Board of directors
MEET OUR VOLUNTEER Team
Eric has been a paddler for many years. First as a canoeist, but upon finding that kayaks are more durable for the water he likes to swim in, he took a 5 hours crash course at the Gull in 2016. He quickly got an unreliable roll and has been finding new ways to wreck his kayak ever since. For those that don’t know, after 7 roll attempts he does tend to look for a t-rescue. Parts of his sanity (and paint from various boats) pepper the continent but his new plastic love has only seen the Ottawa, Mississauga, Gull, Grand, and lock 28 on the Trent-Severn. With a knack for bringing pretty good food to our potlucks, he looks forward to being as friendly and welcoming to new members, as he has been fortunate to have experienced.
Leah fell in love with whitewater paddling when she first stepped into a kayak more than 22 years ago. Since then, her passion for the sport has only grown, taking her to exotic paddling destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile, as well as the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and countless other rivers in Canada and the USA. In 2007 Leah achieved the distinction of being the eldest participant ever to complete Esprit’s W.I.L.D. Program (Whitewater Intensive Leadership Development). Leah has been an active member of KWP for more than fifteen years, and thoroughly enjoys sharing her river knowledge and enthusiasm for paddling with others. Now retired and living with her husband, Wayne in the Madawaska Valley, Leah enjoys paddling much of the year, and also embraces gardening, hiking, and in winter, sports such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Leah continues to share her love of river running with other paddlers as a trip leader for KWP, teaching her nephews to kayak each summer, and encouraging others to try new lines to challenge themselves on the river. Always eager for the next adventure, you will find her kayaking or canoeing down local runs, paddling the gnar gnar and exploring new rivers.
Welcome Our New Board Member Susan Vogelsang (Sue), who has been paddling whitewater for more than 17 years and a member of KWP for about 15. She is guilty of having dragged numerous people into the sport including her husband and now, hopefully, her two young boys (successful so far!). While there’s no place like home, she has also paddled in several European countries as well as Mexico and Costa Rica. More often though, she’s running the chicken lines on the Ottawa or other local rivers or finding those elusive boof lines because really, who doesn’t love boofing? Having recently discovered that letting her paddle wear down to 184cm might have something to do with why it seemed to be getting more difficult to roll, you can now find Sue sporting a lovely two-toned repaired paddle along with all her other characteristically non-matching gear.
Welcome Our New Board Member Kristen Armitage. Kristen was quickly convinced that KWP is the club to be in after completing an into course at Paddler Co-op in 2019. She has been paddling non-stop ever since.
Born and raised in the Ottawa Valley, no one quite understands how it took her so long to become a paddler. Kristen is the mum of two wee paddlers, and is now also convincing her husband to test out the waters. She is easily recognized by her brightly coloured hair, decked out camper van and massive smile on the river. She is a firm believer in happy paddling days, river karma and earning experience points with every rapid and each line, regardless of how pretty it looked (or didn’t look).
You can often find Kristen on the Madawaska or the Ottawa, two of her favourite quintessentially Canadian rivers, keeping a tally of all the cool animals she sees along the way. She loves spending her free time in these beautiful places, and if you are game for it, will gladly portage back up river with you to run a rapid again!
Chris joined KWP in 2019. This is his second year on the KWP board, transitioning from membership director last year to Social Media and IT director this year. Chris designed and manages this new website.....so all the tech issues are his fault!. When not crushing code, he spends most of his time at the Minden White Water Preserve. He has paddled flat water for many years and has worked in the outdoor adventure industry off and on since 2003. In 2015 he took a job managing a little outdoor shop in Minden. They specialized in whitewater gear sales and lessons, which were done at the Minden White Water Preserve, just a paddle stroke from the store. By chance, the PanAm games happened to be held in Minden that same year and Chris instantly became obsessed with learning to paddle whitewater. He set upon teaching himself to kayak by watching endless YouTube instructionals and practicing obsessively. In 2016 he achieved his L2/I2 instructors certification and has a passion for helping others achieve their goals. When he’s not crying for his mommy while getting an unplanned, yet epic surf in left-side Horseshoe (Ottawa), Chris enjoys wilderness survival, wild edibles, hiking, X-country skiing, wild ice skating adventures and really anything to get away from this soul sucking screen! For the record, he makes the best spicy pickled wild leeks.
Growing up in northern Ontario, Wayne developed a passion for the outdoors very early in life. His love of whitewater paddling started in 2004. Since then, most holidays have involved paddling, exploring rivers in Ontario and Quebec, the Southeastern United States, Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica. In 2019 Wayne and Leah retired and moved to the Madawaska Valley to be closer to the rivers and outdoors they both love. When not paddling, you can expect to find Wayne taking photographs, hiking, foraging in the woods, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Having been quite involved with organizing kayak festivals in the past and volunteering for Whitewater Ontario, especially for River Advocacy, Wayne has decided to step up and help out on the KWP Board with Communication. If you have anything you want to share with the club in a newsletter, be it a story or photos, send it to Wayne, by email, at KWPsecretary@gmail.com.
Welcome Our New Board Member Do Yeon Lee (AKA Do) who started his whitewater journey on the Ottawa River in 2017, perfectly nailing McCoys on his first attempt, comfortably sitting on a raft guided by a professional (on his first attempt in a kayak, he went into right side Phil's). When he saw the kayakers on the Ottawa River, he knew he had to give that a try. He took a weekend course at MKC in 2020 and he was hooked. The following year, he was welcomed into the community and supported by the wonderful members of KWP. As a board member, he hopes to extend the support he received to more paddlers, keeping the club a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Do Yeon is most often seen rolling up after being flipped by Horseshoe Falls at the Minden Whitewater Preserve and rolling into campsite after midnight at OWL on Ottawa River club trips. When there's ice on the rivers, he enjoys going on diving trips, cross country skiing, and swimming the Nottawasaga River.