Thanks to being surrounded by so many amazing rivers – from relaxing Class I all the way up to epic Class V – Wet Planet is the perfect place to dive into the world of whitewater kayaking. And our incredible, world-class instructors are there to meet you where you are.


The Wet Planet kayak team is made up of a core group of highly competent kayakers with years of teaching and real-world paddling experience. Our dream team hails from across the USA – from the rugged waters of New England to the stunning glacier-fed rivers of Montana (we even have an amazing instructor who hails from the tumultuous waters of Chile’s iconic Futaleufu).

Explore our amazing kayak team below:

Paul Butler

Paul was born in Chicago and raised in Kansas City where he graduated college with a Business degree. After college, Paul moved to Knoxville where he, for the first time, had unlimited access to mountains and rivers. Having this access triggered a passion for the outdoors and later for whitewater kayaking. 

Since then, Paul has continuously followed the rivers and has been kayaking for over 25 years. He had the opportunity to explore and kayak all that the Southeast had to offer and in 2014 he moved to Colorado where he lived for 7 years. But after his corporate accounting job ended in 2017 (and with 2 children raised), he decided not to spend the rest of his life in an office. So he bought a van and obtained his ACA Kayak Instructor certification at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center.

For the past few years, Paul has been teaching kayaking, guiding inflatable trips, and guiding mountain bike rides. Paul really enjoys teaching and sharing his appreciation of the outdoors with others. In the off seasons, you can find Paul mountain biking through Colorado, floating down the Grand Canyon, or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail!

Needless to say, we are very excited for Paul to lead our Wet Planet instructor team as our Kayak School Manager for the third year in a row!

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, River Rescue

Whitney MacIntyre

Growing up in Quincy, California, Whitney was lucky to have friends who brought her family rafting and eventually taught them how to kayak. Rumor is, you could find her crying on the side of the river when she wasn’t allowed to run a “big one.” After a couple of years of half-heartedly learning to kayak, she became truly hooked during her junior year of college and has not stopped progressing since. Whitney began guiding and support kayaking on Idaho’s Payette River in 2022 while taking a break between undergrad and grad school. Whitney’s kayaking highlights include the Pine Creek section of the Arkansas River and Bailey Creek in Colorado, The New and Gauley Rivers in West Virginia, and the North Fork Payette in Idaho. The North Fork of the Feather and its tributary Spanish Creek in California also hold sentimental significance for her.

Now a full-time graduate student studying speech pathology at Portland State, Whitney spends the winter just barely squeaking by, occasionally making time for a cold lap on one of the many rivers in the Columbia Gorge. One of those cold days of kayaking on the Hood River led to a chance meeting, the gift of a brownie, and a subsequent job offer to join Wet Planet! While she excels in the classroom, Whitney feels most inspired and at home in the mountains with people who share her quiet enthusiasm for wild places. Whitney thu-hiked an impressive 800 miles on the Arizona Trail in the spring of 2022 and is also an excellent baker!

We are excited for Whitney to once again be a part of our talented group of kayak instructors this season. Her ability to teach and welcome people into the local paddling community that has been so welcoming to her will surely leave our students eager to make kayaking and Wet Planet a big part of their summer.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, River Rescue

Julianna Cantrell

Growing up in Potomac, Maryland, Julianna had access to some great rivers like the Potomac, Shenandoah and Youghiogheny. These special places served not only as an introduction to the sport, but as a place to progress, hone her skills and fall in love with kayaking. While enrolling as a full-time student at Indiana University made kayaking a bit more difficult, Julianna loves nothing more than a good challenge. During the summers she would travel, work, and teach kayaking to share her love for the river.

Last season Julianna worked at Zoar Outdoors in Massachusetts as a full-time instructor. She also paddled some of New England’s best whitewater like the Moose, Dead, and New Haven Ledges. For Julianna, kayaking is all about finding the flow state and connecting with the surrounding environment. Whitewater has played an important role in her life and she loves spreading that feeling to others through teaching. We are very excited that Julianna made the pilgrimage to the Columbia River Gorge to teach kayaking at Wet Planet this season.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, River Rescue

Connor Hayes

Connor has paddled many classic Northeast rivers, including the New Haven Ledges, Gihon, Moose, and the Beaver, and he never misses an opportunity to paddle the Youghiogheny while home. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Connor’s love for the outdoors extends beyond kayaking to racing mountain bikes, skiing the icy East, and sleeping in his Subaru before early morning hikes up Vermont’s Camel’s Hump. As an active member and treasurer for UVM’s Campus Citizens Climate Lobby, Connor is committed to environmental advocacy.

Connor is excited to join Wet Planet Whitewater, not only to explore the rivers of the Pacific Northwest but also to share his love for this uniquely challenging sport with others. His extensive experience, passion for the outdoors, and dedication to teaching make him a valuable addition to the Wet Planet team.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, River Rescue


Ryker Tomanek

Ryker joins the Wet Planet team as a kayak instructor and an overall seasoned outdoor enthusiast whose heart beats to the rhythm of rushing rivers and soaring mountains. Hailing from the picturesque southern mountain town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Ryker’s childhood was painted with the serene beauty of the Ozark Mountains and the tranquil waters of a lake that served as his backyard playground.

His journey into the world of adventure began at the age of 17 in Durango, Colorado, where he first dipped his paddle into the exhilarating currents of whitewater rafting on the Animas River. From that moment, Ryker’s passion for the water ignited, leading him to explore rivers across the country. Guiding on iconic waterways like the Colorado River in Utah, the Arkansas River in Colorado, and the Flathead River in Montana, Ryker honed his skills as an expert navigator and a trusted leader on the rapids.

But it was the legendary White Salmon River that truly captured Ryker’s spirit, drawing him like a magnet to its frothy rapids and rugged terrain. When he’s not tackling rapids, you’ll find Ryker casting his line into the serene waters, indulging in his love for fly fishing.

In the winter months, Ryker swaps his paddle for skis as he takes on the slopes of Park City, Utah, where he serves as a ski patroller amidst the renowned “Greatest Snow on Earth.” With certifications as an EMT, Wilderness First Responder, and Swift Water Rescue specialist, Ryker is not only an adept guide but also a trusted guardian of safety in the wilderness.

Now, Ryker sets his sights on a new adventure with Wet Planet, eager to explore the majestic rivers of the Columbia River Gorge and share his boundless love for nature with fellow adventurers. With his diverse skillset and unwavering enthusiasm, Ryker is ready to embark on the next chapter of his outdoor journey, inviting others to join him in the thrill of discovery and the beauty of the great outdoors.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, River Rescue

Ernesto “Toto” Silva

Joining Wet Planet in 2024, Ernesto “Toto” Silva brings a wealth of experience and a deep love for rivers to the team. With a background in adventure tourism from Pucon, Chile, Toto’s journey into guiding and kayaking began with a whitewater degree that combined both disciplines.

Having worked on rivers across the globe, including the Trankura River in Chile, the Chili and Urubamba Rivers in Peru, the Fonce River in Colombia, the Siniguis and Orinoco Rivers in Venezuela, the Balsa River in Costa Rica, the Tampaon River in Mexico, and the Lao and Passirio Rivers in Italy. In the US, he has navigated the Tuolumne, Merced, and American Rivers in California, the Arkansas River in Colorado as well as Alaska’s challenging Six Mile Creek.

Toto’s deep connection to rivers is rooted in his hometown of Pucon, a mecca for whitewater sports in Chile. With aspirations for more multi-day trips in his guide career, Toto dreams of exploring rivers like the Marañon in Peru and various waterways in Nepal.

When it comes to kayak instruction, Toto prioritizes guest experience over rapid learning, believing that fostering a love for the sport is key to continued practice and improvement. He values trust, communication, and teamwork within a successful guiding team, recognizing that skills and experience are essential components of a cohesive and effective unit.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, River Rescue

Grace Keppley

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Grace discovered her affinity for the outdoors at her family’s cabin, where she enjoyed hiking, fishing, skiing, canoeing, and biking. However, it wasn’t until she was hired as a raft guide during college that she found her true calling in whitewater. Guiding on a beginner-friendly river in Tennessee, Grace was immediately captivated by the thrill of whitewater and bought her own kayak by the end of the season.

After graduating from Appalachian State University, Grace remained in the Southeast, where she embarked on her whitewater journey. Guiding rafts on the Chattooga River in Georgia and South Carolina, and video kayaking on the Gauley River in West Virginia, Grace immersed herself in the region’s rich whitewater culture. Some of her favorite paddling experiences include navigating the Tallulah River in Georgia, the Watauga and West Fork Tuckasegee in North Carolina, and Johns Creek in Virginia.

A visit to the White Salmon area solidified Grace’s desire to live in the Pacific Northwest. For Grace, the most rewarding aspect of whitewater is the camaraderie and shared experiences among friends. As both a raft guide and kayak instructor, she finds joy in introducing others to the thrill and connection of whitewater, making each adventure on the river unforgettable for everyone involved.

Bringing her love for the outdoors and passion for whitewater to the Pacific Northwest, you will see Grace both guiding rafts and teaching kayaking for Wet Planet this summer.

Certifications: CPR and First Aid


Liam Anderson

Liam is a salt-of-the-earth Midwesterner who found his way into the river world by developing a whitewater canoe program as a 15-year-old camp counselor. That initiative and willingness to dive into something new helped him develop into a strong kayaker and raft guide. Liam began raft guiding in 2020 in Wisconsin for two seasons before moving to California’s American River and the Gauley in West Virginia. In the winter of 2022, Liam got his first taste of international guiding on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica. This incredible experience would inspire many more explorations south for the winter.

Liam’s athletic background is anchored by years of high-level competitive skiing. Even though he is currently more interested in the freedom provided by backcountry skiing and kayaking, Liam’s technique, precision, and drive to improve is evident. This has helped him take a significant leap in his whitewater ability as both a raft guide and kayaker in the last few years. As one of the great whitewater destinations on the planet, White Salmon was a logical choice for someone with his type of drive.

Our guests at Wet Planet will enjoy Liam as both a kayak instructor and a raft guide! Kayak students ranging from never-ever’s to Class IV should look forward to an instructor who can easily articulate the technique and strategy needed to be successful on the water. All the while, he will provide a fun and safe environment that will leave you itching to return for your next lesson with Wet Planet.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor and River Rescue

Marin Keefe

Marin joins the Wet Planet team as a kayak instructor and raft guide from Bridgewater, Connecticut. She’s always loved being around and on the water but didn’t discover her passion for whitewater until she became a first-year raft guide on the Yellowstone River in Montana for a summer. That season spent outdoors, enjoying the community of paddlers and the thrill of the rapids was life-changing.

Marin took up kayaking in 2020 and quickly became obsessed. Early on she’d find herself driving anywhere from two to ten hours each weekend to go and explore new rivers and that winter she was invited to spend a few months living and paddling in Futaleufu, Chile. So far the Futaleufu has been her favorite river to kayak thanks to its huge waves, beautiful turquoise water, and the tall peaks and glaciers that surround it. She spent two more winter seasons paddling the Futaleufu and surrounding Patagonian rivers. Along with the Futaleufu, Marin has guided the South Fork of the American River in Coloma, CA, has video kayaked the Gauley in West Virginia and has kayaked and rafted recreationally all over the US, most recently completing a 27-day trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

Certifications: CPR/First Aid and Wilderness First Responder

Amy Trembley

Hailing from southern Maryland, Amy’s journey into whitewater began unexpectedly during one summer while attending college in Western Maryland. On a whim, she decided to become a whitewater raft guide in Ohiopyle, PA despite never having experienced it before. Her first day on whitewater was a thrill that ignited her love for the sport. With a natural affinity for water, Amy quickly transitioned to whitewater kayaking during her downtime, honing her skills on rivers like the Lower Yough and the challenging Upper Yough – a Class IV river.

Over the next four years, Amy explored the whitewater landscapes of the East Coast, conquering iconic rivers such as the Upper Gauley in West Virginia, the Russell Fork in Kentucky, and the challenging Green Narrows in North Carolina. Now, she’s excited to bring her expertise and passion for kayaking to the West Coast and share it with our guests at Wet Planet!

Certifications: CPR/First Aid and River Rescue

Josh Wolfram

Originating from Lafayette, CA, Josh’s journey into the world of kayaking began in college when he watched a group of playboaters surf waves on the beautiful Yellowstone River. With piqued curiosity, he sought guidance from his friends, which ignited his love for whitewater and kayaking. Since then, Josh has worked on the challenging and thrilling Gallatin River in Big Sky, MT. During his most recent adventure to Chile, where he spent a month traveling and kayaking, Josh found his favorite river – the Futaleufú. The Lochsa River in Idaho and the Kootenai River in Montana are close behind.

When winter arrives, you can find Josh snowboarding at Big Sky Resort, where he has spent the past three seasons instructing. When he’s not on the water or playing in the snow, Josh spends his time camping with friends, embarking on new adventures, and playing his guitar. Stepping into 2024 and his second year as a kayak instructor at Wet Planet, Josh is eager to share his love for rivers and kayaking and witness the spark of passion ignited in others.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR, ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor and River Rescue


Steve Merrow

Steve joined the Wet Planet Team in 2022 as the Day Trip River Manager, bringing over 13 years of both domestic and international guiding experience, as well as previous experience managing high-level teams of international guides.

Steve has been a professional raft guide, safety kayaker, trip leader, and manager on rivers around the world, from Alaska to Iceland, to Chile and California. His private paddling experience is just as far-reaching; he has paddled the East, Middle Fork Kaweah and the Cherry Creek Section of the Tuolumne in California; the North Fork Payette, Lochsa, Selway, and Middle Fork Salmon in Idaho; and the Little White Salmon in Washington, just to name a few.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR and River Rescue

Todd Collins

First hooked on kayaking at a North Carolina summer camp, Todd began guiding rafts during college as a way to pursue his passion for whitewater kayaking. Says Todd, “At the time, it was the best way I knew to live by the river and kayak every day.” Upon graduating with a degree in Computer Science, Philosophy and Spanish Studies, Todd quickly turned his attention to pursuing a full-time career in the whitewater industry.

Since then, Todd has guided rafts and kayak support boated on rivers in the US from California to West Virginia and from Texas to Alaska, as well as numerous rivers in Canada, Ecuador, and Costa Rica (where he spent two years living and guiding custom kayak trips). When not working on rivers, his paddling adventures also took him to Chile, New Zealand, India, Zambia, Uganda, and Nepal. An expert-level kayaker and raft guide, he is equally at home guiding rafts on such legendary Class V rivers as the Upper Gauley and Upper Yough as he is guiding advanced kayakers on jungle rivers in Central America.

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder/CPR and River Rescue

Todd Collins boofs his kayak at Husum Falls while paddling his commute to work.

Wet Planet is very fortunate to have such an awesome group of kayak instructors leading our kayak courses. We want to give a huge shoutout and thank you to everyone who has helped make our kayak school one of the best in the West.

If you are curious about getting into kayaking or are looking to step up your kayak game and learn some new skills, then consider signing up for one of our courses! We offer everything from 2 to 3-day Beginner Kayak Courses to private pool sessions that are perfect for helping you get your roll down, to a multi-day kayak-focused trip down Idaho’s Main Salmon River. No matter what kind of kayak instruction you need, our team is here to make all of your kayak dreams come true!

Explore all of our kayak courses here.