About us

Our ethos

We place our clients at the centre of everything we do. Our advice, whether in the shop or on the water, will always be tailored to you and your needs. This includes being honest if we think someone else’s product will suit you better. On the water we work hard to give you the best possible experience. For short, one-off trips that means ensuring you have the right equipment, and that the level of challenge is right for you. On courses we do that as well, but we also focus on your long-term goals, thinking not just about what you’ll learn with us, but how you can take that away and keep learning, developing and enjoying your paddling wherever it takes you. On expeditions we want you to feel part of a team, and will involve you in the decisions on where we go, how far we paddle, and how we pace ourselves.
Sea kayaking immerses you in the outdoors, and we are passionate about caring for that environment. We are constantly reviewing and adapting our methods to try and reduce waste, including moving to recycled packaging for our online shop. We work with our suppliers to reuse as much as possible, such as sending back kayak packaging to the manufacturers for re-use. When paddling, we take care not to disturb wildlife. Group sizes are kept small not only for a better experience but also to minimise our impact, particularly when camping. We aim not just to leave no trace of our own passage, we actively try and leave places in better condition than we found them, and small-scale litter picks are an integral part of lunch stops and camping pack-ups.

Who we are

Sea Kayak Oban has been running for over a decade. In 2019, when the previous owners retired, Mark and Laura took over the reins. As well as the team featured here, we use various freelance instructors and guides, all chosen for their experience, abilities, and sunny dispositions.

Laura on the sea

Laura Bennitt

Owner, guide and instructor

Since moving to Scotland in 2005, I’ve spent as much time as possible outdoors. Up mountains, over waves and down rivers, across moorlands and scree slopes, camping on deserted islands and hoping to catch glimpses of astounding wildlife.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing my love for the world around us; I moved to Scotland to take up a job as a riding trek guide near Edinburgh, and I used to work for Rough Guides, tracking down the best hard-to-find places and most interesting snippets of information to pass on.

Now as a qualified BC Sea Kayak Leader (Advanced Water), Sea Kayak Coach (Advanced Water) and Performance Coach, I can guide you to Scotland’s most spectacular locations, take you off the beaten track, and help you gain the skills to confidently enjoy the outdoors long after you leave.

Mark Mitchell

Owner, guide and instructor

After ten years living life on the road, touring worldwide with music artists and working in TV and event production, I chose to anchor my life in Scotland. This complete change to my work life balance allowed me to discover the world of paddlesports. We now run Sea Kayak Oban, offering coaching and guiding services to anyone willing to come exploring with a smile.

My heart is on the sea and that is where I'd like to  spend most of my time. I love teaching and particularly specialise in melding different rolling techniques from various parts of the world to offer a low impact targeted method to achieving your first roll. For the last few years I have been coaching the use of the Greenland Stick and paddle almost exclusively with this versatile tool. I hold the BC Sea Kayak Coach (Moderate Water) and Sea Kayak Leader (Advanced Water) awards.

Team member Phil

Philip de Iongh

Guide and Instructor

Philip is a keen sea kayaker and brings his experience of outdoor education and youth work into his guiding and coaching. He enjoys the variety that sea kayaking offers, and loves to share this unique way of experiencing the seascape and coastline with others.

He holds the BC Advanced Sea Kayak Leader and Advanced Sea Kayak Coach awards. When he is not out on the water, he likes to be outdoors, walking, running, climbing and cycling. Very occasionally, he has a rest day and will read a book.

Portrait of Fraser

Fraser McKellar

Retail assistant

Fraser is a keen paddler and climber. His background is in whitewater and open canoe, and he is now focusing on his skills in long pointy boats.

He is working towards his BC Sea Kayak Leader award.