Coaches

Leslie Mix

Leslie
Mix grew up on the waters in and around Puget Sound as a competitive
swimmer, swim coach, paddler of canoes and kayaks, and paddlesports coach.
On any given weekend you'll find her surfing the waves of Skookumchuck
Rapids, rock gardening at Hobuck Beach, guiding in the San Juans, canoeing
down the Stillaguamish River, or, coaching with any one of the five
orgainizations in which she's a coach.  Laughter and an infectious smile are
her hallmarks.
Rob Yates

Elite Performance Coach Rob Yates again makes the long journey to Lumpy Waters and BCU Week from his current home of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Originally from the UK, Rob is a high level British Canoe Union Coach and Coach/Leader Educator with 30 years of impressive global paddling experience.  Having circumnavigated the UK in a Sea Kayak, lead multiple extended expeditions within the Arctic Circle in Canoes, White water kayaked in every continent (well not Antarctica) and completed white water first descents in the Himalayas, his paddling resume talks of a perhaps well spent life.

As an Elite Performance Coach, Rob owns an impressive global performance development business called Tetrakey.com.  This see’s him bringing together years of personal high performance, academic learning, studying of the world’s highest achievers and a deep understanding of what can motivate people, to allow those who want to perform at a higher level to truly reach excellence in their performance.  Outside of this mostly global corporate work, he is currently coaching South African International Sprint Kayakers towards Japan 2020 Olympics. 

Rob’s passion for his clients development is contagious, using a fine balance of extensive knowledge, fun and a unique inductive delivery coaching framework all leads to excellence in long term learning retention.

Rob is kindly supported by Kokotat, P&H, Haglofs and Pyranha

Elite Performance Coach Rob Yates is again makes the long journey to Lumpy Waters 2014 and BCU Week, from his current home of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Originally from the UK, Rob is a high level British Canoe Union Coach and Coach/Leader Educator with 30 years of impressive global paddling experience.  Having circumnavigated the UK in a Sea Kayak, lead multiple extended expeditions within the Arctic Circle in Canoes, White water kayaked in every continent (well not Antarctica) and completed white water first descents in the Himalayas, his paddling resume talks of a perhaps well spent life.
As an Elite Performance Coach, Rob owns an impressive global performance development business called Tetrakey.com.  This see’s him bringing together years of personal high performance, academic learning, studying of the world’s highest achievers and a deep understanding of what can motivate people, to allow those who want to perform at a higher level to truly reach excellence in their performance.  Outside of this mostly global corporate work, he is currently coaching South African International Sprint Kayakers towards Brazil 2016 and Japan 2020 Olympics.  
Rob’s passion for his clients development is contagious, using a fine balance of extensive knowledge, fun and a unique inductive delivery coaching framework all leads to excellence in long term learning retention.
Rob is kindly supported by Kokotat, P&H, Haglofs and Pyranha
Elite Performance Coach Rob Yates is again makes the long journey to Lumpy Waters 2014 and BCU Week, from his current home of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Originally from the UK, Rob is a high level British Canoe Union Coach and Coach/Leader Educator with 30 years of impressive global paddling experience.  Having circumnavigated the UK in a Sea Kayak, lead multiple extended expeditions within the Arctic Circle in Canoes, White water kayaked in every continent (well not Antarctica) and completed white water first descents in the Himalayas, his paddling resume talks of a perhaps well spent life.
As an Elite Performance Coach, Rob owns an impressive global performance development business called Tetrakey.com.  This see’s him bringing together years of personal high performance, academic learning, studying of the world’s highest achievers and a deep understanding of what can motivate people, to allow those who want to perform at a higher level to truly reach excellence in their performance.  Outside of this mostly global corporate work, he is currently coaching South African International Sprint Kayakers towards Brazil 2016 and Japan 2020 Olympics.  
Rob’s passion for his clients development is contagious, using a fine balance of extensive knowledge, fun and a unique inductive delivery coaching framework all leads to excellence in long term learning retention.
Rob is kindly supported by Kokotat, P&H, Haglofs and Pyran

Nick Cunliffe


Nick Cunliffe is an active and experienced British sea kayaker based in Anglesey, North Wales. Nickʼs sea kayaking interests are a reflection of his inspiring tidal home waters, with their fantastic white water, surf and tide race potential.

A BCU Level 5 sea kayak Coach and 5 Star Provider, Nick enjoys the challenge of developing his studentsʼ sea kayaking skills and knowledge - and is delighted when coaching sessions allow students to realize their own goals. Itʼs great to meet past clients having their own independent sea kayak adventures!

Kate Hives


When Kate Hives was 12 years old she vividly recalls a strong desire to steer her own craft and navigate unknown waters. “The sense of independence that comes with a paddle in my hands is fed by a deep love of adventure and the outdoors that I can only thank my family for distilling within me.” says Kates. Her passion for kayaking has only grown as her experience has deepened and she finds herself enveloped in a life of adventure, refusing to settle for anything less than the call of the wild. Since those first days on the river she has found love for all kinds of kayaking… From calm days on the sea to big waves and rough water of surf and tide races; from big bouncy rivers to fast moving ocean skis; and from surf kayaking in breaking waves to expeditions in unknown waters – if there is water involved and two blades… Kate is in, and will most likely be smiling and laughing out loud! Kate graduated from Lakehead University’s Outdoor Recreation Program and has turned her passion into a career, working as an outdoor educator, kayak instructor, coach, and expedition guide. She currently works as a Sea Kayak coach with SKILS, working as a Guide Trainer and Examiner through the Sea Kayak Guide’s Alliance of British Columbia. She remains committed to ongoing development of her coaching through the Paddle Canada scheme as a Level 2 coach and a Level 3 coach aspirant. More recently she has worked to achieve her BCU 5 Star Sea Leader qualification in the UK in order to grow her experience and understanding of the sport. She has discovered many more adventures that call to her along the way.

Kate continues to draw her inspiration from the rocky playgrounds and long sandy surf beaches of her home waters of Vancouver Island and has enjoyed time spent pushing her own limits with fellow adventure seekers of The Hurricane Riders. Her nomadic spirit has taken her all around the world in search of adventure and she now enjoys sharing time with the global paddling community at symposium, festivals and competitions.

David Santaniello


David grew up in and around the water on the East Coast, and became an avid sea kayaker after moving out west.  After a brief stint studying the geology of Yosemite, David relocated to Santa Cruz where he fell in love with the California coast.  He bought a kayak, attempted a beach launch during a large winter swell, and was quickly reminded to respect the power of the ocean.  Then he decided to seek professional instruction.  Ever since then, sea kayaking has become his passion and he spends his free time exploring the rock gardens along the coast.  You’ll most likely find him kayaking around Point Lobos, which is one of the most beautiful destinations along the coastline and by far his favorite place to paddle.  In 2015, David was invited to join the Neptune’s Rangers crew and has had a blast continuing to push his abilities while paddling with good friends.  David has been fortunate enough to make a living out of his passion and works as a sea kayak guide and instructor with Kayak Connection.  From leading tours and running kids kayak camps to teaching rock garden classes, David loves sharing his excitement for paddling and seeing more people become comfortable and confident on the ocean!

He founded his own company over 20 years ago, and Acwa-Terra now
specialises in providing Adventure Consultancy and Technical Advice, in
Mountaineering, Climbing, Canoesport, Surfing, SUP, Coasteering and
Gorge Walking, to centres, colleges, organisations and companies across
the UK, throughout Europe and as far afield as various parts of Asia. He
still keeps it real, by being the main face of coaching and personal training
for athletes and participants in Triathlon and Open Water Swimming as
well as the other activities that make up Acwa-Terra. In the nearly 30 years
that Dave has been working in the Outdoor and Adventure sector he has
had various roles giving him a vast array of experiences and knowledge to
draw upon.

Dave Brown

Dave founded his own company over 20 years ago, and Acwa-Terra now specialises in providing Adventure Consultancy and Technical Advice, in Mountaineering, Climbing, Canoesport, Surfing, SUP, Coasteering and Gorge Walking, to centres, colleges, organisations and companies across the UK, throughout Europe and as far afield as various parts of Asia. He still keeps it real, by being the main face of coaching and personal training for athletes and participants in Triathlon and Open Water Swimming as well as the other activities that make up Acwa-Terra. In the nearly 30 years that Dave has been working in the Outdoor and Adventure sector he has had various roles giving him a vast array of experiences and knowledge to draw upon.

Paul Kuthe 

Alder Creek Programs Director Paul Kuthe, started his paddling career as many before him have; Cruising down the river with his father in a Grumman Canoe. It didn't take long before he and his Dad discovered kayaks. Realizing he was losing his bow partner, Paul's father never looked back and bought two Perception Dancers, took their first whitewater class, and for the next couple years, paddled the Class III and IV rivers both in their home state of Missouri and all over the East. As a kid, Paul always felt an equal on the water, crediting paddling with bolstering motivation, self-esteem, and maturity all while keeping him too busy to cause much trouble. Tragically, at the tender age of 12, Paul lost his father to a heart attack on the Arkansas River in Colorado. Teaching kayak classes and going on trips with the Missouri Whitewater Association became both a necessary outlet for teen angst and an amazing opportunity to start a professional coaching career at an uncommonly young age. Paul came to Alder Creek in 2004 at age 20 as an ACA certified whitewater instructor and worked his way up to the busy job of Program Director. He credits the BCU (British Canoe Union) for most of his modern coaching abilities. He became a Level III BCU Inland Coach and a 5 Star Sea Leader in 2011. He brings 20 + years of participating, teaching, and promoting paddle sports to the diversified job of planning, organizing and directing the educational realm of Alder Creek. Building and nurturing ALL paddling communities by studying many diverse disciplines and improving safety awareness has been a career goal for Paul. Whether creek boating, canoeing, slalom racing, or sea kayaking, he feels a kinship to those who share his passion for our waterways. Paul can be found slaving at his desk at the Jantzen Beach location, teaching classes, or paddling his favorite local run – The Little White Salmon River.

Jaime is an adventurer at heart and indulges in all forms of adventure. He is a professional photographer and short film maker, and leads group adventure trips all over the world.
Jaime started white water kayaking at the age of 12, after going on 7 day family canoe trip on the Whanganui River in New Zealand. “I loved the river but wanted my independence and longed to kayak. His uncle brought him to some pool sessions with the local whitewater club where he learnt to roll a kayak and from that point he was hooked. He was soon was paddling technical rivers on weekends and playing competitive Kayak Polo at school. He also dabbled in surf ski racing, though it was the fun of running rivers and surfing waves that had him hooked.
Jaime trained as an outdoor instructor and guide in University, and was soon teaching whitewater skills and guiding rafts in the summers. In his early 20’s, a complicated shoulder injury lead him to sea kayaking as a form of rehabilitation. This opened his eyes to a new form of paddling and lead to a change in profession.
Jaime has worked as a sea kayak guide and instructor all over the world for more than 12 years, having also lead personal sea kayak expeditions in remote locations - most notably the first 
Circumnavigation of Svalbard Archipelago Norway by Sea kayak in 2015 with Tara Mulvany and PG Porsanger. 
“I love the feel and challenge of dynamic water; it’s what got me hooked on whitewater kayaking originally and why I still paddle on rivers today. However in the ocean you can find features that rival any class 5 rapid, and the surf…well who doesn’t like to surf? I am a big believer that whitewater makes you a strong paddler, and paddling long boats makes you think more. If you combine them and strive to master both, you open a huge world of possibilities in all realms of paddling.”
Jaime Sharp 
Jaime is an adventurer at heart and indulges in all forms of adventure. He is a professional photographer and short film maker, and leads group adventure trips all over the world.
Jaime started white water kayaking at the age of 12, after going on 7 day family canoe trip on the Whanganui River in New Zealand. “I loved the river but wanted my independence and longed to kayak. His uncle brought him to some pool sessions with the local whitewater club where he learnt to roll a kayak and from that point he was hooked. He was soon was paddling technical rivers on weekends and playing competitive Kayak Polo at school. He also dabbled in surf ski racing, though it was the fun of running rivers and surfing waves that had him hooked.
Jaime trained as an outdoor instructor and guide in University, and was soon teaching whitewater skills and guiding rafts in the summers. In his early 20’s, a complicated shoulder injury lead him to sea kayaking as a form of rehabilitation. This opened his eyes to a new form of paddling and lead to a change in profession.
Jaime has worked as a sea kayak guide and instructor all over the world for more than 12 years, having also lead personal sea kayak expeditions in remote locations - most notably the first 
Circumnavigation of Svalbard Archipelago Norway by Sea kayak in 2015 with Tara Mulvany and PG Porsanger. 
“I love the feel and challenge of dynamic water; it’s what got me hooked on whitewater kayaking originally and why I still paddle on rivers today. However in the ocean you can find features that rival any class 5 rapid, and the surf…well who doesn’t like to surf? I am a big believer that whitewater makes you a strong paddler, and paddling long boats makes you think more. If you combine them and strive to master both, you open a huge world of possibilities in all realms of paddling.”

Jaime is an adventurer at heart and indulges in all forms of adventure. He is a professional photographer and short film maker, and leads group adventure trips all over the world.
Jaime started white water kayaking at the age of 12, after going on 7 day family canoe trip on the Whanganui River in New Zealand. “I loved the river but wanted my independence and longed to kayak. His uncle brought him to some pool sessions with the local whitewater club where he learnt to roll a kayak and from that point he was hooked. He was soon paddling technical rivers on weekends and playing competitive Kayak Polo at school. He also dabbled in surf ski racing, though it was the fun of running rivers and surfing waves that had him hooked.
Jaime trained as an outdoor instructor and guide in University, and was soon teaching whitewater skills and guiding rafts in the summers. In his early 20’s, a complicated shoulder injury lead him to sea kayaking as a form of rehabilitation. This opened his eyes to a new form of paddling and lead to a change in profession.
Jaime has worked as a sea kayak guide and instructor all over the world for more than 12 years, having also lead personal sea kayak expeditions in remote locations - most notably the first
Circumnavigation of Svalbard Archipelago Norway by Sea kayak in 2015 with Tara Mulvany and PG Porsanger.
“I love the feel and challenge of dynamic water; it’s what got me hooked on whitewater kayaking originally and why I still paddle on rivers today. However in the ocean you can find features that rival any class 5 rapid, and the surf…well who doesn’t like to surf? I am a big believer that whitewater makes you a strong paddler, and paddling long boats makes you think more. If you combine them and strive to master both, you open a huge world of possibilities in all realms of paddling.”


Bill Vonnegut


If you find yourself paddling on the open coast in the San Francisco bay area you will likely run into Bill. A San Francisco Bay Area native, he has a passion for paddling. He enjoys the freedom it offers and the challenges it provides, and has extensive knowledge of our local coast. An ACA Level 5 Instructor, Bill seeks to not only rise to new heights in his high level of comfort and confidence in rough water, but to understand the fine nuances of technique that allow him to move fluidly in conditions from benign to extreme. Bill teaches from the experiences gained (good and bad!) while paddling his favorite coastal waters from Mendocino to Monterey. You can find his postings on kayak related topics on several websites including that of the Neptune’s Rangers, a rough water paddling group of which he is a principal founding member, as well as Canoe & Kayak Magazine.

Steve Pilch


Steve had no hope of avoiding water sports with an upbringing in backwoods Alaska on the Susitna River. After a quick introduction to white water kayaking while in New Zealand, he found yet another way to spend time on the water with great people. Since starting at Alder Creek in the spring of 2012 Steve develops his own paddling skills by teaching kayak, SUP and canoe classes. Whether it’s making students smile or finding a customer the right piece of gear, Steve enjoys sharing the joy of paddle sports with others.

Don Cheyette

Don is a passionate paddler, whether coaching, racing, whitewater canoeing or surfing the sea. He feels most at home around boats and the water – be it salty or fresh, dynamic or still. In 2014, Don completed a 37 day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. He has been fortunate to guide in Alaska, Patagonia and the San Juan Islands, as well as paddle in Norway and Spain. Don has managed to work in and explore some unbelievably beautiful places with some incredible people. Don's current leadership and coaching qualifications include: BCU 5* Sea, 4* Open Canoe, and the new (UKCC) Level 2 Coach. Don tries to blur the line between work and play, and seems to have ended up with a pretty fun line to walk along in his life. He is looking forward to helping you reach your paddling goals. For photos and trip reports, check out his site salishstrokes.com.
Don Cheyette

Don is a passionate paddler, whether coaching, racing, whitewater canoeing or surfing the sea. He feels most at home around boats and the water – be it salty or fresh, dynamic or still. In 2014, Don completed a 37 day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. He has been fortunate to guide in Alaska, Patagonia and the San Juan Islands, as well as paddle in Norway and Spain. Don has managed to work in and explore some unbelievably beautiful places with some incredible people. Don's current leadership and coaching qualifications include: BCU 5* Sea, 4* Open Canoe, and the new (UKCC) Level 2 Coach. Don tries to blur the line between work and play, and seems to have ended up with a pretty fun line to walk along in his life. He is looking forward to helping you reach your paddling goals. For photos and trip reports, check out his site salishstrokes.com.

Don Cheyette

 

Don works for Seattle Adventure Sports, Seattle's premier adventure resource. He is a passionate outdoorman, whether coaching wilderness survival classes, working with kids, expedition canoeing or surfing the sea. He feels most at home around boats and the water – be it salty or fresh, dynamic or still. In 2014, Don completed a 37 day circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. He has been fortunate to guide in Alaska, Patagonia and the San Juan Islands, as well as paddle in Norway and Spain. Don has managed to work in and explore some unbelievably beautiful places with some incredible people.Don's current leadership and coaching qualifications include: BCU 5* Sea, 4* Open Canoe, the new (UKCC) Level 2 Coach, and he is a practicing Wilderness EMT.  Don tries to blur the line between work and play, and seems to have ended up with a pretty fun line to walk along in his life. He is looking forward to helping you reach your adventure goals. For more info about Seattle Adventure Sports and Don, check out www.seattleadventuresports.com..

Matt Nelson 

Matt has been learning from the ocean for most of his adult life. In his late 20’s he and his wife, Djuna, sailed their small, engineless sailboat from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, out to Hawaii, and back to Orcas Island, WA—a voyage of about 7000 miles. After their landfall on Orcas, Matt eventually met Bryan Smith, Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme at Body Boat Blade and within a year began coaching for BBB, progressing as a coach and paddler. Since then, he has delved into whitewater, surf kayaking, rock gardening and expeditions. In 2008, he and his wife Djuna circumnavigated the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, while raising funds for an environmental non-profit. Matt has also appeared in Bryan Smith’s “Pacific Horizons”, has been involved with other kayaking films, is a P&H Team paddler, and teaches at symposiums internationally.

 

Matt’s most current expedition effort is the Sail 2 Surf project—sailing his 34-foot trimaran to the tidal rapids of BC, Vancouver Is, California, and Baja; surfing standing waves and ocean breaks with both sea and surf kayaks, and raising funds and awareness for environmental stewardship along the way.

 

Matt is a coach level 3 and holds the 5-star Sea leadership award, and has been coaching for 8 years. Matt now lives intimately connected to the water aboard his trimaran on Orcas Island, coaches through Body Boat Blade, and shares his adventures via his blog The Fluid Life… Matt’s coaching philosophy (in 5 words or less): “Blending understanding with action.”

Amanda Cantal  

Amanda began paddling in the rivers of northern Wisconsin and began guiding in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior. Over the past decade, she has focused primarily on expedition kayaking through the National Outdoor Leadership School which took her to remote locations in Alaska, Patagonia and Baja. Amanda moved to Portland in 2007 and has since worked on-water coures for Alder Creek. Within months of being in Portland, she found a new passion when introduced to surf kayaking by fellow Alder Creekers. She loves to teach and attributes her growing abilities as a coach to the British Canoe Union, with whom has her Coach 1 certification and is a 4 star trainee. She spends as much time as possible outdoors and when not paddling, enjoys fly-fishing, sailing and exploring the NW.
Russ Watt

Russ Watt grew up in the Midwest and has paddled in most of the Great Lakes, he's been paddling and teaching for decades. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 14 years, and has paddled at various locations on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. Russ has also paddled in Wales, Croatia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and the Philippines. Despite these travels, one of his favorite places to paddle is the Columbia River Gorge when it's windy.

Cate Hawthorne


Cate and her partner Jeff Laxier teach and guide sea, whitewater, and surf kayaking on the Mendocino Coast of California through their business Liquid Fusion Kayaking.  Cate is a high energy person who loves sharing her passion for learning and the outdoors with others. Cate has several K-12 teaching credentials and a masters degree in education.  After 13 years working in public schools, Cate moved her teaching talents from the classroom to the water.  Kayaking is one of her many outdoor adventure pursuits on the Mendocino Coast.  When not kayaking, Cate is likely to be mountain biking or running in the forest.  Cate is an avid birder, connoisseur of wild mushrooms, and writer.  Check out her blogs Woman on Water and Liquid Fusion Kayaking.
 
Jeff and I rally our students and others each year to come to Lumpy via word of mouth in our classes, newsletters, facebook, twitter, and blogs.  If the organizers at Lumpy have other ideas for us, we are all ears as we love the event and would love to see it continue to be fun and successful -  "We Want LUMPY!"
 

Jeff Laxier


The Mendocino Coast of Northern California provides a rock garden kayak mecca that rivals those found almost anywhere in the world. It is here that he and Cate Hawthorne are the owner operators of Liquid Fusion Kayaking. Jeff is a patient instructor, guide and mentor. Jeff has fallen into a passion of teaching and guiding many kayak disciplines, since his start in the winter of 1996.  When not teaching, one is likely to find him messing about in kayaks on the Sea, running down Rivers, and carving in the Surf and trying to pull off another multi-day adventure.


Jason "Kiwi" Goldstein


Jason (Kiwi) has paddled extensively in New Zealand, Alaska, Baja, OR, and WA. He has taught and guided paddlers in ocean and river environments for over twenty years. Jason currently works for WA State Dept. of Natural Resources as a Recreation Planner specializing in water access and mapping (GIS and GPS) often from kayak and SUP. He has worked for NOAA conducting remote coastal beach surveys from kayaks; for REI guiding backpacking and paddling trips, for Tahoma Outdoor Pursuits, and Topsport NZ as a paddle instructor, and currently is exploring Washington's and Oregon's coastlines, and the creeks of the Olympic Peninsula and Washington Cascades. Kayak sailing, coastal kayaking, and custom chart/mobile map applications are three of his current areas of expertise. Kiwi trained in New Zealand under the NZOIA syllabus (ocean and whitewater) but holds ACA and BCU certs. and was a Wilderness EMT for 5 years. He now volunteer coaches at only the best symposiums in the Pacific Northwest (Lumpy Waters, and PPS). Contact him at: kayakthecoast@gmail.com

Karl Andersson 

Karl loves to have fun. Surf, games, coaching... we think he likes grinning at least as much as he likes kayaking, which is a lot. Karl is a BCU coach 4 * Sea and has been working with kids in competitive paddlesports in Portland for many years. His comprehensive knowledge of navigation and safety paired with an outstanding skill set, makes Karl a true favorite among students of all skill levels.

Marcel Bieg

I owe so much to paddle sports; my character, passions, personality, relationships and even my life. I have always believed in a balanced life so for me if I owe something or someone one I better make good on it. This may be by repaying my teachers by continuing their teachings, honoring a mentor by becoming a mentor, or simply trying to convey the joy I have felt within an activity to others who could grow their lives through the activity.

This is why I am so dedicated to Experiential Education and kayak Instruction. I want not only to provide people the opportunity to learn to paddle, but ultimately learn to grow as people, individuals and within their community. The best way for me to do this and insure success for these individuals is learning how to be the best teacher I can be. The ACA has provided me with the tools to be a paddle instructor and the rest of my education has provided me with the knowledge to be a reasonable life instructor. Together I have been able to use paddle sports as the mechanism for growth.

 

I feel so much passion is missing in our world today due to several factors. I believe art, dance, science, and nature can all aid in reviving some of this passion. Paddle sport is my main instrument in reestablishing this idea and love for life. By insuring that I am teaching to the highest standards of quality has aided in planting this passion in so many students; many of which I would have never connected with without the experiences I have had through my own paddling path.

Chris Bensch

Chris has a strong passion for the outdoors and helping people access our beautiful world. As a team member of Out of Sight, Out of Mind, he plays a strong role in conservation and preservation of the worlds water ways. For the past 5 year he has been Instructor, Coach, and Guide at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, in Portland, Oregon. He is a BCU Coach and an ACA Whitewater Instructor, as well he holds a host of Outdoor Certifications, from varying organizations and schools such as San Diego State University and the Wilderness Education Association. While he enjoys all forms of paddle sports, his main focus is Surf Kayaking. In 2011, he organized Oregon’s first surf paddling competition in almost a decade; the Pacific City Surf Off, which is now an annual event. Later that year he attended the 2011 World Championships of Surf Kayaking as a member of the U.S. West Surf Team, helping them clinch a bronze medal. Chris also Co-founded the Pacific Paddle Surf Series with Dennis Judson, the host of the worlds largest surf competition next to the World Championships-Santa Cruz Paddle Surf Festival. Whether it be flat water, a raging river of whitewater, or a clean glassy wave on the coast, he is more than happy to share his passion and knowledge to help you get out there.

Andrew Romanelli


Andrew is a canoeist from the bountiful and calm waters of Wisconsin. The prospect of mountains and ocean has been a draw since his wee years sprouting across the pitch in the North east. Now amidst the dynamic landscape of the Pacific Northwest Andrew is loving the plethora of paddling opportunities and developing his sea and whitewater kayaking skills. Fresh or Salt, Flat or White, getting on the water is always an adventure!

Severin Piper

As a Pacific Northwest native, water has always been an essential ingredient in Severin Piper’s recipies for enthusiasm, enjoyment, and wonder. Since finding a home in a kayak, exploring coastal regions has become a common wayfor him to let the power of the ocean mix these ingredients together into a delightful adventure. Sev recently finised his masters degree in the field of education and is excited to take that expeirnce to the ocean’s classroom. While he always looks forward to the pounding waves of the Pacific Coast, Sev finds solace in the biodiversity of the San Juan Islands where he guides for Outdoor Odysseys in the summer months. Sev is also an ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor.
Dennis Pennell

Dennis Pennell took his first paddle trip in an inflatable kayak on a class 2+ river in northwestern North Carolina in the mid-1970s. Day and overnight canoe trips soon followed. Then in 1984, whitewater canoeing became a priority, followed by whitewater kayaking, flatwater kayaking, and sea kayaking. In 1996 he moved to Vancouver, Washington where he enjoys as much of the regions flat, white, and salt water as he can.   He has kayaked and rafted many of the best whitewater rivers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and Utah, including 39 days on the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, and a trip on the Tatshenshini/Alsek through the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alaska. These days Dennis paddles canoes and kayaks of all types and rows rafts and catarafts on multi-day whitewater trips. But most of the time he is seen in a sea kayak. He works part-time for Alder Creek as an instructor and guide. Dennis feels that the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places on earth to practice this most excellent sport.
Kim Grandfield
Kim Grandfield’s passion for the outdoors started in the mountains in the late 60s and led to opening Sunrise Mountain Sports in 1975. In the 90s Kim added sea kayaking to the list of adventure sports he participates in and caters to in his retail store in Livermore, California. His kayaking experience includes expeditions in Greenland, Alaska, Baja, Patagonia, French Polynesia, Bahamas and Wales. In the spring of 2016 Kim organized an expedition down the Grand Canyon where he and his friends ran 2026 miles of rapids in sea kayaks. He is a BCU Five Star Sea Leader and a ACA L5 Kayak Instructor. Kim coaches at the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in California, The Lumpy Water Symposium in Oregon and the Baja Kayak Festival every year. When not traveling, Kim paddles and coaches in the waters around San Francisco Bay.
Matthew Maddalena
Matt started as a 5-year old "water dog" on a boggie board at Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California.  He spent many years, and every summer, playing and recreating in the local and high Sierra lakes, and along the coast of the Pacific ocean.  Matt first experienced canoeing on Northern California's Russian River with his Scout troop.  He has always preferred wide open spaces and the great outdoors. During his senior year of high school, Matt started working for a local small business in Shell Beach, California called Central Coast Kayaks.  It was there that his love of the ocean blossomed and he found his "home".  Matt spent the next ten years as a guide, teacher and mentor for customers of all ages and skill levels, as well as fellow employees.  Matt was often requested as the lead guide for tours through the famous Dinosaur Caves along the Shell Beach coastline.
After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Graphic Communications, Matt started tending to Central Coast Kayak's website and became the "go to guy" for all things involving the shop activities.
Matt relocated to the Portland area with his fiance and found a home at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe where he has taken to everything paddle sports.  Still the "water dog" at heart, Matt enjoys free diving, scuba diving and fishing.
Matt started as a 5-year old "water dog" on a boggie board at Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California.  He spent many years, and every summer, playing and recreating in the local and high Sierra lakes, and along the coast of the Pacific ocean.  Matt first experienced canoeing on Northern California's Russian River with his Scout troop.  He has always preferred wide open spaces and the great outdoors. During his senior year of high school, Matt started working for a local small business in Shell Beach, California called Central Coast Kayaks.  It was there that his love of the ocean blossomed and he found his "home".  Matt spent the next ten years as a guide, teacher and mentor for customers of all ages and skill levels, as well as fellow employees.  Matt was often requested as the lead guide for tours through the famous Dinosaur Caves along the Shell Beach coastline.
After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Graphic Communications, Matt started tending to Central Coast Kayak's website and became the "go to guy" for all things involving the shop activities.
Matt relocated to the Portland area with his fiance and found a home at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe where he has taken to everything paddle sports.  Still the "water dog" at heart, Matt enjoys free diving, scuba diving and fishing.

Matt started as a 5-year old "water dog" on a boggie board at Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California.  He spent many years, and every summer, playing and recreating in the local and high Sierra lakes, and along the coast of the Pacific ocean.  Matt first experienced canoeing on Northern California's Russian River with his Scout troop.  He has always preferred wide open spaces and the great outdoors. During his senior year of high school, Matt started working for a local small business in Shell Beach, California called Central Coast Kayaks.  It was there that his love of the ocean blossomed and he found his "home".  Matt spent the next ten years as a guide, teacher and mentor for customers of all ages and skill levels, as well as fellow employees.  Matt was often requested as the lead guide for tours through the famous Dinosaur Caves along the Shell Beach coastline.
After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Graphic Communications, Matt started tending to Central Coast Kayak's website and became the "go to guy" for all things involving the shop activities.
Matt relocated to the Portland area with his fiance and found a home at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe where he has taken to everything paddle sports.  Still the "water dog" at heart, Matt enjoys free diving, scuba diving and fishing.
Matt started as a 5-year old "water dog" on a boggie board at Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California.  He spent many years, and every summer, playing and recreating in the local and high Sierra lakes, and along the coast of the Pacific ocean.  Matt first experienced canoeing on Northern California's Russian River with his Scout troop.  He has always preferred wide open spaces and the great outdoors. During his senior year of high school, Matt started working for a local small business in Shell Beach, California called Central Coast Kayaks.  It was there that his love of the ocean blossomed and he found his "home".  Matt spent the next ten years as a guide, teacher and mentor for customers of all ages and skill levels, as well as fellow employees.  Matt was often requested as the lead guide for tours through the famous Dinosaur Caves along the Shell Beach coastline.
After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Graphic Communications, Matt started tending to Central Coast Kayak's website and became the "go to guy" for all things involving the shop activities.
Matt relocated to the Portland area with his fiance and found a home at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe where he has taken to everything paddle sports.  Still the "water dog" at heart, Matt enjoys free diving, scuba diving and fishing.
Ethan Boswell
A new member of Team Alder Creek, Ethan hails from the desert valleys of Arizona and grew up in the outdoors. Unfortunately, water was sparse and so he was relegated to land-based sports. That all changed when he was 14, on a trip to Chile's mighty Rio Futaleufu where he enjoyed whitewater rafting and began to learn the art of whitewater kayaking.. 7 years of progression later and finally fed up with the slim pickings, Ethan decided to make a change; and so he moved port and came to rest in the lush forests, snowy peaks, and pristine rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. And let us not forget the ocean! As Ethan is coming to learn, there is more to the world of paddling than whitewater. But his lack of experience isn't stopping him from sharing his enthusiasm for the water.
Mishael Rosenthal

Mish grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and took to the outdoors at an early age. Always fascinated and enthusiastic about experiencing what mother nature has to offer, he trekked, climbed, bicycled, skied, windsurfed, and paddled in various locations around the globe. On 2013, for his birthday, his wife booked them a sea kayaking introductory course and he was hooked ever since.
Mish is always keen to learn and develop his kayaking skills. He attended international symposiums and 4* and 5* BCU training by world leading coaches, and is considering becoming a coach. Currently living in the Bay Area and trying to balance a family, hobbies, and a full time tech job, he is always dreaming and planning his next adventures.
"Kayaking is extremely diverse and I enjoy practicing and trying various paddling disciplines. Although each of them is unique, and unveils different aspect of one’s personality and nature itself, they all complement each other and help you become a better and more competent paddler. I love the immersion into nature and logistics of expedition sea kayaking, technicality and adrenaline of white water paddling, the joy and playfulness of surfing, and the speed and exact paddling form of surfskis and K1 boats".
Jennifer Yearley
Jennifer is a resident of the San Francisco Bay area,  loves to paddle the spectacular coastal playground of her home waters and is often to be seen out playing in the waves of the California coast when she is not traveling to paddle in distant locations. Jennifer is an avid paddler. One might even say an obsessed paddler. Sea kayak, whitewater, surf kayak, SUP, surfski... if it can be paddled, she wants to be out there paddling it. Jennifer loves to teach and loves sharing the incredible beauty and thrill of paddling with others. Jennifer is a British Canoeing Advanced Sea Kayak Leader and ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor. She teaches with the River and Ocean Paddlesports Coaching Collective.
Kate Govaars
Kate Govaars is a recent transplant to SE Alaska where she spends a lot of time paddling a SUP along the Inside Passage among sea lions and killer whales! Kate began her kayak career over 10 years ago as a whitewater paddler and has been instructing on and off for over 8 years in whitewater, SUP, and sea kayak disciplines for colleges and paddling schools across the country. Kate credits the Lumpy Waters Symposium for successfully converting her over to sea kayaking...though whitewater will always be her first love.
Jill Mitchell

Jill took her first kayak trip in 2009 out in the San Juans Islands of Washington state and knew kayaking was going to be an addiction.   Jill moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2011 to fuel the addiction and sought out professional instruction.  In 2016 she  was awarded her BCU 4 Star Sea Kayak Leader award.  Most weekends you will find her out in a boat somewhere paddling, which includes Deception Pass, surfing and rock gardening at Hobuck beach and along the coastline, practicing Greenland rolling, surfing the waves at Skookumchuck Rapids, or helping others develop their skills within the local clubs.  


John LaMunyon
John LaMunyon grew up on the lakes, rivers, and seas of the Pacfic Northwest. Since seriously pursuing seakayaking and open canoeing, it has been his great privilege, delight, and at times, horror, to paddle all over the Northwest, inside and outside Vancouver Island,  parts of the eastern seaboard, as well as a number of the rivers and seascapes of Scotland.
Through work with the Seattle chapter of Team River Runner he developed a love of adaptive coaching.  John can  occasionally be seen volunteering alongside a dutch oven over a firepan with Seattle Adventure Sports. In addition to paddlesports coaching credentials he is a Trainer of NLP and related fields of human development.
Calvin Croll
Calvin grew up on the salt water in Connecticut, loving everything about the ocean. After college, he found himself paddling the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota and honing his sea kayaking skills on Lake Superior for 11 years while leading multi-week expeditions for Outward Bound. He has continued his westward migration and is now coaching full-time with Body Boat Blade on Orcas Island, WA. He has spent the past few years gaining more formal coaching and leadership experience, and is currently a BCU/UKCC Coach 2 and 5-star trainee, as well as ACA L4 Open Coastal Kayak instructor. 
When not in a kayak, Calvin loves paddling canoes down rapids, especially in the desert.
Kathy Mitchell
Kathy Mitchell is a Pacific Northwest native and has always had a deep love for our rivers, lakes and ocean. Happiest by the water, she started paddling sea kayaks as a hobby that over time has transformed into a complete paddlesports obsession. You could find her anywhere from the Willamette Narrows to enjoying Cascade Head to the San Juan Islands. She holds her BC Coach Level 1 certification, BC 3 Star in sea kayak, is working towards her 3 star in open canoe and is also a BC Sea Leader aspirant. Having taken BC Coach Level 2 training at Glenmore Lodge, Scotland, in the early summer of 2017, she is looking forward to ‘enabling’ others to share the fun of all things paddling.
James Manke
James is an international Greenland kayak instructor local to Victoria British Columbia. His passion is shared around the world and it has taken him to some amazing places, recently back from Chile where he taught at the very first sea kayak symposium in South America and has been back to teach 3 times. His favorite past time is sea kayak surfing and running through the
list of Greenland rolls. James is the founder of All Things Qajaq and an active member of The Hurricane Riders, a diverse group of rough water sea kayakers who push each other to new limits. James's approach to instruction is easy to understand and he gives students the opportunity to teach in pairs to better help them understand the process. Many of his students have outstanding success. James's ongoing sponsors include Stohlquist Water Wear, Sterling Kayaks and Maui Jim Sunglasses.
Kelly Marie Henry

Kelly is a surf obsessed, rough water loving, paddling fanatic. Her positive energy and 

enthusiasm for kayaking encourages and inspires both elite and novice paddlers alike. As a coach, she strives to help paddlers of all levels set goals, push boundaries, and find joy on the water. Kelly works full time in the paddlesports industry and currently coaches through several outlets including California Canoe & Kayak and River & Ocean . Kelly is passionate in her pursuit to get more women on the water and offers women’s specific sea and surf kayak programs in collaboration with California Women’s Watersport Collective. She recently assumed the role of Event Director for Paddle Golden Gate, the West Coast’s premier paddlesports symposium, and is excited to bring paddlers from across the United States and abroad together to enjoy her home waters. 

In 2017, Kelly began broadening her paddling horizons and embarked on Fearless 

Formosa a 6-week coaching and sea kayaking adventure in Taiwan. There she shared her love of kayaking with the local community through a series of clinics and month long expedition spanning the island’s eastern coast. Kelly crushed her first year in the 

competitive surf kayak circuit and as a result will represent the United States in the 2017 World Surf Kayak Championships. She holds the following certifications: ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor, Level 3 Surf Kayak Instructor, and a Level 2 SUP Instructor, and is trained in Wilderness First Aid.

Barry Walstead

Barry grew up paddling an old orange Coleman canoe near Raft Island in Puget Sound as a kid making lifelong memories. But then life, love and children kept him from pursuing kayaking until his later 20’s. Nine years later, and he has dove into paddling and enjoys sea kayaks, paddleboards and canoes. Just this year he learned to love river trips after spending 6 days paddling the Willamette. Barry also enjoys sailboat racing with his wife and daughter, and recently began learning to row a Venetian gondola to explore his love of all things on the water.

He has been coaching for two years, starting with Washington Kayak Club and Lumpy last season as a safety boater.

This year as co-chair of training, and a board member for WKC he was a lead coach for their yearly Basic Course and Coastal Clinic.

You can usually identify him on the water as the guy with the brightest colored kayak and the Greenland blades.

Ben Fontenot

Local sea kayaker, Greenland paddle maker, and photographer to the Southeast USA. Ben works as a lead guide and coach for Savannah Canoe and Kayak. He also owns BFPaddles, specializing in Greenland paddling and paddle making workshops.

Ben discovered sea kayaking on the Georgia coast in the summer of 2011. A tight knit community of paddlers and friends helped introduced him to an area perfect for full immersion into the sport. And from the time he purchased his first sea kayak, local excursions have taken him up and down barrier island stretches. Interconnecting the subtropical forested hammocks though the seemingly countless creeks, rivers, and inlets that make up the patchwork of Georgia's, mostly wild coastline. The constant flood and ebb of the tide in such a low geographic area creates complex and evolving paddling environments. His favorite and most popular local feature is known as the The Triangle. A park and play tide race that forms in the Back River Inlet south of Tybee Island over the delta shaped sandbar. 


“A passion for sharing and introducing people to wilderness and the sea made it feel natural to be an outdoors professional. There is nothing that can replace the feeling of being immersed in a natural environment, in your own element, in your own kayak”. As result, Ben began sea kayak guide instructor training almost immediately after he started paddling. Ever since, he's been guiding, coaching, surfing, rolling, and making paddles in Savannah, Georgia. Ben is an ACA L4 Coastal Kayak Instructor and proudly sponsored by Savannah Canoe and Kayak and Current Designs Kayaks.
Conrad Kyle

Originally a surfer from Florida, Conrad started his paddling career leading trips in the Everglades. Though the regular alligator encounters kept things interesting, he started craving a more dynamic water environment, and headed to the San Juan Islands, where he trained with Body Boat Blade and led sea kayak expeditions all across the archipelago. He's since immersed himself in all the opportunities the west coast has to offer, journeying from paddling destinations on Vancouver Island all the way down to Baja California. 


Conrad spent the winter training and working with Ginni Callahan down in Baja, where he started working toward his BCU 4 Star award and obtained his Level 1 Coach. He is now in his first season working for Alder Creek, where he guides and coaches regularly. He's taking advantage of all the beautiful rivers Oregon has to offer by throwing himself into white water paddling, but he's happiest on the ocean, where you'll find him surfing, rock gardening, or just chasing whales out in the swells.

  

Roger Schumann

Eskape’s co-founder, owner and primary instructor, Roger is an American Canoe Association Instructor Trainer Educator in Level 5: Advanced Open Water (the ACA’s highest level of certification) who has been teaching sea and river kayaking since 1990. He is known nationally for his many articles in Sea Kayaker magazine, and he is also the award-winning co-author of two books on kayaking: Sea Kayaking Central and Northern California: Best Trips From Morro Bay To The Lost Coast (winner of a National Outdoor Book Award) and Sea Kayak Rescue.A California native, he grew up along, and often in, the Pacific Ocean surfing, sailing, snorkeling and eventually sea kayaking. A trained naturalist, he also teaches marine natural history field-study courses for Prescott College, and is a regular speaker at various kayaking events and symposia across the country. For the past 15 or so years he’s taught classes and led kayak expeditions all over the world from Alaska to the Galapagos and from Baja to Brazil.