Learn to kayak with the best – Wet Planet’s talented team of kayak instructors! Get to know the favorite familiar faces as well as the new members of this elite crew coming to you in 2017.
If you’ve ever visited Wet Planet, you’ve certainly met Todd. Not only our one of most experienced kayak instructors, you’ll also see Todd teaching guide school, leading rescue courses, guiding rafts, fixing trailers, creating works of art in your espresso drink, 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 leader in the whitewater and river rescue industry. If you can think of a river, he has probably been on it and positively impacted the area, and will be more than happy to share an awe-inspiring story about it!
Jeff, our favorite analyst, is returning for his 7th season at Wet Planet as lead raft guide, lead kayaking instructor, River Rescue instructor and basically anywhere at Wet Planet (we all fight over him). He spends his winters ski patrolling at Lake Tahoe and savors a proper debate over whether a bow draw or stern draw is more effective. As a long time instructor, Jeff has a keen eye for how to improve paddling and the desire to discuss how, why, and what causes something to happen, both on the river as well as – with smart and a great sense of humor – in life in general. Jeff is our most requested instructor for private intermediate to advanced 1/1 kayaking instruction.
Andrew has made the journey back across the pond from Ireland for his third year at Wet Planet. He has had an incredibly busy winter of studying, traveling, and helping organize a local whitewater festival in Ireland, the Galway Fest. He’s also been teaching PE, writing his dissertation, and producing great videos and blogs for his sponsors, Palm Equipment and Jackson Kayaks. Andrew has managed to fit in lots of kayaking around his schooling, including a paddling trip to the headwaters of the Amazon last winter.
Higgins is an Irish American who has spent the winter honing his kayak skills on a variety of rivers and whitewater events in Ireland, such as the Galway Fest, Cranafest, and the Clare Glens Race. Now that he’s back stateside, he can be found trail running, doing yoga, and taking long walks on the beach if he’s not chasing waterfalls in his boat, guiding rafts or introducing folks to the joys of whitewater kayaking.
Coming back for year #3, we have the Mainer, and Wet Planet lead instructor Dave Wells. He spent the winter traveling in Africa with the Summer Rains Tour, including his Wet Planet paddling buddy Tyler Houck. While not exploring new stretches of river and hiking through the jungle with his kayak on his back, he helped write a descriptive blog series documenting their adventures. Keep an eye out for more of his publications! As much as he loved traveling in Africa, he’s overjoyed to be back in the land of ‘rivers without crocodiles’. Dave is looking forward to molding the next generation of kayakers and can’t wait to help get you on the river! He particularly enjoys facilitating and leading the annual First Descents kayak camps at Wet Planet each year.
Alex explored Peru this winter, living with local families and experiencing their traditions and the jungles they call home. There is never a dull moment with Alex, whether you find yourself immersed in a deep conversation or swapping jokes and tales of adventures. He recently returned to White Salmon, and we’re excited to have him back for his 3rd season with Wet Planet as kayaking instructor, providing kayak support on our Class V Wind River rafting trips, and raft guide.
Not keen on sitting still for too long, armed with an obsession for whitewater and adventure travel, and inclined to Latin American culture, Josh has spent the past 10+ years guiding and kayaking throughout the Americas. He taught himself to kayak on western Wyoming rivers in high school before completing his first season as a raft guide on the Ocoee River in Tennessee in 2005. Since then, he has led sea kayak and coral reef tours in Puerto Rico, co-started a raft company in the Guatemalan jungle, guided Army war veterans down the turbulent waters of the Arkansas River in Colorado, and safety kayaked and raft guided on the pristine rivers of Chilean Northern Patagonia. Look for Josh both guiding rafts on the White Salmon River and teaching for the Wet Planet Kayak School!
Hailing from the East Coast and most recently Colorado, Travis made his way West this year to join the team at Wet Planet! Travis uses kayaking as a tool in exploration, discovering new rivers everywhere he travels. In the event you can find Travis off the river, he would be happy to get right back on it with you. Help us give this cross-country all-star a warm welcome this season!
Devin is Wet Planet’s resident cheerleader and most boisterous staff member. He can often be found foraging for leftover pickles while humming something that sounds surprisingly like the Mulan soundtrack. Devin spent the winter months teaching kiteboarding and high school classes with World Class Academy, most recently in France and Morocco. Make sure you catch a class with Devin while he’s in town!
Anna is new to the Wet Planet team this year and is always up for a ridiculous adventure. Having worked with the one and only JR at Sundance Kayak School on the Rogue River, we are lucky that Anna is joining the Wet Planet team this year! Anna enjoys a good tromp through the woods before sunrise, midnight rallies to distant rivers, speaking French in Spanish speaking countries, and paddling through forests that are usually under water. She spent time guiding in both California and Sri Lanka before focusing on kayaking. Anna is a natural teacher for students of any age, and she is the kind of person who you can’t help but be happy and optimistic around. She is studying to be a nurse on weekdays but is always counting down days until she is at Wet Planet and out on the river sharing her passion for paddling on the weekends!
Libby’s first experience at Wet Planet was on the annual Freshmen college rafting trip with Willemette University. After college she had to come back for more – and has worked at Wet Planet for many years since! We are lucky to have long time senior instructor Libby returning for the spring! Fresh off of an exciting winter boating in New Zealand, she is back and ready to go. When Libby isn’t at Wet Planet, she can be found teaching for Otterbar Kayak School or traveling with First Descents, a program that provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer. Libby helps mold lives every day through kayaking and can’t wait to coach you through your own kayaking journey!
Jonathan is a 12 year veteran at Wet Planet. Jonathan has a passion for travel and has kayaked on every continent except Antarctica and Africa, making a point of a yearly adventure to some new country or exotic location. A few adventures have included working on the rivers in Costa Rica, exploring the Peruvian rivers with the 2008 Wet Planet team, spending a year as a nurse in 12 countries in Asia, paddling the largest river in Chile (the Rio Baker), getting stranded for days hitchhiking in Argentine Patagonia, petting wild orangutans in Kalimantan, kite-surfing in Baja, backpacking to the southernmost city in the world, and heli-kayaking in New Zealand! Ask him about his recent travels in Bali or the adventures he’s had in construction this winter. When not working as a nurse, a swift water rescue instructor with Sierra Rescue and Wet Planet River Rescue School, he can be found ‘improving the local housing shortage’ or flying his kite over the Columbia River.
You’ll also be seeing a few additional faces assisting with the kayak school throughout the summer. Calvin Bauer will quickly make kayaking and geology your new favorite topics with his enthusiasm. You’ll find Kenji Stasiewicz helping with kayak programs when he’s not teaching Wilderness First Responder courses. Carson Lyness, who recently received the Watson Fellowship Grant, is preparing for a year abroad studying free flowing rivers. She will be gathering an understanding of the conflicting desires of those who build hydroelectric projects and the locals and environment with her project, and will be joining us for another Summer before she embarks on her journey.
Brendan is a local Wet Planet sponsored professional kayaker, bringing his expertise to Wet Planet through offering advanced clinics throughout the year for both kayaking and film production. He helps coordinate the annual White Salmon Riverfest, teaches Wet Planet’s First Descents’ programs, and is full of awesome ideas and lots of enthusiasm.
We admire the passion, enthusiasm, and expertise of all our kayak instructors. We’re excited to have such an incredible team this season, and we know you’ll have an amazing time with them in any course that you take!
Wet Planet offers great 2 and 3 day beginner kayak courses, as well as intermediate and private kayak classes. In addition, if you want to combine your new kayak skills with an amazing multi-day whitewater adventure, you should check out Wet Planet’s 5 day raft supported Lower Salmon trip in Idaho. All that is required is one previous beginner class! Advanced creeking clinics and boof clinics are offered throughout the season, and look for updates on our inspiring First Descents’ programs through the month of June!