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Our Guides

Meet the friendly guides that are part of Kayak Chicago’s staff.

paddling experience: Sea kayaking on most of the Great Lakes, and on both the east and west coasts. Paddled on whitewater rivers in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennesse certifications: ACA coastal sea kayaking instructor level 3, and ACA SUP instructor level 2, CPR/First Aid favorite place to paddle: Apostle Islands on Lake Superior favorite piece of gear: My new Kokatat drysuit favorite thing to do other than paddling: Spend time with my wife and two kids and cycling […]

Nickname: Mountain Mike Paddling Experience: I grew up in Boy Scouts and at my families lake cottage where I both learned to kayak and canoe on a recreation basis. The last 4 years I have worked for Kayak Chicago where I have excelled in my paddling skills and continue to grow every time I get in my boat. Since working at Kayak Chicago I have gone on 3 longer kayaking expeditions, 1 in Maine and 2 in Voyagers National Park, […]

Kayak Guide

Nickname: Oscar the Grouch Paddling experience: Started paddling in the Poconos, but fell in love with Lake Michigan Certifications: ACA Coastal Sea Kayaking Instructor, L1 Favorite place to paddle: Gulf of Mexico near Campeche, Mexico Favorite piece of gear: KAVU Orange hat Favorite thing to do other than paddling: Boulder Favorite place on earth: San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Paddling Bucket List: Kayak in Patagonia Favorite quote: “the heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit” (Joyce, Ulysses)

Certifications: ACA Sea Kayaking Instructor L2, NOLS Wilderness First Responder, CPR Favorite place to paddle: Lake Michigan on normal days while the Apostle Islands has been my favorite paddling destination so far. Favorite piece of gear: My Cyprus paddle keeps me going strong all day. Favorite thing to do other than paddling: Playing outside! Camping, hiking, climbing, surfing, biking, skating, etc. Favorite place on earth: Yellowstone National Park is one of my favorite places on earth – the landscapes, natural […]

Nickname: Corporate Experience: Been a guide for Kayak Chicago going on 4 years now paddling the raging Chicago river. Spent most of my summers growing up paddling the coastal waters of San Diego, and while by no means an expert (or even very good) have taken up whitewater kayaking as the latest paddling sport. Certifications: Masters in Computer Science, CPR Favorite place to paddle: Chicago River and Voyageurs National Park Favorite piece of gear: Astral Green Jacket, Werner Ikelos paddle, Eddyline […]

“Mister Underhill” 15 years river kayaking 4 years sea kayaking Graduate The Second City, iO Theater Performance Programs Favorite place to paddle:  Montrose Beach Favorite gear:  Bending Branch Paddle (yellow) Favorite other things:  writing/performing live shows Favorite place:  Clam Beach, California. Favorite quote: I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down. —Abraham Lincoln

Nickname: Newsfeed Paddling Experience: Beginner to intermediate kayaker for the past 7 years. Certifications: ACA Sea Kayaking Instructor L1 Favorite place to paddle: Voyageurs National Park Favorite piece of gear: My buff! I sometimes forget to reapply sunscreen and this has saved me over and over again. Favorite things to do other than paddling: Backpacking or road tripping, but will never turn down an opportunity to go fishing. Favorite place on earth: The Sierra Nevada mountain range in California or […]

Kayak Guide

Nickname: Stache Paddling experience: Grew up with Kayaking and Canoeing Certifications: N/A Favorite place to paddle: Boundary Waters Favorite piece of gear: Astral Ronny PFD Favorite thing to do other than paddling: Backpacking Favorite place on earth: Northwoods Minnesota Paddling Bucket List: Kayak with Orcas Favorite quote: Let all that you do be done with Love–1Cor16:14

Kayak Guide

Paddling Experience: skill level would be between beginner and intermediate. This will be my 4th season with Kayak Chicago Certifications: ACA Sea Kayaking Instructor L1 Favorite place to paddle: Le Seine in Paris France Favorite piece of gear: My vest Favorite thing to do other than paddle: Run Favorite place on Earth: Bordeaux France Favorite Quote: It is better to be crazy and know it, than sane and doubt it.

Tommy Montgomery is a current student studying Acting at Syracuse University and is native to Chicagoland. He has many years of recreational paddling experience and is excited to join the Kayak Chicago team! Elsewhere from the River and Lake Michigan, he loves to paddle in the calm waters of the Skokie Lagoons. Other than paddling, he spends his time biking, making theatre and film, and playing his saxophone. Favorite piece of gear: LIFE JACKET cuz it’s IMPORTANT! Favorite quote: “Life […]

Nickname: Kretsch Paddling Experience: 15 years on whitewater & flat water Certifications- Certified Athletic Trainer, CPR Favorite Place to Paddle: Whitewater: Peshtigo & Red Rivers in Wisconsin Flat Water: Myakka State Park in Sarasota, FL Favorite Piece of Gear- My Drysuit. I can paddle almost all year because of it. Favorite Thing to Do Besides Paddling: Play 16” softball. I play 4 nights a week plus tournaments all spring, summer, and fall. Favorite Place on Earth: Siesta Key Beach with […]

Paddling for 3 years ish Favorite place to paddle is mangrove areas in Florida Favorite thing to do besides paddling is exploring national parks, concerts, and trying new breweries Favorite place on earth is Crater Lake, OR and Umpqua valley hot springs in Crater Lake N.P. Favorite quote: Yeah, well. you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.  – Big Lebowksi

Favorite place to paddle is in Northern Idaho and Montana on the St. Joe River or the Flathead River. My favorite piece of gear is either my watershed drybag or my chacos. Other than paddling, my favorite thing to do is ski or play with my dog, Brisi. My favorite place on Earth is Glacier National Park or Hells Canyon on the Snake River. Favorite Quote: “And to the forest, I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” […]