Leo got his addiction for paddling at 9 years of age, when he joined Proteus Canoe Club in Peterborough.

Back then slalom was the thing to do, and Leo competed to a high level, representing Great Britain for 6 years. In those years he raced and trained all over the world, achieving forth place in the Junior Worlds, a place in the squad for the Barcelona Olympics, and many wins at Junior Internationals. He finished chasing sticks in 1992 after appearing on the programme ‘Paddles Up’, and being ranked in the top 10 UK seniors. From 1992 to 1994 he coached the Welsh junior and senior squads and the British intermediate slalom teams.

The seed had been planted to see and experience other places and cultures at an early age and discovering the open canoe and sea kayak has allowed him to go on some amazing adventures, including:

  • a year living in New Zealand and Tasmania: racing, training, river running and exploring.
  • in 2001, 2 months unsupported sea kayaking with paddling partner Olly in the Ammassalak area of S.E. Greenland in search of Gino Watkins’ grave.
  • a very exciting open canoe decent of the Rio Grande in Mexico with lots of snakes and guns.
  • solo circumnavigation of Easter Island in a 10-year-old white water boat and kayaking many of the now classic white water rivers of Chile.
  • 10 weeks of kayak safari on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe dodging (big) animals and then paddling the mighty Zambezi. 
  • in 2002, 3 months paddling with Olly the coastline of Norway, around Nordkapp in an attempt to paddle from the UK to Russia.

Over the past 15 years Leo has led many commercial expeditions in Scotland, North Wales, Norway, Sardinia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Hong Kong, Philippines and most recently kayak guiding for Gene17 in the Grand Canyon.

BCU Coaching handbookSea Kayak SafetyHe has contributed chapters to the BCU Canoe Kayak Handbook and the BCU Coaching Handbook, and made smaller contributions to the books Top Tips for Coaches and Canoe Games. Leo was actively involved with the development of the new UKCC coaching awards, producing resources, running pilots and fine-tuning the structure.

Leo co-directed and produced the DVD Sea Kayak Safety with paddling partner Olly Sanders.

Before setting up Getafix he worked for Plas Y Brenin for 7 years and freelanced for centres country-wide providing staff training and technical direction.

Leo’s qualifications include:

  • BCU Level 5 Kayak
  • BCU Level 5 Canoe
  • BCU Level 4 Sea
  • REC Senior Trainer Level 6
  • Rescue 3 Europe Instructor
  • Rescue 3 Europe Advanced SRT
  • WEMSI Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
  • SQA level 4 learning and development (SQCF level 9)
  • Winston Churchill Fellow 2002. Sea kayaking expedition UK to Russia
  • UKCC/BCU Director Levels 1-3
  • MLTB Mountain Leader
  • MLTB Single pitch supervisor
  • MLTB Winter Mountain Leader trained
  • BCA Cave and Mine Leader Level 2 Trained.

 

Team Pyranha