While there are few people who can actually pronounce Jacomijn Klinkenberg’s name correctly, Jaco (pronounced Yako) holds claim to being the inventor of the name Wet Planet Rafting and Kayaking. A native of the Netherlands, this Dutch paddler’s route to becoming co-owner of Wet Planet has its beginnings in the European Alps.
Born and raised in Holland, Jaco spent much of her childhood in the outdoors. Jaco’s parents were avid mountaineers, and regularly traveled to neighboring countries to spend time in the mountains. Traveling to the Swiss and French Alps, Jaco would climb the mountains in the summers that she would ski in the winter. As with most of the Dutch, her family are also avid travelers, allowing her to visit most of the countries and major cities in Europe. An accomplished skier and climber, Jaco first encountered whitewater paddling on a trip to the United States. On this trip she took her first kayak instruction at the New England Outdoor Center, and knew that she loved the feel of moving water in her kayak.
In Holland, Jaco spent 10 years in the advertising industry before beginning her career in outdoor recreation. Working for several of the world’s top international advertising agencies, Jaco worked with international clients such as American Express, Texaco, Philip Morris, and Canon. This experience and training is evident in the professionalism, organization, and vision that Jaco brings to Wet Planet.
Jaco first met Todd Collins on a 12-day whitewater trip in Utah. At the time, Todd was already working with ideas for creating a new whitewater company. The two shared similar visions of what this company could be, and Jaco’s marketing background and professional work experience provided pieces that made the vision a realistic possibility. It was on this trip that Jaco decided to leave her life in Amsterdam to pursue her passion for outdoor adventure and travel. Says Jaco, “I wanted a job where I could actually see the beauty of the world we live in.”
Jaco and Todd joined forces again in Costa Rica, where the two worked for the same whitewater company. For two years, Jaco worked as operations manager for the Turrialba based company providing custom whitewater and travel trips to foreigners visiting the country. She handled everything from planning logistics for multiple week trips to designing content for the web site to guiding customers on scenic trips throughout Costa Rica. During this period Todd and Jaco started to plan for the creation of a new style of whitewater company, and it was on a jungle paddling trip that Jaco first spoke the name Wet Planet.
Although Jaco is currently most visible at Wet Planet managing schedules, logistics, reservations and day-to-day operations around the Wet Planet headquarters, she is also responsible for much of the behind the scenes work with marketing and strategic planning. While she may not spend much time in the back of a Wet Planet raft, she does also bring a high level of whitewater expertise and adventure travel experience to the company. She is a certified whitewater raft and kayak instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, a certified ACA whitewater kayak instructor, a trained Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Educator. She has traveled extensively throughout Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Central America. She speaks five languages and pours a mean espresso.
Interested in becoming part of the Wet Planet team? Check out our Employment Opportunities.