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Freedom Outdoors Kayak Tours

Meet The Team

Tony Carr - Chief Paddler

The weekend Tony arrived in Sydney from his native New Zealand, a friend took him kayaking on Middle Harbour. That was it - sold!


Sydney’s enchanting waterways have been an important part of his life ever since. In 2007, Tony founded Freedom Outdoors. Originally conceived as a modest operation with a bunch of boats and a Maritime NSW license to operate at half a dozen locations in Sydney, the company has grown to become the largest kayak tour operator in Australia, with close to 100 tours every year and catering for over 2,500 paddlers.


In addition to day tours to over 30 locations locally, the company organises weekends away up and down the NSW coast and longer trips to Ningaloo Reef in WA and Far North Queensland. It offers training workshops for new paddlers. In 2012, Freedom Outdoors undertook its first overseas trip – to Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand.


Now the company’s focus is very much on providing opportunities for paddlers to enjoy the world’s best kayaking locations, including those in Italy, three locations in New Zealand, Fiji, Antarctica and Croatia, with more to follow.

Tony’s other great passion is kayak racing. He has completed five 111km Hawkesbury Classics with times around 11 hours 30 mins, won a Landrover Discovery in the last Men’s Health Ocean Racing Series, a silver medal in the 2009 World Masters Games Marathon and gold in the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland. He has just received a Milestone Award from Lane Cove River Kayakers for completing 300 12km time trials in the last decade and won the club’s 9km championship in 2017.  In 2018, Tony received a Milestone Award for completing fifty 9km Time Trials.

Tony received a Prudence Tucker Award for his work in the environment from the NSW National Parks Association and is committed to introducing as many people as possible to the joys of kayaking.

His favourite moment is when he’s on the water and a paddler says, “I had no idea this beautiful place existed!”

Bryon Merzeo

Bryon plays a major managerial role at Freedom Outdoors, focusing on strategic planning, market development and client communications. He has been involved with Freedom Outdoors since our start in 2007. He runs many of the company’s tours, both in Australia and overseas.


Bryon’s day job is a Tourism Consultant at Deloitte. Having studied at University level in five countries, including a Masters in International Tourism Strategy, Bryon has a strong understanding of the global tourism marketplace. 


As part of the Deloitte Tourism Team, he analyses and forecasts tourism performance across Australia. Bryon is also Sydney manager of Travel Massive and runs a not-for- profit social travel company called Australia Travel Foundation. 


He started guiding trips at the age of 18 in his native America and as president of his school’s outdoor club organised and guided about 25 trips a year in Florida and Wisconsin. He is an avid sportsman and takes part in trail running, mountain biking, SUP, ocean swimming, camping and multi day backpacking.

Cathy Miller

Cathy Miller is a self-confessed kayak tragic. She started kayaking at 21 and became hooked. After a rafting trip in Nepal, she and her best friend decided to try kayaking. They joined the White Water Kayak Club, and members helped them each build a fibreglass kayak by hand from a mould.


Cathy proudly named her first boat 'Karma'. Cathy has done white water paddling, represented Australia in canoe polo and paddled the length of the Murray River. At last count, she had 7 kayaks for her own personal use, but as she only has one bottom, can only use one at a time.


Cathy loves taking people out on kayak tours and showing them the joys of paddling. For Cathy, paddling means fun, fitness, challenge, meditation and sanity. Cathy is committed to sharing the joys of paddling with her Women on Water and other Freedom Outdoors groups.

Christine Heywood

A resident of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Christine has been a kayaker for over 30 years. She established and ran for ten years, the highly successful Pro Kayaks retail operation on Narrabeen Lagoon. No slouch on the water, Christine established with a friend, a record for the fastest female doubles paddler in the weekly Lane Cove River Kayaking Club race and was an active member of the Manly Warringah Club for many years.


A mother of four, she established and managed Freedom Outdoors training programme for four years. Christine now hosts international trips for Freedom Outdoors. In her spare time, she focuses on growing her Northern Beaches residential real estate business, established early in 2017.

Chris Deng

China is now Australia’s major source of tourists. Chris is the newest member of our support team and is responsible for our Chinese and Asian program and also helps out with other paddles. An Australian citizen, Chris was born in China and is fluent in Mandarin and English. He is a keen gym-goer and on Wednesday nights can be seen dashing up and down Lane Cove River in the local club’s time trial. His objective is to encourage Asians – both local and visiting – to explore Australia by water.

Would you like to join our guiding team?

We’re expanding fast and want to add more destinations. If you are an experienced kayaker with at least three years on-water experience and have worked with groups, we’d like to talk to you. Australian Canoeing Flat Water Guide qualification a minimum – hopefully you will also be a qualified instructor. And you will need first aid certification. At Freedom Outdoors, paddler safety is always our number one priority, so we would want to see your commitment to that. We demand high standards of our guides, but the rewards are great. You experience our wonderful locations, benefit from our many years of experience – and share time with the lovely clients we are privileged to care for on the water.

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