Leo got his addiction to 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 fourth place in the Junior Worlds (Sjoa, Norway), a place in the squad for the Barcelona Olympics, and many wins at Junior Internationals, former British Champion K1 Men U18 (1992), U16 (1990) and U14 (1988).
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 Chile's now-classic white water rivers.
- 3 months leading kayak safari's on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe dodging (big) animals and then paddling the mighty Zambezi.
- in 2002, 3 months paddling with Olly on the coastline of Norway, around Nordkapp in an attempt to paddle from the UK to Russia.
- Orkhon Canyon in Mongolia, Canoe expedition. Guiding the APA staff team through a true wilderness.
Over the past 25 years Leo has led many commercial expeditions in Scotland, North Wales, Norway, Sardinia, Croatia, Mongolia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Hong Kong, Philippines, and guiding for Gene17 in the Grand Canyon.
He 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 co-directed and produced the DVD Sea Kayak Safety with paddling partner Olly Sanders.
Leo has a long history with British Canoeing and Rescue Emergency Care developing qualifications and awards, producing resources, running pilots, and fine-tuning the structure and content. Leo is currently contracted by British Canoeing as a Standards Officer and National Trainer.
Before setting up Getafix he worked for Plas Y Brenin for 8 years and freelanced for centres country-wide providing staff training and technical advice.
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
- Post Graduate Diploma (with Merit) in Elite Performance
- Currently working on Doctorate in Elite Performance
- SQA level 5 Management (SQCF level 11, Masters equivalent)
- SQA level 4 learning and development (SQCF level 9, Degree equivalent)
- SQA level 4 Management (SQCF level 9, Degree equivalent)
- CMI Chartered Fellow (CMgr FCMI)
- RGS Fellow (FRGS)
Winston Churchill Fellow 2002. Sea kayaking expedition UK to Russia
- MLTB Mountain Leader
- MLTB Single pitch supervisor
- MLTB Winter Mountain Leader trained
- BCA Cave and Mine Leader Level 2 Trained.