Victor is our host and the co-organizer of the Baja Kayak Festival. Much of the land that you will see while paddling has been in his family for over 70 years. Having grown up here, Victor loves this stunning sea and landscape and started a kayaking business in 2003 to make kayaking accessible for the many adventure seekers that come to explore Baja. He loves sharing the beauty of the landscapes and seascapes that he is very proud to call home.
Victor is a British Canoeing Sea Kayak Coach, American Canoe Association Level 4 Sea Kayak Instructor, British Canoeing Advanced Sea Kayak Leader, and NOLS Sea Kayak Educator.
Jen is co-organizer with Victor Leon of the Baja Kayak Festival. She lives north of the border in San Diego where she has owned and operated sea paddlesports companies for almost 30 years. Jen achieved the highest coach ranking within the British Canoe Union in Nov. 2007 when she became the first American Level 5 Sea Kayak Coach. She also holds BCU 5 Star sea, 4 Star surf, and 3 Star open canoe awards. She appears in Cackle TV Productions "This Is The Sea 4" at our festival site.
Jen loves to challenge herself with all types of kayaking: she has raced, competed in kayak surfing, run the Grand Canyon, and was a member of the 1999, 2000, and 2003 National Champion women’s kayak polo teams. Jen has enjoyed messing about in small boats since childhood in New Hampshire. She has a BA in geology from Colorado College and enjoys natural history of all sorts.
Be it coastal touring, kayak-camping, rock gardening, or surfing a wave or three – Gennifer Gatan sees sea kayaking as a never-ending opportunity for learning. The better part, however, has been sharing the passion and process with fellow enthusiasts through instruction, coaching, and leadership. “Meeting them where they are,” guides the heart and hustle of Gennifer’s philosophy, as well as working together to craft an optimal learner-driven experience.
Gennifer has earned the British Canoeing MW Sea Kayak Level 3 Coach and 5* Advanced Sea Kayak Leader awards. For American Canoe, she’s an L4 Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor. While Gennifer honed her sea legs on the balmy sub-tropical island of Cebu, Philippines, she now calls Southern California home. Freelance and self-employed, she enjoys collaborating with other coaches locally and abroad, and instructs for the California Watersports Collective’s saltwater program in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gennifer also paddles for the Sea Kayaking UK/Nigel Dennis Kayaks pro team.
With the exception of a few misguided years a while ago, John has lived on the ocean his entire life. He has been in and around most every type of boat, tending towards the wind and human powered types. Almost 20 years ago, the sea kayak became his vessel of choice, and he has enjoyed adapting his “Big Boat” skills to kayaks. John’s love of the traditions of the sea is infectious as he passes his seamanship and navigation skills on to his students.
As a Coach, his understanding of the human body and biomechanics, gives him unique insights into what will make his students more efficient, safer from injuries and better able to enjoy these centuries old craft in more exposed environments. John has led trips throughout Maine, the Canadian Maritimes, and the British Isles. John is a BCU Level 5 sea kayak coach and he regularly instructs at Kayak Symposiums throughout the US and international destinations. John is a Team paddler for both P&H Kayaks and Werner Paddle. He owns Sea Cliff Kayakers, a kayak school in Maine.
Sylvain has been an avid paddler for over 25 years. It is his dedication and passion for the sport which led him to the UK in 2012 where he was awarded the highest recognition in sea kayaking: the BCU 5 Star Leader Sea Kayak. Being the first Quebecer (and among a handful of Canadians) to receive this distinction has not shaken his conviction that there is always more to learn … from others, from the sea, and from oneself.
In addition to frequently paddling abroad, Sylvain remains an active member in the Quebec sea kayaking community. He has been on the FQCK program development committee since 2007, and was called in 2011 to participate in the development of the Route Bleue du Grand Montreal (one of the last sections added to the St.Lawrence Seaway). Sylvain has been a P&H Team Paddler since 2011 and can frequently be found playing in the tumultuous waters of Maine and the UK.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Bill has a passion for paddling the dynamic waters of the Pacific coast. He is an ACA Level 5 Sea Kayak & Level 3 Surf Kayak instructor with many years of practical experience. Bill teaches from experiences gained (good and bad!) while paddling where the energetic Pacific Ocean meets its rocky shores. Years of experience developing his own roll in these waters combined with teaching well over a hundred roll classes makes him an excellent resource if you are looking to improve your roll.
Bill especially loves sharing his enthusiasm with new paddlers and the excitement this generates in them toward learning new skills and techniques. He approaches coaching by giving students information relevant to the course at hand and how it relates to real life paddling situations. You can find his postings on kayak related topics on several websites including Canoe & Kayak Magazine, The Paddler Magazine and Neptune’s Rangers, of which he is a principal founding member.