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Instructors and Guides

California Canoe & Kayak

Instructors and Guiding Team

Education is a core value in our company. Our teaching style is interactive and action-oriented. Our curriculum is nationally recognized for teaching kayaking and SUP skills safely and effectively, for all levels. Our instructors are the best in the business. We accept no less. We provide our students a dynamic learning environment and flexible curriculum, while keeping our programs creative, original, and current.


Meet some of our Instructors and Guides

Name:
  • Kelly Marie Henry
Paddling Stats:   
  • 15 years paddling give or take
  • ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor
  • ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor
Homebase:
  • SF Bay, Half Moon Bay, Pacific Coast
Lives In: 
  • Mountain View, CA 

Kelly is a surf obsessed, rough water loving, paddling fanatic. Her positive energy and enthusiasm for kayaking encourages and inspires both elite and novice paddlers alike. As a coach, she strives to help paddlers of all levels set goals, push boundaries, and find joy on the water. Kelly works full time in the paddlesports industry and currently coaches through several outlets including California Canoe & Kayak and River & Ocean. Kelly is passionate in her pursuit to get more women on the water and offers women’s specific sea and surf kayak programs in collaboration with California Women’s Watersport Collective. She recently assumed the role of Event Director for Paddle Golden Gate, the West Coast’s premier paddlesports symposium, and is excited to bring paddlers from across the United States and abroad together to enjoy her home waters.  

In 2017, Kelly began broadening her paddling horizons and embarked on Fearless Formosa a 6-week coaching and sea kayaking adventure in Taiwan. There she shared her love of kayaking with the local community through a series of clinics and month long expedition spanning the island's eastern coast. Kelly crushed her first year in the competitive surf kayak circuit and as a result will represent the United States in the 2017 World Surf Kayak Championships. She holds the following certifications: ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor, Level 3 Surf Kayak Instructor, and a Level 2 SUP Instructor, and is trained in Wilderness First Aid.


Name:
  • Jeff Burton
Paddling Stats:   
  • 7 Years of SUP
  • ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor
Homebase:
  • omales Bay, Dillon Beach, Petaluma River
Lives In: 
  • Petaluma, CA

I enjoy all facets of SUP butdownwinders are my favorite because it combines elements from surfing, touring, racing, and whitewater and mixes them all together into the most fun you can have on the water.  We are fortunate to have great downwind conditions in the bay area, from San Francisco Bay to Tomales Bay and the Santa Cruz area. I love teaching beginners to SUP because I get the immediate gratification of seeing them progress so quicklyn The real reward is watching them progress into specialized areas of the sport like racing, surfing, anddownwinding.


Name:
  • Sou Saephan
Paddling Stats:   
  • 18 years
  • ACA Level 4 Instructor
  • Longest hour paddled = 18 hours
Homebase:
  • Oakland Estuary, SF Bay, Redwood City
Lives In:
  • Oakland, CA

I began kayaking when I started working on the dock for California Canoe & Kayak. I followed the natural progression, became an instructor in 2005, and recently became the Program Director for California Canoe & Kayak. My passion for teaching is not only with kayak education; I also worked for over 10 years with low-income elementary school students in Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco promoting healthy living, leadership, and cooperation. I teach a variety of classes at California Canoe & Kayak including Kayaking Basics, Beginning Sea Kayak, and Sea Kayaking II. Besides sea kayaking, I also dabble in whitewater, SUP, and Canoe. I believe that the best part about teaching is showing someone a new experience and activity. I have taken numerous road trips with a kayak, but my favorite place to paddle is Elkhorn Slough near Monterey Bay. My longest trip was a solo 300-mile paddle from Redding to Oakland, down the Sacramento River. My next goals are to paddle the upper Missouri and lower Colorado Rivers. I hope to continue paddling long into my years.