Aleia WylieBritish Columbia Guide
Guide since 2016. Aleia grew up in Coquitlam, BC and has always lived on the west coast. She took an Adventure Studies program in 2015, where her love for kayaking and guiding began. Aleia’s favorite experiences have been a 16-day kayaking expedition in the Great Bear Rainforest and paddling in the Broughton Archipelago. Given the opportunity, she can be found sitting by tide pools for hours at a time, watching the lives of the many tiny creatures unfolding slowly in the still water. When not guiding, Aleia can still usually be found kayaking somewhere else, sometimes in the ice! This winter, she learned to check the thickness of the ice before paddling onto it. When not paddling, Aleia enjoys climbing and backpacking trips on the amazing coastal trails in BC and in the backcountry.
Colin CoonBritish Columbia Guide
Colin's love for the outdoors started as a boy. While growing up in Montreal, Quebec, Colin and his three brothers were always outside finding something to keep them busy. In 2011, Colin started guiding raft trips in Ontario and British Columbia. Over the last three years, while working on his B.S. in Physics from McMaster Univeristy in Ontario, Colin made a number of trips through Canada, the US, and Costa Rica. His love of the water, travel, and guiding landed him at ROW Sea Kayak Adventures in 2015. When this expert stone-skipper's not kayaking, you'll find him hiking, playing sports, and longboarding; oh, and possibly juggling! Maybe you'll get lucky on your next BC kayaking tour with us, and he'll put on a show!
Jon BowenBritish Columbia Guide
Originally from Worcestershire in the UK, Jon has lived in BC for three years. After graduating with a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership & Management, he moved to the Welsh coast, where he took a keen interest in paddling before traveling through Asia and working as a guide and instructor. Jon moved to BC in 2015 and began his first summer on the Johnstone Strait before joining the Sea Kayak Adventures team in 2016. When not working, Jon can be found (not-so-gracefully) mountain biking, chaotically skiing down a mountain, paddling on personal adventures, or checking out the beauty of Northern Vancouver Island.
Julia LeiboldBritish Columbia Guide
Julia has been a guide since 2010 in BC, Canada. She joined ROW Sea Kayak Adventures in 2014. Julia was born and raised in Germany and first came to Canada in 2010. She quickly fell in love with British Columbia and has been there ever since. Some of her favorite memories in BC include witnessing a pack of wolves take down a deer right in front of her eyes while on a trip in the Nootka Sound, and spending time with friends on Burwood Beach sitting around the campfire, watching for humpbacks, and listening to the wolves howling.
Julia has a Bachelor's Degree in Educational Science and Social Psychology, along with a Master's Degree in Adventure and Experiential Education. When she's not guiding for ROW Sea Kayak Adventures, she works as an outdoor educator at Strathcona Park Lodge in BC. She also loves climbing, mountaineering, and gardening.
Leah BlokBritish Columbia Guide
Leah Blok has been guiding for ROW Sea Kayak Adventures in BC and in Baja for years. She has more energy and passion for people, wildlife and life than anyone we have ever had the good fortune of knowing! She has paddled solo from Alaska to British Columbia and all over Europe. She adores sharing her passion for paddling and whales with paddlers of all skill levels. Paddlers of all ages enjoy her boundless energy and knowledge and are inspired by Leah.
Mel LawlessBritish Columbia Guide
Mel has been a guide since 2012. NZ, HK. She was born and raised in New Zealand. One of Mel’s favorite childhood memories is going out to explore on an island near her home town. One can only get to this island via the sand bar at low tide. Mel misinterpreted the tides, which forced her to walk back home in waist-deep water for about 2km across the ocean!
“I love the water, whether it’s on the sea, on the rivers, or under the surface diving,” Mel said. “It’s where I feel most at-home.” Mel obtained a diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management from Otago Polytechnic NZ, and has studied Geography and Geology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. One of her favorite experiences so far is when she volunteered in Nepal, teaching women to kayak and rock climb (“We even saw a wild leopard hiking!” she said). She has also taken people with special needs diving in the Philippines, and has explored some of the most remote places in New Zealand via sea kayaking and mountaineering.
When not on the water, you can find Mel on her mountain bike or out exploring somewhere new!
Nick GallantSea Kayaking Guide
Guide since 2012.
Born and raised in Ontario, Nick found his love for water canoeing the area lakes and rivers. After starting out as a camp counselor in Ontario, Nick decided to move to the west coast to surf and camp. After washing dishes for a couple of years a good friend helped Nick land a day guiding job. He discovered his passion for guiding and adventure tourism, and applied to the Coastal Adventure Tourism program at North Island College. In 2012, Nick joined Sea Kayak Adventures. He enjoys sharing the magic of beautiful British Columbia and the great outdoors with other people. As he says, the magic is "hard to pass on in just a photo or a story. Being there is the only way to really understand it!" Nick also enjoys helping educate people about the great "web of life" that we all belong to. Favorite place? He enjoys anywhere green and wet, so the British Columbia coast does a stand up job! Favorite wildlife experience? Sea kayaking at high tide on the night of a full moon, and a humpback whale popped up 25 feet away! Favorite SKA trip meal? Tortilla soup. It's the simple things in life, after all! When Nick isn't guiding, he enjoys rambling around in the mountains, surfing, sailing, mountain biking, paddling, and playing his guitar. Nick is a stand-up guide and employee, and we are thankful to have him on our team!
Quy LeBritish Columbia Guide
Quy grew up in a vibrant neighborhood near Vancouver’s Chinatown. He is an online marketing specialist in BC, with more than 7 years of experience! “I am choosing to be a guide to create a positive impact on the natural world through my work,” Quy said. “I also wish to see more of the world, and hope to do so in a kayak.”
One of Quy’s favorite memories is backpacking solo through Europe, with a special emphasis on Iceland. “Iceland contains some of the most magical landscapes I’ve ever seen, especially in the West Fjord,” he said. “Can’t wait to go back one day!” He also notes kayaking through the Johnstone Strait in 2010 and witnessing a super pod of dolphins spanning the horizon. Quy is a Certified Interpretive Guide and holds certificates in Wilderness Leadership from Capilano University and Marketing Management from Douglas College. When he’s not on the water, you can find him volunteering with conservation organizations.
Simon-Olivier CôtéQuebec Guide
While Simon-Olivier Côté was born in northern Québec’s city of Saint-Félicien, his work and passion for adventure has lead him all over the world. Before continuing with his studies in geography, Simon-Olivier took the opportunity to travel the world—backpacking through 25 countries on his own. Even when he wasn’t living the life of the nomadic adventurer, he immersed himself in new cultures. He lived abroad for four years while he continued his studies in Brazil and traveled throughout the U.S. and Asia as a French instructor. After Simon-Olivier completed his Master’s degree in Sustainable Development and Dynamics of Territories and Societies, he made his way back to Québec. There, he founded a tourism cooperative that took off in 2006 centered around travel within the northern Québec region. As the cooperative continued to grow, Simon-Olivier worked with one of his co-op partners to develop an adventure tourism branch with the objective to elevate the quality standards for adventure travel throughout the Saguenay region. He and his partner ultimately consolidated their services and formed a company specializing in kayak and canoe expeditions trips . Simon-Olivier currently works as the international marketing manager for his company as well as serving as a city counselor for Saguenay. He is passionate about geomorphology, history, and people. He hopes to provide you with the best possible experience exploring northern Québec and the wild beauty of the Saguenay Fjord.
Spencer ShieldsBritish Columbia Guide
Spencer is a proud native of Vancouver, British Columbia. Growing up on the coast, he was introduced to kayaking and the water at a young age; at 11, he did his first overnight trip, at 16, he did his first multi-nighter, and at 18, he bought his own kayak. In 2014, he led his first commercial kayak trip in Bocas del Toro, Panama, which led him to joining the Sea Kayak Adventures team in 2016. Other than Panama and BC, Spencer has guided in Belize, Costa Rica, and New Zealand - but he still says that the Johnstone Strait and the Broughtons are his favorite places to paddle! When not on the water, Spencer is an avid rock climber, and can frequently be found scaring himself in some high place. He also enjoys yoga, reading, or strumming his guitar (named Jessica) that he carries on the back of his kayak.