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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

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 represented 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:
  • Tomales Bay, Dillon Beach, Petaluma River
Lives In: 
  • Petaluma
I enjoy all facets of SUP but downwinders 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 quickly. The real reward is watching them progress into specialized areas of the sport like racing, surfing, and downwinding.


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
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.


Name:
  • Laura Zullinger
Paddling Stats:
  • 13 Years of paddling experience
  • ACA Level 4 Sea Kayaking Instructor
  • Teaches Sea Kayaking, White Water Kayaking, Kayak Rolling, and Whitewater Canoeing
  • Longest distance 32 miles in SE Alaska
  • Longest time 14 hours during an expedition in Taiwan
  • Award: Women 1st Place Tybee Challenge 2010, Overall 1st place 2013 Call 100 Relay, 1st place ACA Collegiate Downriver Canoe
Homebase:
  • San Francisco Bay Area
Lives In: 
  • San Francisco
Laura has kayaked for over 13 years getting her paddling start in the Pacific Northwest and honing her skills in southeast Alaska, coastal Georgia, and coastal California. She’s an ACA-Certified Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor and multi-craft paddler. Laura teaches whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and kayak rolling in addition to a range of coastal kayaking skills. Currently, she lives in San Francisco and loves to explore California’s rocky coastline, playing in waves and pour-overs. In spring of 2017, she and fellow CCK instructor, Kelly Marie Henry, embarked on a 6-week adventure in Taiwan in which they paddled the East Coast of the island nation. 


S Kung

Name:
  • Sylvia Kung
Paddling Stats:
  • 5 years
  • ACA Level 1 Instructor
  • BLS/CRP Certified                             
Homebase:
  • Oakland Estuary, SF Bay
Lives In: 
  • Walnut Creek
Sylvia is passionate about fitness and paddling and enjoys teaching beginners.  She wants everyone to gain the knowledge and skills to reach their SUP goals,  modest or ambitious.  She believes that once you stand up, you’ll get hooked and want to come back and do it again! Sylvia started paddling in 2012.  She loves paddling around SF Bay and the Bay Area for fitness and sanity. She enjoys challenging herself in choppy water or downwind conditions, but her favorite paddles include brunch after. Off the water, Sylvia spends time at the gym and thinking about the next paddle or trip. She works for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA and is proud to have a part in improving the health of Kaiser members and local communities.


Name:
  • Lisa Ouellette
Paddling Stats:
  • 20 years
Homebase:
  • American River
  • Lake Natoma
  • Sacramento Area
Lives In:
  • Sacramento
Lisa has over 20 years of kayak expience. She discovered kayaking in 1997 through an introduction to camping by kayak seminar. After finding out what a sea kayak was, she set out to find the right boat for longer trips and camping and ended up building her own. Her first trip was an unsupported 10-day trip on west coast Vancouver Island with five men she'd never met. Since her first trip, she has week-long trips to the coast of Maine, Belize, Vancouver Island, and frequent shorter trips along the California Coast. She frequently plies the waters of San Francisco Bay, the northern California coast, and the Sierra Lakes and still prefers a night in a tent alongside the water to any night in a five-star hotel. Lisa mixes her culinary skills with her planning skills to keep her fellow paddlers fed on longer trips.When she isn’t kayaking, Lisa is a Structural Engineer. Lisa loves to introduce new students to kayaking and getting to places by water while sightseeing by kayak. When the water isn't freezing, she'll do a little whitewater on the side.


Name:
  • Glen Fleming
Paddling Stats:
  • 17 years
  • ACA Level 4 Instructor
Homebase:
  • San Francisco Bay
Lives In:
  • Sacramento
Glenn started working in retail for CCK in 2001. New to the sport, retail was my way to quickly climb the learning curve and meet others with the same interest. Learning the sport in retail was easy. At CCK we weren’t required to sell anything. CCK's philosophy was, educate the customer so that they can make an intelligent decision and the product will sell itself. Two things resulted from this philosophy, a well-educated staff and customers purchased products based on the information they received. After two seasons someone (Kris Krengle, Store Manager) realized my true passion, teaching. Glenn graduated from California State University at Sacramento in 1994 where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering and specialized in vehicle dynamics and machine design. As an engineer for Caltrans, Glenn has been involved in the design, analysis and hydro-acoustic monitoring of Marine Pile Driving Energy Attenuation Systems for the past twelve years. Some of his projects include the design of the Bubble Curtain for the San Francisco; Oakland Bay Bridge New East Span Replacement, the New Benicia Bridge and the three bridges that span the Humboldt Bay in Eureka California. AfterengineeringGlenn enjoys kayaking, backpacking and bicycling when he is not making widgets in his machine shop. His greatest accomplishments in kayaking, watching some of his students go on to become instructors.


Name:
  • Liy Kelsey
Paddling Stats:
  • 16 Year
  • ACA Level 4 Instructor
Homebase:
  • San Francisco Bay
Lives In:
Lily Kelsey's interest in paddling started on the lakes and rivers of Minnesota where she used to canoe, boat, and fish. A need for a high school job led her to work with kids, which eventually drew her to environmental education and teaching canoe basics and safety as well as a love of water to her students. In 2009 an opportunity to work for the National Parks Service brought her out to the San Francisco Bay Area and the Pacific Ocean and introduced her a new way of spending time on the water. She immediately fell in love with the ocean and extended 9-month position to keep in touch with the ocean. Six years later, she's still in California and has fallen in love with paddling the open coast and teaching. Lily especially loves rock gardening and surfing. In fact, her joy of rock gardening was noticed by the Neptune's Rangers paddling group and she was asked to become a member on a summer trip to Mendocino. Lily lives a slingshots distance from the Pacific. When she is not teaching or paddling, she enjoys hanging out with her Miniature Dachshund named Weenie on the beaches down the road from their home.

Name:
  • Tyler Helmann
Paddling Stats:
  • N/A
Homebase:
  • San Francisco Bay Area
Lives In:
  •  
Originally from the Finger Lakes, Tyler’s introduction to kayaking came with a winter pool paddling (mostly kayak polo) class with Cornell Outdoor Education. Before long, he was helping lead kayaking and camping classes throughout the Finger Lakes, Adirondacks, and 1000 Islands. Since moving to the Bay area for graduate studies, Tyler has been thrilled to take skills learned on relatively tranquil lakes and apply them to the often-challenging and dynamic coastal environment. He immediately became captivated by rock gardening and kayak surfing! Tyler currently teaches a variety of beginner sea kayaking classes for CCK, and loves helping newcomers to the sport feel more comfortable on the water.

Name:
  • Ernie Martin
Paddling Stats:
  • ACA Level 4 Instructor
  • Wilderness First Aid
Homebase:
  • San Francisco Bay
Lives In:
  • Oakland
Ernie is a San Francisco Bay Area native whose first and fondest memories are as a small child growing up on his father's boat. He has been active in water sports his entire life ranging from water skiing and wakeboarding to surfing and whitewater rafting. His favorite types of paddling include long boat surfing, playing in tide races, and transitioning through complex surf zones. He has paddled along many stretches of the West Coast from Oregon to as far south as Mexico.