Here at Portland Paddle we have a wonderful team of guides, instructors, and shore staff ready to help you have an amazing time on the water! Scroll down to read more about our passionate team of paddlers!
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Suzanne fell hopelessly in love with kayaking in 1980. In 2017 she discovered stand up paddle boards and now has two favorite ways to play on the water. Suzanne has been guiding and teaching since 1996 and is a Master Maine Guide with ACA Coastal kayak Level 4 and SUP Level 2 Instructor certifications. “Helping someone master skills and gain a sense of comfort and connection with the ocean brings me tremendous joy!” she says. Suzanne has paddled the entire length of the coast of Maine three times. She says, “I really hope to paddle the whole coast again. It’s endlessly challenging and inspiring but this summer I’m going to change it up and hop in a canoe to paddle the Allagash Wilderness Waterway!”
Erin, Portland Paddle co-founder and guide, grew up exploring New Hampshire’s waterways by canoe and kayak. After recently spending five years as Membership Director for the Maine Island Trail Association, Erin is happy to be back on Casco Bay guiding trips and at home taking care of her two young boys. Learn more about Erin’s conservation work at kingfisherconservation.com. Erin is a Wilderness First Responder, a Registered Maine Guide, and an ACA-certified instructor.
Joe is a Master Maine Sea Kayak Guide, an open-water sea kayak instructor with the American Canoe Association, and a wilderness first responder. He is also a licensed clinical social worker, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer (Zambia 07-09). Joe has paddled expeditions as far away as Fiji and Zambia, has through-paddled the coast of Maine, and section-paddled from New Hampshire to Nova Scotia. Joe enjoys bringing people of all walks and strokes of life into the marine environment, and he often leads paddlers to his favorite place in the world; the Cushing Island Cliffs, a mere three miles from Portland, where guillemots nest above the wild open sea.
Eric grew up right here in Portland and first got excited about sea kayaking after a week long trip with a high school program. He is passionate about environmental sustainability and social justice, and really just wants the world to be a happy place for everyone. When not paddling on the ocean or rivers, Eric most enjoys reading, writing, mountain biking, and snowboarding. He is an ACA lvl 3 sea kayak instructor. His craziest adventure yet was 104 days paddling the Mississippi River from source to sea.
Mariah grew up with her mom on the shores of Downeast Maine. She spent most of her childhood outside climbing trees, biking, and swimming. She got her first kayak when she was six years old and has paddled around all of the lakes ponds and puddles of her home town of Franklin, Maine. Whenever she can she is adventuring in the mountains with her partner and their two dogs. One of her many favorite hikes is the Kings Ravine trail up Mount Adams. When not on mountain adventures she loves working on her art work, reading books with her two kids, Sewing, training her dogs, practicing acro with her partner, rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding.
Zack, owner and co-founder of Portland Paddle, grew up in Old Town, Maine along the shores of the Penobscot River. He’s been paddling on whitewater and the ocean since he was 11. During his 17 years as a guide, Zack has led countless kayaking and canoeing trips throughout the coast of Maine, and in Mexico, British Columbia, Ontario and Alaska. He is a master Maine Guide, an ACA Level 4 kayaking instructor and a Wilderness First Responder. When Zack isn’t running Portland Paddle, he’s a journalist, writer and teacher.
A Maine coast native, Kyle is grateful to still call it his home. Living locally to P2, he enjoys Casco Bay as a home paddling area and brings a deep knowledge base of the region to his trips. Kyle became a licensed sea kayak guide in 2012 and has since earned the Master Sea Kayak Guide classification from the state of Maine. He is also a licensed Outdoor Emergency Care technician. His aim is to create inclusive and memorable experiences on the water for tour participants. Kyle’s other interests include finding the best campsites on the Maine Island Trail for deep sleep, island perimeter trails, and high caliber camp stove cooking.
Janet bought her first sea kayak in 1993 after a few years of whitewater paddling and many years of hiking, backpacking, and long-distance bike touring, including a solo cross-country trip. The grand-daughter of a sea captain, she loves the wild beauty and challenge of the open ocean and is thrilled to be able to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for sea kayaking with paddlers of all ages and skill levels. She kayaked the entire Maine coast in 2020 and is a licensed Maine Guide and an ACA-certified Level 3 Instructor. In addition, Janet is president of the Southern Maine Sea Kayaking Network and serves as a Trustee for the Maine Island Trail Association.
Ashley is a Yoga Instructor, Environmental Educator, Entrepreneur and life-long lover of the water! She is a licensed Maine Guide and an ACA-certified SUP instructor. Ashley has been helping people connect with nature and with themselves for over a decade and looks forward to sharing her love of yoga, SUP, and Casco Bay with you! If you can’t pack in enough paddleboading this summer check out Ashley’s winter indoor paddleboard yoga classes at ashleyfloweryoga.com
ASHLEY “TALL” LEEDBERG
If Tall’s not on the water, you can find her in the mountains! Tall is a Registered Maine Guide with Sea Kayak, Recreation, and Whitewater licenses and a Level 2 ACA SUP and Kayak Instructor. Born and raised in Maine, when she’s not on the coast, you can find her on a river expedition or exploring in the North Maine Woods.
Joel is a Registered Maine Guide, ACA Essentials of Kayak Touring Instructor, and a Wilderness First Responder. Joel lives in Portland, ME and enjoys getting salty in Casco Bay and kayak camping along the Maine coast. In the winter, Joel is an avid downhill skier and has coached youth freestyle ski programs for a decade in both Maine and Colorado.
Alex has been sea kayaking since 1998 and is a Registered Maine Guide. He loves paddling Greenland technique and you’ll see him using a “skinny stick” on the water. He has kayaked in Greece, Australia, and the length of the Maine coast yet his favorite spot is right by home … Five Islands Maine … In the winter he works as a Ski Patroller in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) and is certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support. Sometimes rumored to quote Homer’s Odyssey while paddling … Alex is passionate about mountains, oceans, reading, and sharing the outdoors with friends both old and new…
Emily discovered her love for the ocean at a young age sailing throughout Casco Bay with her family. She’s been a part of Portland Paddle since 2016 and is a certified Wilderness First Responder, ACA Level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring Instructor, and Registered Maine Guide. When she is not exploring the waters she enjoys running, skiing, camping and just about anything in the great outdoors! During the year she works as an Elementary School Physical Education teacher, helping to inspire youth to do the same.
Melanie started kayaking many years ago in the shadow of pine trees in cool New England waterways. But it wasn’t until moving to a desert island off the coast of Los Angeles that she began paddling on the sea. She learned to love exploring by water while paddling around this island, camping on deserted beaches and surfing through sea caves. She became a Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide in 2018 when she spent her first summer in Maine. Melanie is also an ACA Level 2 Coastal Kayak instructor.
Brian is a licensed Maine Guide who moved to South Portland several years ago from San Diego. When he’s not paddling you can find him on the local bike and hiking trails.
Dan hails from North Carolina and got stoked on paddling after watching the 1996 Olympics (he had never seen whitewater kayaking before). His favorite places to paddle are Wilson Creek and Shackleford Banks in North Carolina. Currently Dan is an ACA Level 4 Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor, Level 2 SUP Instructor (former L4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor and L5 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor), and Maine Sea Kayak Guide. Dan sea kayaked the length of the east coast of the United States in 2009 with his wife and in 2018 was the first person to SUP the coast of Maine. He also really enjoys surfing and canoeing as much as possible.
Ash became a Maine sea-kayaking guide – trading the land for the sea – after 10+ years of backcountry guiding in Utah, New Hampshire and Vermont while working in the Wilderness Therapy industry. When not at Portland Paddle, she is found surfing, exploring Maine’s wild terrain, or working as a therapist.
Caitlin is a Registered Maine Guide and ACA certified Stand Up Paddleboard instructor. She loves to explore Casco Bay and other surrounding areas while meeting beginner and experienced SUP and kayakers from all over on the tours. In her downtime, Caitlin also enjoys skiing, hiking, and hanging out with her dogs.
A resident on Peaks Island, Peter enjoys great access to paddling along the Maine Coast. A registered Maine Recreation and Sea Kayak guide, he is on the water most days – guiding for Portland Paddle, or on his paddleboard or kayak with other Peaks paddlers. Peter is an ACA Level 2 Coastal sea kayak instructor, an ACA Stand up Paddleboard instructor, and a Wilderness First Responder. In the winter he works as a ski instructor.
Sarah is paddleboard instructor, licensed Maine Sea Kayak Guide, Yoga teacher and Yoga practitioner of 20 years. She started off canoeing at age 6 and picked up other water sports in her adult years, including paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfing. She is Wilderness First Responder, an E-RYT 500 through Yoga Alliance, and an ASI Level 1 SUP Instructor. When not on the water, Sarah is a horticultural technician specializing in corporate indoor plant installations.
Noah is a Portland native and has been kayaking since he was in high school. He is a Registered Maine Guide and has his Wilderness First Aid Certification. His favorite places to paddle are Cow Island and Long Island right here in Casco Bay. Noah loves learning new skills and doing Greenland rolls in his kayak. When he is not sea kayaking, you can find Noah running, biking, or surfing.
Whitney is a native of southern Maine, who grew up in the woods, out on the lake and exploring the coast. In the past decade she has explored an eclectic range of new activities: starting with yoga teacher trainings, becoming a wilderness first responder, paddling a large portion of the allagash wilderness water way, the then moving out west to teach primitive skills and facilitate therapy to adolescents in the Utah desert. Now as a Registered Maine sea kayak Guide living back in Maine, Whitney is stoked to share her passion for having a blast outdoors with as many people as possible!
Sam is a Wilderness First Responder, registered Maine sea kayak guide & pursuing her ACA level 2 Instructor Certification. She fell in love with sea kayaking after her many paddles on the Great Bay in New Hampshire. Sharing her passion for the outdoors is what brought her into the outdoor industry. When she is not paddling or working for Portland Paddle, she is off hiking in the White Mountains, backcountry skiing or road biking the coast.
elliot is a Sea Kayak Specialized Maine Guide, Wilderness First Responder, and in pursuit of their ACA Level 3 Instructor certification. They find purpose and joy connecting people to kayaking and how we attune to ourselves and our communities through learning. When not on the water, elliot is seeking wonder and connection, in pursuit of justice, and/ or making art; sometimes simultaneously.
Sam is a Maine Recreation and Sea Kayak Guide. In the past Sam has worked as an environmental educator in New York, backpacking guide in Utah, and a river guide in Montana. Work in Maine includes managing a trail crew on the Appalachian Trail, L.L. Bean, trail work for local Land Trusts, and shucking fresh Maine oysters. He currently works for the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center on the Damariscotta River. He is the Outreach Coordinator with a major focus on K-12 programming connecting people of all ages to the ocean. When he is not leading people in the woods or waters he is traveling, skiing, hiking, biking, camping, and really just spending more time outdoors with friends!
Finn is a Maine Sea Kayak Guide, artist, musician, and general outdoors enthusiast. He was born and raised in the 207, and can be found on mountains, chair lifts, trails and coastal waters all across the state. He has a love for seals and sturgeon. Originally from Portland, he finds particular enjoyment in showing folks the beauty of Casco Bay that can be found offshore.
Scott is a Master Maine Guide and is certified by the ACA as a Level 3 SUP instructor. Scott has been passionate about watersports his entire life. He loves sharing his enthusiasm with Portland Paddle customers, and he particularly enjoys seeing them develop confidence and have fun as they push their limits and discover the wonders of Casco Bay. Among his favorite paddling adventures are his circumnavigation of Manhatten Island in New York and his experience SUP-surfing head-high waves in Costa Rica. When not working at Portland Paddle, he can be found surfing at Higgins Beach.
Henry is a licensed Maine sea kayak guide and artist from Wyoming. He started out as guide after he graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick. During his first year as a guide he led trips on Frenchman Bay and Blue Hill Bay based out of Mount Desert Island. In 2016 he moved to Southern Maine to join Portland Paddle.
Abby first came to Maine in 2011 on the final leg of her thru-hike of the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail, and she hasn’t left (for too long) ever since. In addition to her wilderness guiding and backcountry guest service experience, she worked for many years in the environmental policy field. Abby recently returned from a thru-hike of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. She is a Wilderness First Responder and AIARE Level 1 ski guide.
A lifelong Mainer, Maddy grew up in Cumberland, spending her summers canoeing in Rangeley. She soon discovered her passion for kayaking, spending week-long canoeing and kayaking trips in Michican, Utah, and Vermont. She has been working for Portland Paddle since 2017 and is a Registered Maine Guide, a 200 hr Yoga Instructor, a Certified SUP Yoga Instructor, and a Wilderness First Responder. Her favorite after work activity is taking her dog Moby on the SUP.
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