nose into and under Anglesey’s caves, cliffs and rock gardens for countless summers. Join him for another rummage!
Website: Jimski’s Blog
Ben Lawry has been paddling for over 30 years, and teaching/guiding for over 20. He has taught paddling on five continents and competed on three. Presently he works as the National Technical Instructor for Confluence Outdoor to enhance the company’s training and education program for retailers and the paddling public.
Ben has led trips and traveled extensively in South America, South Africa, Europe and North America. Ben splits his time teaching paddling and working with stores. His teaching also takes him to symposiums, shows and paddling rendezvous all over the United States. As a brand ambassador, he is involved with kayak design in sea, light touring and racing kayaks.
All of which has led to an in-depth knowledge of instruction/guiding practices and procedures, strong commitment to quality service, as well as excellent organizational and problem solving skills. He enjoys competing in sprint, sea kayak, slalom, rodeo, marathon canoe and kayak, outrigger, surf ski and wildwater events.
Mike Mayberry has over thirty years of kayaking experience in various disciplines. His coaching skills unite his sweeping rapport with people with his personal paddle skills.
Mike’s personal kayaking accomplishments will provide you with the comfort that he has endured and relished significant challenges learning from each one thus allowing him to be confident coaching others through their own challenges. This authority is communicated without effort and so your time with Mike will be outrageously enjoyable – you will have left your comfort zone with relative ease.
He has kayaked across the Irish Sea twice, led two ten day courses in Cyprus for the British Army, Circumnavigated Wales and Mike also led the second ever sea kayaking trip out to the Smalls Lighthouse some twenty five years after the first one!
Mike’s day job, as owner of Mayberry Kayaking est. 2006, is marketing and selling courses and tours in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Mike uses his skills and experience in sea kayaking to help people with all abilities paddle around the stunning Pembrokeshire coast. Mike Mayberry is the only coach in the UK to have paddled every part of Britain’s only coastal National park!
Steve Miles is a local paddler to Anglesey with ancestry on the island going back as far as the evolution of Homo sapiens. Spending every minute he can kayaking in his local waters, there’s little he doesn’t know about the paddling and history of the the area.
Venturing further afield than his front door, Steve has paddled in Greenland and extensively in the UK, including the ‘Roof of Britain’. He is currently making his way around Ireland.
Steve is a UKCC Level 2 paddlesport coach and BCU 5* sea kayak leader. He is also a ISKGA Guide.
Zoe Newsam is a sea kayak guide and coach based in the Scottish Highlands. With a background in sailing from a very young age, she gravitated towards sea kayaking eventually, for the ability to ‘make of it what you like’, from a gentle pootle on glassy seas to a long, remote expedition, or a day playing in the waves at Penrhyn Mawr.
Zoe paddled on the sea for many years just for fun, then in 2013 decided to make the leap and begin earning a living from her passion. She runs Zoe Newsam Guiding, and works freelance for a variety of organisations around the UK, and in 2015 kayaked, walked and cycled ‘Right Round Scotland’, raising £2000 for Scottish Mountain Rescue in the process.
Paddling adventures have taken her to many places around the world, among her favourites being the remoteness and ice of East Greenland, and the caves, arches, stacks and weather of Shetland. Anglesey holds a particularly special place in her heart though, and she makes the pilgrimage as often as possible. Join her for exploration and coaching in one of the best sea kayaking destinations on the planet!
Zoe holds the BCU 5 star sea kayak leader award, and is a UKCC Level 2 coach with Moderate Water Endorsement (sea).
Geth Roberts is a Biology and Outdoor Education school teacher. Whenever possible, he likes to incorporate Marine Science and Maritime History into his lessons/activities. This links in with his passion for exploring the ocean environment by: kayak, sailing boat or scuba diving.
He regularly coaches white water kayaking, canoeing and sea kayaking. During past summer holidays, he has been fortunate to have led groups on mountaineering, kayaking and scuba diving expeditions to European, North African and South-East Asian destinations.
Geth is co-owner of Sea Kayaking Wales and is excited to be coaching sea kayak sailing in partnership with P & H Custom Sea Kayaks.
Shaun Rogers is an Irish South African Greek kayaker who is responsible for keeping the wheels of Sea Kayaking Cornwall grinding on, as well as working out on the water. He loves guiding and this is instantly obvious when you see his enthusiasm for the sport. He has kayaked extensively around the world and has been based in the Mediterranean for the past 6 years. He is now living in Cornwall to help SKC move forward to meet the demand for high quality courses and expeditions. Shaun is an ISKGA Guide.
James Stevenson is based on Anglesey in North Wales where he owns and runs his sea kayaking business Adventure Elements. He is a BCU level 5 sea coach and has been paddling since he was 13. Through sea kayaking James has enjoyed paddling for himself, as well as leading groups, in many areas of the UK and Europe as well as Alaska, Canada, Iceland and Israel.
Whether it’s paddling in the tidal races at home on Anglesey or exploring the dramatic sea cliffs of the Shetland Isles the draw of paddling on the ocean and introducing people to this amazing environment is what drives James in his career as a Sea Kayak Coach and ISKGA Guide.
Johan Wagner has been coaching paddling and outdoors skills full time trade since 1999. He loves physical and psychological challenges and can often find simple greatness in the present.
Coming from a Martial Arts background Johan started his journey as a instructor and coach in sea kayaking during his university years in Northern Norway. The harsh physical environment there soon made good knowledge and safety strategies a prime topic for him.
After a visit to the very dynamic and challenging waters in Wales he quickly developed a lean towards more technical paddling. Since then he has spends many weeks every year in tidal waters coaching and leading groups.
Originally a mountaineer, Nick Arding started sea kayaking with his wife in 2007 after a farming accident left her unable to walk for a year. Philippa went back to climbing as soon as possible but Nick had become ‘hooked’ on his new found passion.
An ISKGA guide, Nick has paddled throughout the UK and in Norway. In 2013 Nick paddled from his home town Totnes, in South Devon, to John O Groats raising funds and awareness for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). For the final 800 miles of this journey, after his original paddling partner succumbed to injury, he was joined by Philippa (who apparently felt partly responsible for him being there in the first place!). Nick is also an ISKGA Guide.
Daniel Bengtsson was born into the kayaking industry through the family business. He was introduced paddling at the age of 3 and from the age of 14, worked as an instructor in the family business. Daniel is now the CEO and Chief Instructor at Kanotcenter SVIMA SPORT AB, located in Stockholm, Sweden.
At university he started to play and compete in Canoe Polo both nationally and internationally representing Sweden. His main background is Sea Kayaking but polo, whitewater, surf kayaking, surf ski are all disciplines he enjoys and indulges in.
Daniel is talented paddler, but also a modest man as a coach. His students visibly grow under his tutelage. Daniel is an ISKGA guide and BCU 5 Star Leader. He is also a European Paddle Pass Examiner.
Duncan Greene has been kayaking for 45 years. He has paddled extensively in Great Britain, enjoying all aspects of the sport from surfing the North East Coast, through to river paddling throughout England and Wales. Living in the North East prior to moving to Cumbria gave Duncan great access to some of the best rivers in England.
Duncan has always sea kayaked. However, over that last 6 years this has been his passion and has enjoyed becoming a BCU 4 Sea Leader. Duncan have sea kayaked throughout Great Britain from the Outer Hebrides to Cornwall and most of the bits in between. Duncan loves leading groups, watching them develop as individuals and as a group during multi-day trips to unreachable places.
It was not until Duncan became a Scout leader in 1984 that he formalised his experience by first qualifying as a Summer Mountain Leader, then later as a Winter Mountain Leader. Duncan also holds the Single Pitch Award, BCU Level 3 Inland Kayak with Moderate Water Endorsement. Duncan is an ISKGA Guide and Module Provider.
David Horkan started to kayak at the age of 12 and was exposed to a variety of disciplines growing up. Polo, Whitewater and Surf were where he honed his skills in his early years on the West coast of Ireland. After taking a break from the sport for a few years while at University, he returned to kayaking with a ferocious appetite to seek new challenges and see where kayaking could take him. It now takes up most of him time both business and personal. A guide, coach and athlete, he competes at a high level in multiple disciplines. From paddling raging whitewater rivers, surfing walls of Atlantic swell, to racing over incredibly long distances, David does it all. His passion for being on the water and commitment to pushing his boundaries make him the epitome of the “all round” kayaker.
A Canoeing Ireland Kayak Instructor in whitewater, surf and sea-kayaking, and ISKGA Coastal Guide, David is also a leave No Trace Trainer. A regular competitor at events all over Europe-he has kayaked in Italy, Slovenia, Malta, England, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Netherlands and Austria.
Whether it’s tackling Whitewater rivers, marathon racing around Europe or sea kayaking on the rugged Irish coast, David is always looking to grow as a paddler. In recent times he has found a passion for performance Sea Kayaking where he can combine elements of all his paddling experience. While David has amassed a considerable amount of water time and professional qualifications since his return to the sport, he feels that this is merely the start of a much greater journey.
Achievements include two top ten finishes in the Devizes to Westminster kayak race, crossings of the North Channel of the Irish Sea, Speed descent of the River Shannon & Record circumnavigations of Achill Island.Website: www.dhkayaking.com
Joe Leach has been paddling for twelve years and coaching for around ten. Having grown up on the Isle of Man, sea kayaking was an obvious discipline of paddlesport for him to fall into.
Joe’s experiences in competitive fields namely Canoe Polo and Ultra Marathon kayaking, have shaped his vision of sea kayaking and Joe enjoys dovetailing these experiences into his work as a guide and coach.
Joe’s paddling achievements include crossings such as Isle of Man to Scotland, to Ireland and to Anglesey. His 2012 UK Circumnavigation has had a profound effect on his approach to expeditions and personal goals.
Joe believes in practising for real situations and taking a methodical approach to training and rescues. He has previously been in privileged of being head coach at Sea Kayaking Cornwall. Joe feels he is constantly learning from his colleagues and his students. Joe is an ISKGA Guide.
Stuart Leslie started paddling at the age of 15, doing it all from sea kayaking, white water, canoeing and wave ski, but it was when he chose to study Outdoor Education that he began to consider it as a full time career.
In May 2012, Stuart, along with a friend and his brother, set off from their hometown of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in their sea kayaks. They turned left and kept going until they returned back 2,500 miles and 96 days later.
Stuart is the youngest sea kayaker to have circumnavigated Great Britain and part of the only team to have done it anti clockwise.
He is a BCU Five Star Sea Kayak Leader, a BCU | UKCC Level Two Coach and a Celtic Paddles and Sea Kayaking UK sponsored paddler.
Dan McGonigle originally comes from a small town on the north coast of Ireland. Brought up three minutes walk from a beach, he soon found a love for kayaking, surfing and sailing. He has been paddling now for over 11 years and has worked as a guide and coach at home in Ireland, as well as here North Wales. During his time at Bangor University studying Sport Science (Outdoor Activities), he had a lot of time to explore the local area and progress his own personal skills in a sea kayak.
Over the last year he has become more and more interested in the Performance aspects of sea kayaking. Trying to put some of his sports science knowledge to good use, both in a physiological and psychological sense. This interest has become even more prominent after himself and Stephen Miles circumnavigated Ireland during the summer of 2015.
One thing that Dan enjoys is training and paddling in bad weather. A stolen few hours in less than ideal conditions is more valuable to him than a day paddling in the sun. Dan feels that if you spend your life waiting for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.
He currently holds a Moderate Water Endorsement Sea, UKCC Level 2 and is an aspirant 5* Sea leader. At the moment Dan works in both retail and coaching at Surf-Lines Ltd in Llanberis North Wales.
Joe Shelverton started paddling as a teenager, spending the majority of his time in a white water environment. After moving to Cornwall in 2001, he discovered the world of sea kayaking and was immediately converted to the discipline by the challenges and wide variety of experiences that it offers.
Joe can regularly be found coaching and guiding around the Cornish coastline as well as further afield; working with a variety of paddlers to help them achieve their aims and explore their inner dimensions as much as the surrounding environment.
An ISKGA Guide, BCU Coach and Joint Services Expedition leader, Joe truly believes that every paddle is a learning opportunity for all participants and focuses on providing a safe yet challenging environment so people can achieve their goals.
Mirco Stefan is passionate about sea kayaking. Originally from south west Germany, he has been paddling since the age of 8. Mirco grew up with biking, skating, fishing along with kayaking as part of his outdoor life.
He has travelled extensively around the world. Notable countries include Switzerland, Canada, North America and New Zealand. All places he has worked and had many great adventures. Most recently, Mirco paddled 1560km around Ireland in 2015.
Mirco has achieved the UKCC Level 1 coach award and is a BCU 4 Star leader. His current development goals include preparing for the 5 Star assessment and become an ISKGA Guide in 2016. As a sea kayaker he is supported by SeaKayakingUK.
When not in a sea kayak, Mirco can be found in the kitchen of Dylans in Menai Bridge as one of their master chefs with over 15 years of experience.
Contact us if you have any questions, queries or want more information about the event.
The UKSGS Team: Mark Tozer • Helen Tozer-Wilson