Team Sea Kayaker
Team Sea Kayaker is an elite group of outgoing, highly experienced paddlers whose dedication and love of the sport have elevated them to a unique position in sea kayaking. The team members have each been selected for their own personal accomplishments and for having proven their place in the community. We are proud and honored to have them as our ambassadors to the world.
Jason Self & Shay Bickley
In 2010, Jason Self and Shay Bickley, along with Chris Bensch, created Out of Sight, Out of Mind (Team OSOM) to promote the importance of stewardship of the world’s waterways and to inspire people to do simple things to make the world a better place. They rally paddlers to clean up shorelines by picking up litter for proper disposal. They have a Never Ending Cleanup Contest on Facebook and publish articles, like the one in the February 2013 issue of Seas Kayaker, about their “Trashpeditions.” They also produce videos to raise awareness of the threats posed by debris, plastic in particular, on our planet’s ecology.
When they’re not cleaning up the waterways or working day jobs—Jason’s at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe and Shay’s at REI—they can be found at events around North America including the Sweetwater Symposium in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Lumpy Waters Kayak Symposium on the Oregon coast and the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in San Francisco Bay, California.
If you follow the Sea Kayaker blog, you’ll recognize Christine Burris as one of our most prolific and compelling contributors. She and her significant other, Bob Burnett, run Rogue Wave Adventures. Were it not for Christine’s labors, you would not have read about their kayaking experiences.
Christine “gets it:” She knows what it takes to promote the sport of sea kayaking and to make the connection between Sea Kayaker and the paddling community. Christine was a competitive swimmer and a lifeguard in her earlier years, but drifted away from the water as she applied herself to her education, her career and a family. She earned a B.A. in Education, B.A. in Fine Arts, a Master’s in Curriculum Development and has taught public high school for twenty years. Even as a single mom of two boys she found the time and energy to be a Boy Scout troop leader, a Venture Crew Advisor promoting the Leave No Trace ethic and to teach middle school and high school kids survival skills including snow-cave camping, whitewater rafting, canoeing, climbing and backpacking.
She took an interest in sea kayaking when her boys were old enough to outpace her on hikes. She joined the Tacoma Mountaineers and took the Basic Sea Kayaking and Outdoor Leadership courses. She was soon leading trips and helping teach basic kayaking courses and rolling clinics. She became the Chair of the Tacoma Mountaineers Sea Kayaking Program and ran it for four years. She organized training sessions with Nigel Foster, Body Boat Blade, Derek Hutchinson, the University of Sea Kayaking, Kayak Academy, Dubside and others. She developed and taught a mentorship training course and led an annual Deception Pass tidal currents course. After many years of volunteering her time to the Mountaineers, she “turned pro” and worked as an instructor for the Kayak Academy. After two years with the academy she teamed up with Bob and Rogue Wave Adventures.
“After being given the opportunity to learn and fall in love with this sport,” says Christine, “I now have a responsibility to pay it forward. I believe in promoting great instructors and events because they provided me with the opportunities that made my experience so rich. Kayak instruction is not exactly a lucrative business, but I’m in it because of the high I get from helping others succeed.”
Mark “Tarzan” Tozer should be no stranger to the readers of our blog. He and his wife, Helen Wilson, frequently post on our site and are the co-owners of Greenlandorbust.org, an international paddling school. Teaching keeps them constantly in traveling mode.
Mark’s introduction to paddling came at the age of 15 with the Army Cadets in South Wales where he enjoyed discovering new horizons with friends. Since that time he has devoted himself to paddling and expedition leadership. Mark is a BCU Level 5 Coach (Sea), a coach trainer and assessor, and a BCU Star Award examiner. He holds degrees in sports science and physical education, as well as a PhD with an emphasis on expedition leadership.
Mark can be found at paddling events all over the world including the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium, theAnglesey Sea Kayak Symposium, the Essential Sea Kayak Festival (Wales), and trade shows like the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (Salt Lake City), Paddle Expo (Nuremberg) and the Outdoor Leisure Show (Birmingham).
He has been instrumental in establishing the UK Storm Gathering Symposium and continues to be involved with the event, which is now in its seventh year. We are proud to have Mark on board.
Like many sea kayakers, Dubside came to the sport a little later in life. His introduction to kayaking came in 1998 through the Phildelphia Canoe Club where Robin Snow taught him how to roll. That was the beginning of an abiding interest in kayaks, but as a devoted advocate of public transportation and an energy-efficient way of life, getting involved with kayaking posed a significant problem: How could he transport a kayak on busses and subways? He found the answer in Ralph Diaz’s book: the Complete Folding Kayaker. He was soon riding Phildelphia’s public transportation to and from the water with his Feathercraft K-Light packed in its carrying case.
Between 1998 and 2000, Dubside honed his rolling skills and was soon attracting attention when he attended kayaking events along the East Coast. In 2001, he was certified by the ACA as an Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor. Later that year, his direction changed dramatically when he attended the Delmarva Paddlers Retreat, a gathering devoted to Greenland-style kayaking. There he met Greg Stamer, founder and past president of Qajaq USA (the American branch of the Greenland Kayak Association) and decided to go to with him to Greenland to compete in the Greenland National Kayak competition. In his first year as a competitor, Dubside won an award in the men’s international category in rolling. He returned the next year and placed in Qajaasaarneq (rope gymnastics). In 2004 he took first place in both rolling and ropes. He continued to compete and was invited by the Greenland Kayaking Association to serve as a judge in 2010 championships. In 2011 he was a head judge, and since then he has shared that duty with seven-time national kayaking champion Maligiaq Padilla.
For the past seven years, Dubside has made a career of kayaking and promoting traditional skills. He has been featured in a number of videos and regularly teaches and lectures at kayak events all over the world. We are honored to have Dubside join our team of ambassadors.
Joe Crespi has had a lifelong involvement in paddle sports. His professional career began at the age of 15, when he worked at Travel Country Outdoors. His pursuit of outdoor interests led to training with Outward Bound and a bachelor’s degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education from Brevard College in Asheville, NC. Upon graduating in 2007, he was hired by Epic Kayaks and relocated to Charleston, SC. Over the next three years Joe rose from doing general labor to leading the company’s customer service department. While at Epic and with the encouragement of John Radel, a fellow Team Sea Kayaker member and a former general manager at Epic, Joe earned his Level 3 coastal kayak instruction certificate, rolling instructor endorsement and Level 4 surf certification. In 2010 Joe went out on his own and founded First Coast Outfitters in Jacksonville, FL.
In 2010, Joe formed the Jacksonville Kayaking Meetup Group and instituted a leadership program to train the group’s leaders. The group paddles primarily on the St. Johns River, a river known for polluted water, swift currents and absence of access. In 2011, Joe started leading Meetup groups to Exchange Club Island, an undeveloped 34-acre spoil island that has been abandoned for 60 years. Seeing the potential for ecotourism on the river and the island, Joe started hosting local cleanup outings to remove trash from the island. Joe joined the Florida Paddle Trails Association and is now a regional director. He got involved in the local politics and worked with the Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau. In October of 2011 he met with In 2010, Joe formed the Jacksonville’s Mayor, Alvin Brown. The mayor and his family are now kayakers, and he and Joe have initiated the development of 12 kayaking launch sites. Most recently, Joe created the River City Challenge, a paddling race on the St. Johns River and a festival in the heart of Jacksonville. The inaugural event took place on May 5, 2012.
We are honored to have Joe as a member of our team of ambassadors.
When Helen Wilson entered the world of sea kayaking in 2006 she focused on Greenland kayaking and set off with high ambitions. In 2008 she competed in the Greenland National Kayak Championships in Qaqortoq, Greenland and took first place in individual rolling, team rolling and harpoon throwing. She competed again in 2010 championships in Nuuk, Greenland, and earned first-place medals in individual rolling and the long-distance race.
Helen is a very active paddler, lecturer, instructor and writer and has produced a DVD on rolling. Her website, Greenlandorbust.org, showcases her many projects as well as the events that she will be attending over the course of this year.
Her endless enthusiasm and devotion to teaching are just a few of the reasons Helen has been brought onto Team Sea Kayaker. She has an engaging personality and an ability to discover new paddlers in her travels and leave them in her wake as friends. We are pleased and lucky to have her on board.
For decades John Radel has been a recognized face in the paddling community, both personally and professionally. Beginning in the mid-1980s, John began paddling competitively and rapidly earned titles as the USCA Junior Cruising National Champion and the Junior Mixed National Champion. While gaining a reputation as a top-level kayaker he also made his mark in crew and dragon boating, moving quickly from the role of student to that of instructor. John is an ACA Level 3 kayak instructor and an ACA level 2 SUP Instructor. John has worked as a sales manager for Wenonah/Current Designs and as the General Manager for Epic Kayaks.
John now works for the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission as a kayak guide and instructor. He is also serving as the race director for the Patriot Challenge, instructs private students in performance kayaking and coaches a dragon-boat team that will compete in a world championship in Hong Kong in July. John is quite open and outgoing and we look forward to having him on board. As a member of Team Sea Kayaker, John will be kayaking in the Southeast U.S. region and will be representing Sea Kayaker at the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival in Charleston, S.C., April 20-22, 2012.
Bob Burnett is our first team member. Inspired by a paddling trip in the San Juan Islands 20 years ago, Bob, then a proper Bostonian, returned to his East Coast home and founded the North Shore Paddlers Network, which at its height had 700 active members. He then moved to the Pacific Northwest, became a professional instructor and created the Puget Sound Paddlers Network, which boasted just over 400 active members.
Recently Bob founded Rogue Wave Adventures, a dynamic sea-kayak instructional and coaching operation specializing in skills for the dedicated beyond-beginner student willing to give what it takes.
As a member of Team Sea Kayaker, Bob will be attending many annual kayaking events: The Northwest Paddling Festival, Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium, Bay Area Paddlefest and the Deception Pass Dash. Please make sure to introduce yourself as a paddler and Sea Kayakerreader when you meet Bob on land or on the water at these events. He’d be happy to help you pursue your kayaking adventures!