Paddler Profile – John Willacy
John started out on his paddling career in the early 1980’s. Along the way he has paddled whitewater in Norway, sea kayaks in the Falkland Islands and represented Great Britain in Wild Water Racing and Canoe Slalom. John has paddled across most of the canoesport disciplines and classes, and in many locations: France, Norway, Corsica, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Malta, Tasmania and the Falkland Islands. He is currently based on Anglesey in North Wales, from where he runs the PSK website when he isn't paddling.
John has extensive experience as a sea kayaker. He holds a number of solo sea kayak records and has completed two solo circumnavigations of the UK, the only person to have done so.
In 2012 he was awarded the Chris Wheeler Adventure Paddler of the Year award by Canoe & Kayak UK magazine.
Sea Paddling Achievements:Click on heading
|2003||Multi-Day:||Wales Circumnav||(CW)||29 days|
|2010||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(Wales)||08:21||Current Record|
|2010||Circumnav:||Isle of Man||12:38||Record|
|2010||Crossing:||Irish Sea||(St.George's Channel)||09:58||Current Record|
|2011||Crossing:||Irish Sea||(North Channel)||03:25||Current Record|
|2011||Crossing:||Irish Sea||(North Channel)||04:30|
|2011||Circumnav:||Isle of Mull||19:34||Current Record|
|2011||Crossing:||Irish Sea||(Dublin)||11:20||Current Record|
|2012||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(Wales)||10:48|
|2012||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(Northern Ireland)||07:26||Record|
|2012||Multi-Day:||UK Circumnav||(CW)||72 days||Record|
|2012||Circumnav:||Walney Island||03:10||Current Record|
|2014||Circumnav:||Isle of Bute||05:34||Current Record|
|2014||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(Scotland)||03:40||Record|
|2014||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(Scotland)||03:34||Current Record|
|2014||Circumnav:||Holy Island||02:56||Current Record|
|2014||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(England)||05:46||Record|
|2014||Crossing:||Isle of Man||(England)||04:41||Current Record|
|2015||Circumnav:||Isle of Wight||07:20||Current Record|
|2015||Multi-Day:||UK Circumnav||(CCW)||83 days|
|2015||Circumnav:||Isle of Arran||09:15||Current Record|
|2016||Circumnav:||Isle of Man||10:33||Current Record|
|2016||Circumnav:||Isle of Scarba||01:32||Current Record|
Since he began competing in 1984 John has raced in various disciplines, including: Slalom, Wild Water Racing and Long Distance/Sprint Racing. He has experience across the board: C1, C2, K1, K2 and K4 classes.
- British Open C1 Champion: 1989(B), 1990(Slalom Sprint)
- English C1 Champion: 1990, 1994
- Welsh C2 Champion (with Geoff Forster)
- GB Intermediate Squad paddler: 1988-1990
- BCU Premier Division C1 Slalom: 1989 - 1997
Wild Water Racing
- Great Britain C1 Champion: 1992, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008
- British Open C1 Champion: 1992, 1999
- Welsh Open C1 Champion: 2005
- BCU Division A paddler 1991 - 2008
Great Britain Team:
- Bronze Medallist: Masters World Championships, 2006
- World Championships Team: 1993, 1995, 1996, 2006
- World Cup Team: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997
John won his first Interservice Championship in 1987 and his last in 2008, taking 103 gold medals along the way. He also won over 70 Royal Air Force Championship titles, across various canoesport disciplines.
In 2007 he was awarded the British Forces Sportsman of the Year award.
John has been involved with coaching for more than 30 years, with coaching experience ranging from novice through to National Team paddlers. John holds his BCU Level 4 Inland Kayak and Level 4 Sea kayak qualifications, along with BCU competition coaching qualifications for Slalom, Wild Water Racing and Long Distance Racing.
He currently works as a freelance performance sea kayak coach and as a competition coach for the Wales Canoe Slalom Team.
John designed, tested and developed a number of sea kayaks whilst working for Rockpool Kayaks:
- Taran 18
- Taran 16
- Isel (part design)