WA Sea Kayak Fest 2021 Team

The 2020 Sea Kayak Festival organisers are Sea Kayak Club WA’s, Steve Haddon, Tony Beswick, Les Allen, Steve Foreman, Jenni Harrison, and Nerissa Worwood, along with Paddle WA’s, Rosalie Evans. You can contact them via  email – fest@seakayakwa.asn.au and develop@paddlewa.asn.au.

Organising Team SKCWA

Steve Haddon

I am so lucky.  I started paddling about 25 years ago at Swan Canoe Club.  I was instantly hooked even with the frustration of trying to paddle in a straight line in a slalom boat. Paddling was totally absorbing and was a fantastic stress relief at the time.  I soon got into the adrenaline (read aaahhh) of white water and participated in a few Avon Descents.  Other commitments have come and gone so my time for paddling has also come and gone over the years.

I have been paddling in a sea kayak for a few years now. I am constantly amazed by the ocean with the variability of colours, waves, animals, rocks and reef.  From calm glassy water to breaking waves that appear out of nowhere.  Paddling gives a different perspective to the power and beauty of the ocean. Can’t wait to be on the water again.

Tony Beswick

Tony recently retired to do more kayaking and mountain bike riding. He mainly paddles and rolls a Greenland kayak with his mates around Hillarys. He is currently attempting to qualify as a Sea Leader. He delights in riding big swells and a month-long paddling expedition in Antarctica has been the highlight of his short kayaking career.

Les Allen

I’m a PA Senior Instructor and Assessor and have paddled most of the WA and East coast as well as Tasmania. I was one of the founding members of the Sea Kayak Club and started the Paddle Fest 10 years ago. Which now makes me an old man who still loves kayaking.

Jenni Harrison

I have been sea kayaking since 2012 and became an instructor in2016. Since then I’ve spent the last three years paddling the best bits of Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. I’m now back in Denmark and loving paddling what I have realised is the best sea kayaking coastline in Australia. I look forward to sharing my skill and experience, especially with women, and look forward to the day when I am not the only female in the Albany Sea Kayak Club.

Nerissa Worwood

Nerissa Worwood fell in love with kayaking at an early age, paddling down the Snowy River as a four-year-old on family camping trips. After having lived (and paddled) in Tasmania, QLD, NT and NSW, she moved with her family to Perth in 2016, where she is actively involved with her kid’s Sea Scouts Group. Prior to moving to WA and joining the SKCWA, she was a member of the NSW Sea Kayak Club where she gained her Sea Skills. Nerissa is looking forward to the diversity and beautiful scenery of Albany as well as meeting new paddlers.

Organising Team Paddle WA

Rosalie Evans

Sea Leaders

Paul Cooper

I have always had a passion for paddling even as a boy. Making canoes out of corrugated iron with my mates.

In 1972 I joined the Swan Canoe club and competed in the 1972 Australian Slalom Championships in Cowra, N.S.W.

In 2006 I became a member of the Sea Kayak Club and in that time have acquired my Sea Skills and Training certificates.

One of the greatest passions is helping and teaching new paddlers skills and promoting the sport in any way I can.

Colin Priest

My name is Colin Priest. I’ve always loved the outdoors and travelling to remote places. I got into paddling about 30 years ago and enjoyed exploring our rivers by canoe and kayak. I joined Swan Canoe Club in 1993 where I was introduced to kayak slalom and spent many weekends kayaking at the Harvey whitewater slalom course. In 1994 I became a flatwater instructor and in 1996 a whitewater instructor and slalom coach. I started sea kayaking about 20 years ago and in 2004 became a sea kayaking instructor and a Paddle Australia assessor. in 2012 I completed the Cert IV in Training and Assessment. I enjoy passing on my kayaking skills and introducing people to the joys of kayaking. I have been instructing and leading kayaking trips with Swan Canoe Club for over 20 years, training and assessing club members for Paddle Australia awards since 2004. In 2015 I was awarded life membership of Swan Canoe Club.

My favourite part of sea kayaking is going out on multi-day trips in remote areas, which I have done here in WA, interstate and overseas. In 2017 after retiring from my day job I joined the Sea Kayak Club WA, with the aim of getting involved with more sea kayaking activities.

Les Allen

Les Allen is on the organising committee as well as a speaker.
Read about Les above and in the Speaker’s section.

Jenni Harrison

Jenni is on the organising committee above. You can read about her there.

Judy Blight

I have paddled for 20 years and have enjoyed extending myself in the past but now I’m enjoying paddling to see marine and bird life in different places in Australia and overseas. I also enjoy teaching beginners Greenland rolling. I had the pleasure of being the President of the Sea Kayak Club WA for 10 years.

Ann Smithson

I have always been a passionately keen outdoorsy girl, and started kayaking regularly when I moved to Western Australia 10 years ago.  I particularly enjoy kayak expeditioning, and succeeded in my aim to lead remote kayaking trips in WA.  I also enjoy passing on my kayaking skills, and have been involved in instruction both through UWA and SKCWA.  I am proud to have completed an Avon Descent, and am an enthusiastic and very competitive rogainer.  Professionally, I am an ecologist and conservation biologist.  After many years in academia in the

UK lecturing in conservation biology, my move to sunny Western Australia lead to working in the science section at Kings Park researching our native plants.  I am now an independent ecological and botanical consultant, and enjoy bringing my passion for understanding wildlife to a wider audience.

Callan Gault

I‘ve always been into watersports of any kind – fishing, surfing, windsurfing, power boating/skiing, sailing and scuba diving to name a few. I started paddling about 8 years ago for a bit of fun and quickly found that it helped my core strength and improved my dodgy back – it also scratched my itch for adventure.

I’m a sea leader, and an AC instructor. I’m grateful to be involved in the sea kayaking community because it is full of fantastic people.

I find the power of the ocean, wind and waves exhilarating and love nothing more than battling the elements in a storm!

WA Sea Kayak Fest 2021 FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to organise car pooling/sharing to get to the event?

Can non paddlers attend the event?

What’s included in the registration fee?

Can I cancel my registration?

Do I need to be an experienced or advanced paddler to attend and enjoy the event?

How do I determine what level paddler I am for the Registration?

What catering is included? What food or drink do I need to bring?

What gear should I bring?

Can I bring a sit-on kayak?

As I am travelling from afar, is it possible to hire a kayak and equipment?

Things to do if you get there early.

Things to do for Non-Paddlers.

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Is there a way to organise car pooling/sharing to get to the event?

We very much encourage car pooling for travelling to and from the event. The best way to do this is to post a message on our Facebook page to make contact with fellow paddlers.

Can non paddlers attend the event?

Yes, Non-paddlers e.g. family members can attend the event. Please refer to the Registration page for details.

What’s included in the registration fee?

Please see the details on the Registration page of what is and what is not included in the entry fee.

Can I cancel my registration?

If you need to cancel your registration, you must let the event organisers know in writing. Please email us at develop@paddlewa.asn.au

Entry fee will be refunded for cancellations less an administration fee ($50) for cancellations before 30th January 2021. Thereafter no refunds shall be provided.

Do I need to be an experienced or advanced paddler to attend and enjoy the event?

The Sea Kayak Fest will include activities and paddles to suit all levels of paddlers from the advanced paddler to the beginner paddler.

There will also be a wide range on land activities as well as on water activities for all levels of participants.

How do I determine what level paddler I am for the Registration?

Beginner – you are learning to paddle your kayak more efficiently and developing skills in self and buddy rescues. You usually paddle in calm conditions and areas with low swell or are developing skills to paddle in the ocean conditions.

Intro to Sea Skills – you can paddle your kayak efficiently, competently participate in self and buddy rescues, launch and land in surf to 0.5m. You can paddle in conditions up to 17knots including areas of exposed coastline and up to 2NM offshore. You may not yet have a reliable eskimo roll.

Sea Skills – you have a reliable eskimo roll, can do a re-enter and roll, are able to execute a self-rescue, rescue others if required and execute towing systems. You are confident in surf to 1m, fresh conditions to 21knots and paddling on exposed sections of coastline including launching and landing in surf.

What catering is included? What food or drink do I need to bring?

Friday evening is planned as communal BBQ (BYO food and drinks) Please bring a salad/dessert/something to share.

Saturday evening is gourmet burgers and is included in your registration fee. Please advise dietary requirements at registration. Vegetarians will be catered for.

Sunday evening will be self-catered.

Breakfasts and lunches are self-catered. Kitchen area includes fridges and cooking facilities for meal preparation.

If you require any food or drink other than what we are providing on Saturday, then you will need to bring it – or there is supermarkets nearby if you need to buy additional snacks etc. as well as restaurants and take away options within short drive from the campsite.

Please note this is smoke free event.

What gear should I bring?

We suggest your gear list should include (but not be limited to):

  • Bring your full range of kayaking safety equipment including personal flotation device as you will not be allowed on the water without it. There are opportunities to go into a range of environments, so include lights and VHF radio if available.
  • Helmet – this will be a requirement of several of the paddles
  • Sea worthy Sit-in style Sea Kayak, Spray Skirt & Paddle
  • Paddle float & Snorkel Mask – for Eskimo rolling classes
  • Bring your kayaking clothes required for expected conditions in the region (e.g. hat, long sleeve rashy & warmer gear for immersion in water and wind)
  • Spare warm clothes to carry in your kayak (e.g. thermal top, beanie & cag)
  • Wet weather gear (hopefully we wont use it!)
  • Camping, Tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag etc as per accommodation details
  • Bunk room, bring your own pillow, linen, sleeping bag and towels
  • Cooking utensils
  • Torch/ head torch
  • Sunscreen and mozzie spray
  • Water bottles/bag … min 2L water
  • Thermos – if you wish to have a hot drink during the day sessions (as lunch may be held away from the camp)
  • Paddling snacks, any other snacks or special food items you wish to bring
  • Alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks – drinking water is available at the base camp
  • Toilet Paper & Trowel (in case needed on longer paddles)
  • Personal First Aid Kit & Medications
  • Yoga Mat/Foam Mat and Beach Towel
  • Enviro’ friendly shopping bags for any weekend purchases
  • Keep Cup if you plan on take-away coffees: We aim to avoid disposable cups
  • Remember to consider our “Paddle Lightly” theme when packing for the weekend.

Please refer to the WA Transport link with regards to safety equipment requirements. https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/marine/MAC-B-PaddleSafe.pdf

Can I bring a sit-on kayak?

Participants must have a sit-in kayak (sea kayak) with a spray deck to participate in group paddles as part of the Sea Kayak Fest.

As I am travelling from afar, is it possible to hire a kayak and equipment?

It is possible to hire a kayak from Rivergods in Perth. There are also other tour operators who may hire a kayak to experienced paddlers e.g. Capricorn Sea Kayaking. Please contact us if you are having trouble sourcing a boat.

Things to do if you get there early.

  • Launch and go for a paddle in the beautiful Shoal Bay & Frenchman Bay area
  • Visit Albany’s historic whaling station, the National ANZAC Centre, and the various lookouts

Things to do for Non-Paddlers.

Check out the local tourist websites:




WA Sea Kayak Fest 2021

The ‘Sea Kayak Fest 2021’ will be located in Albany WA. The location for the event is the Rotary Youth Camp, Little Grove. Albany is a wonderful location offering paddles of all adventure levels, from the calm waters in Princess Royal Harbour to more challenging paddles off the coast.

Experienced sea leaders are there to support each trip. Qualified instructors will be available to help you learn new skills and experience  the wonderful world of sea kayaking

A range of presenters (depending on Covid travel restrictions) will talk on their kayaking adventures from around the world. The Fest is a great way to be immersed in all things sea kayaking.

Have a look at the organising team.

If you need more information now, email fest@seakayakwa.asn.au.



WA Sea Kayak Fest 2021 Speakers


Pete Burgess, Suburban Raptors

Pete Burgess has been observing, photographing and writing about birds of prey for over two decades. Most of this work has been carried out in the south west of Western Australia with a special interest over the last decade in the birds of prey that call the suburbs of Perth their home.

This work led to the release of the book, Suburban Raptors, which is a photographic journal of the wild raptors inhabiting the suburbs of Perth. Pete’s interest in raptors started as a teenager when he first noticed hunting Kestrels and Ospreys operating around coastal dunes. Now in his fifties, Pete’s passion and interest in wild raptors is keener than ever.

Photo of osprey
Les Allen

Jenni and I have been wandering over east for 3 years paddling all the good spots from Tasmania to north Queensland. Our presentation is collage of enhanced images aimed to inspire paddling at any level. We will also answer any questions on paddling the east coast of Australia.

WA Sea Kayak Fest 2021 Program

The Program

We have created a 2021 Festival Events program for the event to showcase the array of local, and interstate paddlers who will offer exciting keynote presentations and choices for on/off-water sessions that we hope will leave you feeling inspired. As the event date approaches, this program will have updates made to it as required. You can download a PDF version of the current program by clicking on 2021 Festival Events Program.

Please note that ALL on-water sessions are weather and sea-state dependent and conditions may arise that result in paddles described having to be modified or replaced with an alternative.

At the event, a detailed paddling program will be finalised day-by-day, according to weather conditions and what the sea leader/event organisers feel is appropriate for overall safety. Sign-up sheets will be put up for the paddling program each evening and the paddles on offer will be described so you can make a choice.

We have tried to offer a range of paddles, so that there is something for everyone, as such, some paddles may require you to be at a sea skills level in order to sign on to them (see FAQ for skill level descriptions).

Highlights of this year’s event

Pete Burgess, Suburban Raptors.

Pete Burgess has been observing, photographing and writing about birds of prey for over two decades. Most of this work has been carried out in the south west of Western Australia with a special interest over the last decade in the birds of prey that call the suburbs of Perth their home.

Les Allen.

Les has spent the last 3 years paddling East Coast of Australia. He is a founding member of the Sea Kayak Club of WA and has a wealth of knowledge through his extensive paddling experience. Les is passionate about sea lkayaking and loves to pass on his knowledge to others.

• Exciting range of choices for Sea Kayaking trips, practical sessions and workshops

• Programmed activities to help develop sea kayaker skill and confidence

• Leisure time to network and socialize with fun like-minded paddlers

• Participation in an environmentally and family friendly event