Meet Daniela and Arthur, who recently became Sea Kayak Leaders (non-tidal) in Malta.
Daniela (Lella) grew up in a small urban village on a tiny Mediterranean island, called Malta, where she was born and raised. She is also the only Maltese woman holding a Sea Kayak Leader in the entire country! Arthur (Turu) is an American-born Maltese, from Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Together, we formed a community of kayakers called, Get Out and Kayak Malta, on our archipelago in 2020, when the world seemed to be going crazy, pre-pandemic.
Our journey began due to COVID restrictions of all things. In our country, facemasks were becoming mandatory, even for taking walks in the countryside, alone. It gets very hot here, often near 40C with extreme humidity, so, wearing a mask while exercising simply was not in our plan. We kept seeing kayaks all over the place, and they were excluded from mask-wearing, so, of all thing, we bought an inflatable tandem and gave it a go.
The peace and quiet are priceless when living in the 5th most densely populated country in the world. Not to mention, being able to access otherwise inaccessible beaches, coves, caves, and lagoons. Normally, the beaches of Malta are packed with Maltese and tourists alike. Kayaking gives you wings and freedom, without disturbing sea life, the environment, or other people.
One fine day, we decided to invite the public to paddle with us for free events. Being that COVID was in full swing, kayaking offered a great way to converse and meet like-minded people and get the exercise we so craved, while feeding all our other senses at the same time, all for free (for kayak owners, SUPs, or canoes)
That one public event led us to make another event, then another, and another.
We quickly found out that many people on the island owned kayaks, but did not go out, for several reasons. Members mainly cited: a) fear of the unknown b) help getting kayaks on and off the cars c) what if my kayak tips over? d) how to plan and execute a trip e) who to kayak with?
Before we knew it, we started breaking Maltese kayak gathering records!
We quickly realized that we have a duty of care on the water, to care for our new friends, their families, and guests. We started learning more about kayaking and took a kayak course.
We knew by then, that kayaking was taking over our lives, and made a decision to make the water part of our daily life. We upgraded the kayaks again, but this time, we didn’t get two, we bought 12. Two personal sea kayaks and a fleet of ten rentals.
Our certification journey began here, at this point.
We knew that if we wanted to offer commercial trips to beginners, we needed to get certified. Our mission was, and is, to get every single person on or in a kayak at least once.
We found our coach online, through Facebook. We saw Paul Hurrel training prospective sea kayak guides in Mauritius, a small island country off the coast of Africa. We investigated him and his work, saw the smiles on his students’ faces, and were sold. We contacted him and got to work.
Soon after, Paul came from the UK for our Sea Kayak Leader assessment and we had a blast learning tons of new skills and showing him our gorgeous coastline. The information we gained from Paul is priceless, and we did not just gain a coach, he is now a friend and paddle buddy! We fully intend to visit him in the U.K. very soon so he can show us the Jurassic Coast!
Our intentions with our Sea Kayak Leader certificates are to bring the world of paddlesports to anyone and everyone on our archipelago. Nothing warms our hearts more than seeing kayaks on roof racks or trailers.
That goal may sound outlandish, but over the years, we have already accomplished so much. Paddlesports, especially for an island nation, should go hand in hand. We will continue to ensure safe kayaking by holding our training sessions, and continue to offer sunrises, sunsets, ½ day and full day experiences, meanwhile, focusing on our personal skills and continuing our kayak education to coaching and beyond.
Become a Sea Kayak Leader (tidal or non-tidal)
Becoming a Sea Kayak Leader will support you to lead safe and enjoyable short, single or multi-day journeys. You will lead sea kayakers with a range of experience on trips based on their needs and aspirations in a moderate tidal or non–tidal water environment with winds not exceeding Beaufort force 4.
Training is optional so you can personalise your learning journey, in the best way to suit your own development. Find out more: