Last year, during lock down, I spoke to several kayakers whom I've been lucky enough to meet over the years and posted some articles about them.Lockdown was lifted and we all got back on the water but I still have a few conversations left!
John Willacy is a quiet, unassuming coach but he has an impressive kayaking logbook!
He is the only person to have completed two solo circumnavigations of the UK- one clockwise and one anti clockwise. He holds the record for the fastest crossing from Holyhead to Dublin, crossing from Soldier’s Point to Howth in Dublin- 55.8 nautical miles in 11 hours, 19 minutes and 59 seconds.
John was interested in water from an early age, starting out with the Scouts and then joining the local club. Paddling for nearly forty years (sorry John :)) it's become a part of his life or as he says- "life is just part of my paddling". He has a fascination with learning how the water moves,how to read it and how to use its features to get places. This love of the water and getting places fast has led to working with Mike Webb at Rockpool Kayaks developing beautiful fast boats. His testing ground for the kayaks are the waters of Anglesey, the Menai Straits and the many tidal races around the island.
His website Performance Sea Kayak creates a permanent register of trips which have tested limits but it’s also there for paddlers with their own personal challenge whatever that may be- as John says “Hopefully, we will sow seeds of inspiration for other paddlers who dream…” When I asked John what his top tip for paddling was he said” Don’t talk about it, don’t watch it- do it!”
John’s most essential kayaking equipment? He said –“ Give me a Rockpool Taran, a decent set of wing paddles, a set of tide tables and a Karitek Roofrack- and then I’m sorted for anything!”
So if you feel like being inspired or looking to set yourself a post lockdown challenge, check out PSK website and remember to just do it!