Jeff Allen

Age: 57 years old website
HOMETOWN: Falmouth, Cornwall, GB

“When faced with a thousand spears, your spirit is your only shield.”

Jeff Allen has an affinity for the ocean, and he loves exploring it. “I love sea kayaking because I love the connection to the environment that it gives me, I love searching out new coastlines to explore and I love the independence of paddling my own canoe.”

As a young lad, Jeff Allen had a strong attraction to water. “My mum could not keep me out of the pool, the sea, or anything I could immerse myself in.” His first kayak/canoe was an inflatable red and white monster, similar to Nessie. He paddled ‘Nessie’ as hard as he could into the surf off a North Devon Beach and remembers the first big wave. “It crashed over my head, brought me to life, but at the same time turned out the lights; Nessie folded in half, swallowing me in the process, and shortly afterwards I found myself washed up on the beach. My first shipwreck experience.”

After leaving the army in 1987 Jeff had enormous difficulty settling down into a ‘normal’ style of 9-5 existence. It wasn’t until he listened to Chris Duff talking about his New Zealand circumnavigation that he found real focus on where and what he belonged to, what we all belong to, the environment which surrounds us all. “That’s when I decided to get into Expedition paddling, my feet were on fire and I had to immerse myself into the world of Expeditions to cool them down.”

Although Jeff has many sea kayak expeditions under his belt including circumnavigations of Japan, South Georgia, the Scandinavian Peninsular & Ireland, he is also an accomplished instructor and guide. Just before he set off to Japan in 2003 he decided he wanted to establish a commercial sea kayaking business ‘Sea Kayaking Cornwall’ which in time would become recognized as being one of the best in the world. “I chose Cornwall as being the venue for this business as it has such a rich maritime history and is also exposed, yet sheltered from all four directions, it has strong tidal races, big surf, regular wind patterns and
a variety of landings.”

Jeff’s philosophy of life, “To get the best out of life, you have to put the best into life, understanding that behind every face there is a struggle of some kind going on, so try and find compassion for all people and in all situations.”