Hometown: Orcas Island, WA
Leon is co-creator, co-owner, and coach educator at Body Boat Blade International – a highly successful two time award winning paddle sports school based on Orcas Island, WA. He has been paddling and teaching kayaking for over 20 years, and has logged thousands of miles on Lakes, rivers and the sea. Although he is most recognized as a sea kayaker, he also has a passion for paddling canoes, surf kayaks, white water boats, stand up boards, and race boats, essentially he likes any thing human powered that requires a paddle and is done outdoors.
Currently Leon holds BCU Coach Level 4 (Level 5 Aspirant), BCU Assessor Level 4, BCU 5 Star Sea, BCU 4 Star River, BCU 4 Star Surf, BCU 2 Star Canoe, UKCC Coach Level 1 and 2 Course Provider, Foundation Safety & Rescue Provider.
Among Leon’s accomplishments are: the successful circumnavigation of Iceland in 2003, with Chris Duff and Shawna Franklin, a trip of over 1600 nautical miles in 81 days. In 2007, Leon circumnavigated Haida Gwaii, a 500 nautical mile, six week trip with his partner, Shawna Franklin and adventure filmmaker, Justine Curgenven. Leon has paddled around Vancouver Island two times to date, a trip of over 700 nautical miles. In 1998, he completed a solo journey in 28 days, and most recently in 2012 with his partner Shawna Franklin in 44 days.
Life These Days:
Leon has always been drawn to the sea. Leon left home and school early becoming a runaway and drop-out. After a few lost years he became a ship's diver on a fast attack submarine at the age of 20. Four years of being confined to the interior of a submarine he vowed "to never work indoors again." He went from the navy to university, to study biology. During his time as a wildlife biologist he discovered sea kayaks and river boats and now spends more time on the sea in the cockpit of a kayak than doing anything else. “The most significant and memorable days of my life have been spent with a paddle in the water.”