One of the main aims of this festival is to have women coaches only. The team at the Festival is pleased to welcome back some coaches as well as introduce some new faces. This year we aimed at diversity and invited some of the best sea kayak coaches in the UK and beyond.

AGNES PENISSON  Irresistibly attracted by the marine world,  I set up my little sea kayak coaching and guiding project in Brittany. Bilingual, and both BCU and French Federation qualified (Sea Coach 3 and BEES1), I share my knowledge and my dreams with passion and patience . In my personal paddling style is very playful : I love playing with waves and currents, whether on sea kayak or surf kayak. My third favourite activity is the marvellous discovery and reflexion shared with friends during long sea kayak trips. They can take me to the lights of the north coast (Brittany, Channel Islands, Scotland, Greenland …) or to the colours of the south (Corsica, Sardinia, Elba, Aeolian Islands, Ionian, Cyclades, Croatia …). My motto says “happiness is on the water” Hope to meet you soon !


ALISON FRENCH Alison is a qualified BCU level 3 Sea Kayak instructor and UKCC Five Star Sea Kayak Leader with over fifteen years of paddling experience under her belt. This, combined with her Summer Mountain Leader award, has enabled her to enjoy leading groups in the outdoors for many years, sharing her passion for the Highlands of Scotland and teaching skills that ensure her clients have an exceptional experience. Alison previously worked as a countryside ranger and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, so she has a wealth of knowledge about landscape and wildlife. In her spare time she loves to sail, cycle, ski, and have kayaking adventures with friends – the latter preferably involving a driftwood fire and a dram on a remote Scottish beach.  She is the founder of Sea Kayak Plockton and launched her venture because she believes that Plockton is one of the best places in Scotland to sea kayak. She’s passionate that her business gives people the skills and the all-important confidence they need in order to experience the breath taking beauty of the Highlands from a totally different perspective.


ANNA MORENO Anna started kayaking in 2003 and soon became hooked by in and by the contact with nature. She loves paddling close to home, in the Costa Brava, Spain, as well as finding the excuse to travel and discover new coastlines and meet kayakers from all around the world. Anna has paddled in many different places in Spain, Wales, England, Germany, France, Italy, Estonia, Mexico, Greenland and Sweden. Anna enjoys coaching and giving classes, spreading her enthusiasm for sea kayaking. She is an UKCC Level 2 Coach and BCU 4* Sea kayak leader as well as Spanish Federation Instructor.


EILA WILKINSON Eila is a full time sea kayak coach based in Holyhead, Anglesey. Together with Nigel Dennis she runs the courses element of Sea Kayaking UK and Celtic Paddles.
Eila is a UKCC coach 3, AWE and an aspirant 5 star provider as well as an experienced expedition paddler. She spends summer coaching in the tidal waters of Anglesey and running expeditions to the Outer Hebrides and St Kilda as well as Ireland. Outside of the summer season she travels extensively around Europe and USA coaching and giving talks.  Eila has completed various expeditions including Ireland and many first circumnavigations and crossings in the Bahamas with Nigel. She’s completed Anglesey and the Isle of Man non stop circumnavs, her most recent Anglesey in 2016 was in 12 hours 20. 


ERIN BASTIAN Erin is a Cornish Girl, at home on the sea. Her passion is expedition kayaking, and her dreams have taken her, and her kayak all over the world, to amazing locations such as, the Lofotens, Patagonia, Sardinia, Corsica and Mexico. Having spent the last five years coaching and guiding in Scotland, Erin is now heading back to her roots to set up her own sea kayaking company in Cornwall. She holds her UKCC Level 3 Coach, Moderate Water Endorsement and 5* Sea. If you’d like to find out more about her previous adventures you can take a wee peak at her website:


SARAH McILROY I am a chocolate loving L2 coach with a very old 4* WW, 4* OC trainee and 4* sea leader. As I’m from the East coast most of my coaching is done on Lochore or out on the Forth, which is also my local paddling haunt, however I love getting further afield up the West coast and out to the islands. I’ve also had some lovely trips out to Kefalonia, California, the Everglades and round the Florida Keys. When I’m not out paddling, then there is every chance I’m either checking out my next trip or in an icecream shop!


SUE COULING I fell in love with paddling for over 35 years ago. Over that time I have competed at a high level and had adventures all over the world in white water, slalom, polo, open boating and sea kayaking. For the last ten years my passion has been sea kayaking and I am now a UKCC Level 3 coach and five star sea leader.  I mainly coach in the voluntary sector but in the last two years I have retired from the real job to spend more time on the water working as a sea kayak guide and coach.


ZOE NEWSAM Zoe grew up in the North East of England, but a varied career and time spent travelling around the UK eventually helped her realise that ‘home’ was where her heart lay: 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 park and play day in the surf or on a tide race. Zoe paddled on the sea and walked in the mountains 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. In 2015 she kayaked, walked and cycled ‘Right Round Scotland’, raising £2000 for Scottish Mountain Rescue in the process. She has a particular passion for inspiring confidence in a paddlers’ own ability to achieve their dreams. Zoe holds the BCU 5 star sea kayak leader award, and is a UKCC Level 3 sea kayak coach with Advanced Water Endorsement


ZOE ROBINSON Zoe has migrated into the world of sea kayaking from a love of the outdoors and backpacking, realising that sea kayaking allows longer expeditions and more wine to be carried.  She has paddled and expedition-ed extensively throughout the UK including a month around the ‘Roof of Britain’, with many more expedition dreams waiting to be fulfilled.  Zoe has a day job as a University lecturer in Geography and Sustainability, with a particular interest in sustainability education.  Zoe’s passion for education extends into sea kayaking and introducing paddlers to the wonders of the salty world.  She’s a 5* and MWE Sea Leader.


NATALIE MADEROVA Natalie works as a teacher and has kayaking as one of her hobbies, although she spends more time in the boat than doing anything else. Natalie lives in London and considers The Tideway to be one of the most exciting paddling environments in Britain, she would know as she circumnavigated Britain in 2012. Apart from journeys and long crossings Natalie enjoys most coaching others. She is a UKCC L3 coach with Moderate Water Endorsement. Together with her husband they set up Mad Coaching Project (Make a Difference), through which they raised £6000  for different charities.