Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Profile: Tom Parrick

I first started messing about in small boats when I was 11 years old, with friends on the river Thames at Benson in Oxfordshire. Our local (1st Benson) scout group fostered the activity and from then on I knew that all I wanted to do was paddle.

I studied Adventure Tourism Management at Birmingham College of Food, Tourism & Creative Studies where residential courses to Anglesey Sea & Surf Centre introduced me to sea kayaking and I developed a more serious interest; playing in the tidal races, rock hopping around the coast and surfing on the beaches and Stanley Embankment.

Paddling with Inspirational People/Coaches

First expedition (with University team) undertook paddling and white water rafting in Nepal. A self funded four-week trip, on the Trisuli, Seti and Kali Gandaki rivers, making improvised camps on the riverbank.
Four vacation summers were spent working with Maine Island Kayak Company. Coaching and Guiding parties of all ages on trips up to one week around the islands and spectacular coastline in Casco Bay. Surfing was good, fresh off the boat lobster even better!

Second expedition; On leave from MIKCo with two colleagues. A four-day sea kayaking trip from Petite Manan, Maine northward across the Canadian border to Lubec. Seals played along with us. We watched ‘The Old Sow’ – a famous large whirlpool (but didn’t go in).

Based in Aberdovey, Wales, I now work for The Outward Bound Trust and am reacquainted with white water paddling although a mini expedition to circumnavigate the Isle of Anglesey was impossible to resist! OB has also allowed a three-month secondment kayak coaching to OB Hong Kong.

Third expedition: Joined Fiona Whitehead’s circumnavigation of the UK and Ireland from Baltimore in SW Ireland to Tarbetness on the East coast of Scotland. A two-month trip and a very steep learning curve! Then paddled solo from Tartbetness down to Inverness along the Caledonian Canal to Fort William on the west coast.

And now the Falklands…

Expeditioning & Exploring new and different places is a recurring affliction; one great beauty about sea kayaks is the perspective gained from sitting at water level highlighting the massive spectacle of the coastline coupled with the ability to take a much closer look.
The Falkland Islands is geologically wide-ranging with a great diversity of wildlife, flora and fauna. The findings from our expedition will have much value to the local community. The coastline and tidal activity promises to be a truly exciting challenge.
Initially we look forward to the trip but equally we shall be eager to share our experiences with other enthusiasts on our return.