2016 boating season is upon us! As the days are getting longer, the glorious snowpack that we received this winter is beginning to melt, and is reminding us that it is time to get back in our kayaks! For the first time in eight years, I took more than two months off of paddling, traded my boat for skis, and searched out pow instead of eddies. And after a five month hiatus, I was starkly reminded how challenging it can be to brush off those cobwebs and get back into the paddling swing of things. What a better way to do that, than by taking a course with one of Wet Planet’s talented, patient, and driven kayak instructors?!?
We are all super excited to be back in full swing this season! I want to personally introduce the kayak team we will have for the 2016 season, and what an all star crew it is!
If you’ve ever visited Wet Planet, you’ve certainly met Todd Collins. Not only our most experienced kayak instructor, you’ll also see Todd teaching guide school, leading rescue courses, helping with the local search and rescue efforts, guiding rafts, and just about everything else! What started as an effort to spend as much time on the river as possible, has led to Todd being a world renowned leader in the whitewater and rescue industry. If you can think of a river, he has probably been on it and positively impacted the area somehow, and will be more than happy to share an awe inspiring story about it!
Coming back for year number two, we have the Mainer, Dave Wells. He spent the winter play-boating in cold rivers and chasing all of the high water that our lovely town of White Salmon has had over the last several months. He’s overjoyed to be back at Wet Planet for another season and is looking forward to continuing to mold the next generation of kayakers!
Next we have Jeff Clewell, the analyst. He spent an amazing winter ski patrolling at Lake Tahoe and debating over whether a bow draw is ever better than a stern draw or if Devin is just crazy. He’s a long time instructor, back for his sixth year at Wet Planet with a keen eye for improving paddlers and the desire to discuss how, why, and what causes something is happening.
We are lucky to have long time senior instructor Libby Tobey returning for the spring! Fresh off of an exciting winter teaching and guiding in Ecuador, she is back and ready to go. Any one who has worked with Libby in the past knows that she’s the cream of the crop. We’re already booking her spring availability up with requests, so if you’ve worked with her before or just want to now, call early and call often!
Andrew Regan will be making the journey back across the pond from Ireland for his second year here at Wet Planet. He had a busy year full of studying and paddling. He also just signed on as a Jackson team paddler. If you want to learn how to play boat, Andrew is your man!
We also have two new instructors starting this year, Jordan Slaughter and David Higgins.
Jordan is a very accomplished paddler who has spent a notable amount of time teaching in the area for Next Adventure and Alder Creek. In addition, she spent a quarter working for World Class Kayak Academy, teaching English and kayaking to the next generation of rippers down in Mexico and Canada. We are beyond excited to have this talented paddler and instructor joining our team.
David Higgins is very Irish American coming over to seek sunnier climates and more consistent water! When he is not managing and teaching at a kayak outfit in Ireland you can find him trail running, doing yoga, and taking long walks on the beach.
You’ll also be seeing a few new additional faces assisting with the kayak school throughout the summer. We’d like to introduce Calvin Bauer, a paddler coming to us from the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers; Stein Beals, a member of the US Junior Olympic Slalom team; and Carson Lyness coming to us from the University of Pudget sound, where she is studying biology and likes to remind people that they are made of 70% water.
Keep an eye out for some guest appearances by long time favorites Paul Gillingham, John Abercrombie and Dave Seal. These three have been strong contributing members of the team for over 15 years combined. We are so glad to have their expertise in the school!
We are thrilled to be working with some familiar faces from the past, Wet Planet Team paddler Brendan Wells and Otter Bar’s Andy Roundez. We’re proud to be celebrating their achievements with them, and are hoping to coordinate with them to bring their expertise to some of our advanced clinics this summer.
It’s going to be a great crew out there this season and we are all looking forward to helping you take the next step in your paddling journey! I’m super excited for a full month of First Descents camps, boofing/creeking clinics and starting to revamp our course offerings with a wider variety of leveled courses!
Interested in exploring a new side of white water or advancing your skill sets? Join Wet Planet’s team of kayak instructors for our essential kayak classes and skill clinics this summer! We will also be hosting Adventure Trek’s Youth Camps and ACA instructor kayak courses!
Author: Devin Kuh is Wet Planet’s resident cheerleader and most boisterous staff member. He can often be found managing the kayaking programs or foraging for left over pickles.