PAKS Instructors

Port Austin Kayak Symposium 2018 Coaches and Instructors

Rowland Woollven

Rowland Woollven
British Canoe Union Level 5 Sea Kayak CoachRowland Woollven started kayaking whilst at school and progressed through the disciplines of down river touring and racing, canoe polo, slalom, sprint, marathon and long-distance racing before settling on sea and surf kayaking as his main interests. Rowland has worked on a large number of kayaking symposiums in the UK and USA, both as an on-water coach and as a principal speaker and lecturer. His main area of interest for sea expeditions is South East Alaska and the west coast of British Columbia, where he has led several major trips, including a 6 week circumnavigation of the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1998. Other expeditions in the past have taken him to Norway and France. Closer to home, in 2008 he paddled three-quarters of the mainland British coast. He finished the circumnavigation in 2012 – having taken rather longer than planned! Rowland lives near Oban on the west coast of Scotland and will be the guest coach at Port Austin Kayak Symposium for the 2nd time.  We are very excited to have him and his smile return.
 
 Bonnie Perry
Bonnie Perry 
BCU 5 Star Leader on the Sea
UKCC Level 3 Sea Coach
BCU 3 Star Assessor
ACA Level 4 Instructor Trainer
Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor
Wilderness First Responder

Bonnie Perry is a sea kayaker based in Chicago who paddles, coaches, teaches and explores all over the world.  Nothing makes Bonnie happier than coaching and paddling with people in ALL sorts of conditions. She has had the opportunity to paddle and teach in the Midwest, Maine, Canada, Baja, Scotland, England, Wales and New Zealand. 
Like her on Facebook at Bonnie Perry Paddling.

 

David Johnston

Photo: Alec Bloyd-Peshkin

David Johnston
Paddle Canada Level-2 Instructor Trainer
Paddle Canada Level-3 Instructor
Paddle Canada Level-4 Skills

The best part about teaching kayaking is working with people and help them discover new or better ways to do something.  For me, I think that one of the most important things about teaching kayaking is to make sure that everybody is having fun. Nobody signs up for a lesson hoping it will be scary and serious; so if it is then you are doing something wrong. Besides, everybody (including me) is on vacation from work so it better be fun or what’s the point?I’ve been introducing people to the world of kayaking for 17 years. I’m also involved with volunteering for Paddle Canada where I’ve been the chair of the Sea Kayak Program Development Committee for the past 7. The committee is responsible for the development, maintenance of the sea kayak instruction syllabus. It’s a pretty nerdy group of instructors who are in the group.I teach for four different paddling schools in Ontario jumping and usually covering their advanced skills or instructor courses. I teach for Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre (Toronto) on Lake Ontario, Ontario Sea Kayak Centre (Parry Sound) on Georgian Bay, White Squall Paddling Centre (Parry Sound) on Georgian Bay and finally, Naturally Superior Adventures (Wawa) on Lake Superior. Lake Superior always has a special place in my heart for paddling and doing trips. When I’m not there I’m mainly paddling on either Lake Ontario (Toronto area) or Georgian Bay. My favorite conditions to paddle in are rough water and surf.

When I was 15 my father gave me this advice, “Make sure you always take risks and not be afraid of failure. The best learning is often found in failure because until you fail, you will never look for a better way to do something. The important thing is to step back, figure out what went wrong and determine how to do it better so you don’t repeat the mistake. If you do then keep working on it.”  Being a typical teenager at the time, I rolled my eyes but I’ve thought about it a million times since and learned the value of that piece of advice.


 

Ray Boucher

Ray Boucher

I work and play on Lake Superior near Wawa, ON. I am a Paddle Canada Level 3 Instructor and Level 1 Instructor Trainer, as well as an ACA Level 4 Coach. I offer beginner to advanced sea kayak instruction in Paddle Canada and ACA systems.I especially love rough water paddling. I also do a lot of other outdoor stuff that you might see here: running, adventure racing, mountain and road cycling, cross country skiing. I’m based in Wawa, Ontario, and travel all over the place to paddle and instruct.Find Me At:  Stingray Paddlesports

Patti Boucher

Patti Boucher
Paddle Canada Level 3 Instructors from Lake Superior
Patti would love to work in the Kids Program this year!

 John Tatro

John Tatro

ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor
BCU 4 Star Paddler
John’s enthusiasm for kayaking is just another facet of his love of the outdoors.  A native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, John grew up surrounded by water and took to it at an early age.  He started with multi-day & whitewater canoe trips, and raced in both solo and tandem events. John also enjoys backpacking, and has hiked Isle Royale, parts of the Appalachian trail, and the North Country Trail. When on quiet back country rivers he can be found fly fishing and relaxing around a campsite.  John is a self-diagnosed paddling addict and gear hound, and his love of the outdoors and kayaking is contagious.  John especially enjoys paddling in open water and surf.

 
 Lyn Stone
Lyn Stone
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor with Rolling and Adaptive Endorsement
UKCC Level 2 BC Coach
ACA Level 2 Essentials of Canoe Touring – Solo and Tandem Instructor
ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor
Lyn Stone has been a camp counselor, gym teacher, map maker, triathlete, project manager, paddlesports coach,and outdoor school instructor! She is amazed by how such a zig-zag path can land you in the right spot. Her coaching philosophy has been influenced by the many great coaches and instructors with whom she have worked and trained. She strives to find each person’s starting point and help them move on their own path with a focus on building confidence for their own journeys. The skills she has gained as an American Canoe Association and British Canoe Certified Kayak, Canoe and SUP Coach she also apply to the variety of outdoor school programs that she leads and assists.

 Lynn Dominguez

Lynn Dominguez

ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor
ACA Level 2 Essentials of Canoe Touring – Solo and Tandem – Instructor Trainer
ACA Level 3 Freestyle Canoeing – Solo – Instructor
ACA Level 1 Introduction to SUP Instructor

Lynn Dominguez is an Associate Professor in the Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Department at Central Michigan University and the chairperson of the West Michigan Coastal Kayak Symposium.  She is a strong advocate for “Leave No Trace” recreational use of our rivers.  Lynn is certified to instruct kayak, canoe and SUP has been instructing at the Port Austin Kayak Symposium since 2010.

 

Louise Flory

Photo: Lenore Sobota

Louise Flory
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor, with Adaptive Paddling Endorsement
Louise is busy satisfying a great wanderlust to explore the wild regions of our Great Lakes and Salt Seas.  Her heart’s home is along the rocky shores of Lake Superior: surfing, rock gardening, and living out of her kayak. As a Southeast Michigan Sea Kayak Teacher and Guide for Riverside Kayak Connection, she takes our people out of the City to explore waters of our local shipping corridors: from Blue Sky Bridge down to Lake Erie.  Louise teaches Euro and Greenland Traditional paddling/rolling/touring, in rough or calm water, at Regional Sea Kayak Symposiums: Port Austin, West Michigan Coastal Sea Kayak, Qajaq Training Camp, Great Lakes Sea Kayak, Ladies of the Lake, and Door County, Wisconsin.  In the Winter Louise coaches Kayak Pool Sessions for Eastern Michigan University Paddlers, and leads hearty groups of Winter Kayakers on Lake Erie.  Her special niche is adapting the sport for a wide range of people’s ages and abilities; giving them a new feeling of confidence, joy and freedom.

 
Maggie Byrne
Maggie Byrne
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor
Maggie calls the 46 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in Indiana her home.   In 2010 she earned her first instructor certification, and she has been planning, organizing, and teaching kayaking classes under the auspices of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association ever since.  Maggie loves coaching, and it is her goal in life to take advantage of every opportunity to become a better coach, and to always be learning more about sea kayaking. When it is absolutely necessary, she manages a grant program for the Lake Michigan Coastal Program of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, where she actually has a tiny measure of influence over the quality of the water that enters Lake Michigan.  Maggie is an aperient UKCC Coach Level 2.

 

Kathy Spitler Herd

Kathy Spitler Herd
ACA Level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring Instructor, with Rolling Endorsement
BCU 3 Star Paddler

I grew up around water and have always enjoyed water sports. I can’t remember the first time I kayaked, but I would rent a kayak whenever I was around water on vacation. In 2004 I spent 3 weeks in Alaska and went on an amazing kayak day trip. I had been wanting to buy a kayak, but didn’t know anyone who would paddle with me. After Alaska I came home and immediately started looking for my first kayak. I found the perfect used kayak, joined an online group and never looked back. Now most of my friends are kayakers and I have had amazing experiences that I never dreamed of having.I have really great friends who have shown me the ropes of back country kayak tripping. I’ve learned to love camping, as it allows me to unplug and be away from everything and really get up close to nature. Once I met my husband, Thorsten, a white water kayaker, I couldn’t wait to show him all the amazing things he could do in a longer kayak. In turn he introduced me to white water, which just made me a stronger paddler.
I prefer to paddle with a greenland stick and have actually built a skin on frame kayak, although I rarely paddle it. Although it is pretty cool, it was meant to just be a rolling kayak, and for that I made it too big. However,  I enjoy the traditional element of kayaking and the philosophy of mentoring others. Thorsten also comes from a mentoring mentality in the white water kayaking world, so it was a natural progression for us to become kayak instructors. After attending symposiums and becoming a BCU 3 Star paddler I started working on becoming a kayak instructor.  I am an ACA Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor with a Rolling endorsement. Along with Thorsten I teach rolling and other classes for RKC and teach at various symposiums around Michigan.


 

Thorsten Herd

Thorsten Herd
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor, with Rolling Endorsement
BCU 3 Star Paddler
I started white water kayaking in 2007 with a local Ann Arbor club. They had a very strong tradition of sharing their knowledge and teaching new kayakers and I quickly fell in love with the sport. More than just running the river I specifically enjoy stopping to surf and play in fun spots along the river.In 2010 I met my future wife Kathy who is a sea kayaker and she shared her love of sea kayaking, tripping out of a kayak and introduced me to surfing in long boats. We shared with each other our own disciplines and started taking classes and attended symposiums to become stronger kayakers.I have always enjoyed sharing my knowledge of kayaking and teaching others to learn to roll. That is how the white water community works. So it was just a natural progression to go down the path of becoming a kayak instructor. I have a BCU 3 Star award and am currently an ACA Level 3 Sea Kayak instructor with a rolling endorsement. Along with my wife I teach rolling and other various classes for Riverside Kayak Connection. We also enjoy sharing our love of kayaking and teaching at various kayak symposiums around Michigan.

 

Robert Hogan

Robert Hogan
ACA-Certified Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor
Robert started paddling in 2003 on the Rhode Island coast, where he spent the next twelve years learning to love the variety of conditions the tides, surf, and rock gardens the area has to offer. He became the rough water and surf paddling addict he is today, thanks to support and mentoring from the excellent paddling club there (not to mention their tolerance and occasionally necessary “rescue practice”).For Robert, coaching is a great next step from the informal mutual assistance that that club culture fostered. Not only in terms of giving back, but because being able to make an observation that helps someone progress, also keeps him on my toes with his own technique.Now based out of Michigan, Robert’s  learned the ways of the Great Lakes and has pretty much stopped obsessing over tide tables.

Eric Slough

Denison Falls taken by: Lee Brothers.

Eric Slough
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor

Eric Slough is a Level 3 American Canoe Association (ACA) Coastal Kayak Instructor. Eric has paddled the great lakes for more than 20 years and is the coordinator/host for the South Bass Island Kayak Rendezvous, one of the premier kayaking weekends on Lake Erie. At the state level, Eric is the secretary for the ACA Ohio State board of directors and holds a board position with the Toledo River Gang paddling club. He is a volunteer instructor at symposia, the club level and for the Toledo Area Metroparks.  If asked about his favorite paddling destination his response would be anywhere on Lake Superior, especially long-distance touring trips. He’s most proud of his expedition to the little visited Michipicoten Island along the remote short of Pukaskwa, Ontario Canada.


Rob Blumer

Rob Blumer
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor
BCU 3 star paddler
About seven years ago, after many years of canoeing on our own, my wife and I became addicted to sea kayaking.  I love exploring the variety of places and moods of kayaking waters—calm to lumpy, fresh or salt, day trips or camping, in all four kayaking seasons.  I’ve enjoyed getting involved with the kayaking community, learning from so many great paddlers, and sharing what I’ve learned.

Chris Delridge

Chris Delridge
ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor
Chris Delridge finished a career in municipal and park maintenance management to pursue his passion in outdoors sports …specifically cycling, canoe guiding, dog sledding, snow shoeing, and most of all, kayaking.
Chris has been an instructor in outdoor sports for more than thirty years and has been instructing at the Port Austin Kayak Symposium since its inception in 2010.  Chris recently relocated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is guiding kayak tours in Sault Ste. Marie.

Pam Palmentera

Pam Palmentera

ACA Level 2 Instructor; BCU Three Star in Sea Kayak, Whitewater and Canoe.  Did BCU 4 star (leader) training and FSRT

My two favorite places have been in Maine and Scotland and my favorite paddling conditions are lumpy and bumpy.

Teaching kayaking should be FUN – we do this for recreation and I prefer to mitigate risk so that I can do it again!  Kayaking is an activity that feeds the mind, body and spirit.  I’m constantly learning and meeting wonderful people.


 

Mike Bielski

Mike Bielski
Assistant Rolling Instructor
Mike Bielski’s kayaking career grew from an interest in the history and culture of kayaking in Greenland.  His first kayak was a self-built skin-on-frame, and his first kayaking skill was Kinguffik paarlallugu, the standard Greenland roll.  Since then he has also picked up whitewater kayaking and spends as much time in his whitewater kayak with a double-bladed paddle as in a sea kayak with a Greenland paddle.  This experience with a variety of equipment and techniques is very helpful when teaching his favorite skill, beginning rolling, to anyone with any gear.Mike teaches with his home club, the Toledo River Gang, and is also a mentor at Qajaq TC in Frankfort, Michigan, where he is now one of the event’s organizers and manages the event web site.  In addition to teaching rolling and strokes skills, he has taught harpoon throwing and done a number of workshops and demonstrations on making gear, from teaming up with Fred Randall to build a kayak in a single weekend, to custom traditional mittens and other gear. Having worked as a professional cabinetmaker, Mike enjoys making and fixing a wide range of things, not just kayaks and kayaking gear.  His “how-to” articles have been published Fine Woodworking, Wooden Boat, and The Masik.
 
 Chuck Smith
Chuck Smith
Assistant Rolling Instructor, and Aluu Paddles Paddle Builder
Chuck has been a water rat his entire life.  Kayaking, canoeing, SCUBA diving, sailing, power boating, and Windsurfing are a small sampling of how he likes to play on or in the water.  Chuck bought his first kayak in 1999, second kayak in 2001, and built his first Greenland style kayak and paddle in 2004.  He’s paddled all of the Great Lakes in varying conditions, helped over 100 people build kayaks, and started a paddle making company.  He’s been a regular at Greenland events and has been mentoring since about 2005.It’s fun for Chuck to help others develop the judgement and skills needed to get out and enjoy paddling, especially paddling bigger waters.