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!”