Denise King, ever since she was a little girl, Denise wanted nothing more than to be a sea kayaker. She left home at an early age, hitchhiking to the far reaches of Chillybrook Alaska to learn the dying skills of the laughing roll from none other than Maligiaq, the famous Inuit kayak master. Her first attempts resulted in bubbles and gurgles but since the days were getting shorter, she pushed harder and garnered a respectable laughing roll under her tapsi (Inuit for belt). Maligiaq said “Go South young woman” and to her that meant Houston. So with endorsement in hand, she was automatically qualified for a trip leader position at HASK (Iniut for club with many rules).
Jim Harrington started paddling in the mid-90s shortly after moving to Houston from overseas. He has been an active member of HASK since 2003. He enjoys paddling for fitness, sightseeing and appreciates the group padding that HASK offers. Jim became a HASK Level 2 trip leader in 2014 after sucessfully completed the ACA Coastal Kayak Day trip Leading Assessment. He became a trip leader to give something back the club. His other interests include golf and cycling.
John Grisaffi developed an interest in kayaking in 1999, which increased upon joining HASK, where he says he was very warmly welcomed. John is an ACA level 3 Coastal Kayaking instructor and a level 3 trip leader. He enjoys the fact that kayaking can be both a group and solo experience at the same event—that being the nature and flexibility of the sport. He feels that the social element of HASK is very rewarding, and has allowed him to build solid friendships. John's favorite trips to lead include a lunch stop at a restaurant either during or after the event, and overnight camping trips. John is also active in the HASK training programs.
Karen Newcomb, on the day they closed the nunnery at Holy Mercy-Me Convent of Shrinking Violets, Karen (Sister You-Go Girl) was placed on the curb with a battered suitcase and a hope and prayer to seek out wayward souls to guide along the way to infinite happiness. It was then she stumbled across a battered flyer calling for HASK Trip Leaders stapled to a utility pole. Her prior experience in abstinence and discipline paved the way to become that special person. She was welcomed into the flock with warm but cautious praise. So watch your back.
Karl Brauer started paddling sea kayaks in 2005. Karl is a HASK Level 4 trip leader. He has obtained a BCU 3 Star award for personal paddling skills. He's taken the BCU 4 Star trip leader training, plus specific training for rough water and surf zone paddling. Karl does most of his paddling in the surf at the beach, including surfing his sea kayaks and specialty surf kayaks. He particularly enjoys teaching and coaching surf zone paddling skills, and is widely recognized within the club for helping members to feel comfortable and be successful paddling in the surf.
Kim Head has been kayaking for several years. He's rented lots of kayaks on the west coast, and tried surfing sit on tops in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Week long trips include Baja (Loreto marine park) in 2012 and Haida Gwai in 2013. Kim regularly paddles a 17' Valley Etain sea kayak and a 12' Tsunami with HASK. He took surf and rough water training and wilderness first aid in 2013. Kim is a HASK level 2 trip leader. He's always up for a paddle.
Paul Penning is an ACA Level 3 Coastal Kayaking Instructor and is a HASK Level 3 trip leader. Paul enjoys introducing new people to the life sport of kayaking, and says "See you on the water!"
Rob Plenderleith holds ACA Coastal Kayak Level 3 skills and Coastal Kayak Level 3 Instructor qualifications. He also holds BCU 3-Star Sea Kayak personal skills assessment and has completed part of the 4-Star trip leadership syllabus. He is a HASK Level 3 Trip Leader.
Robert Rollen began his paddling experiences as a child. His first canoe was a canvas covered frame canoe, which he painted every year to ensure its seaworthiness. Robert has been river camping and lake camping carrying everything from heavy canvas wall tents and poles to cast iron Dutch ovens. He was introduced to white water canoeing on the Ouachita River in Arkansas while a member of the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society in Shreveport, LA. He moved to Houston in 97 and paddled and fished Lake Houston. He was introduced to competitive paddling in 2003 with the advent of the Colorado 100 ultra-marathon from Bastrop to Columbus. He's successfully completed 8 marathons, one tandem and the other solo. The marathon is where he paddled his first kayak, and he's been kayaking ever since. Robert has the pleasure of being a trip leader and enjoys leading and assisting on the local lakes, rivers, bayous and of course the bays.
Robert Stark - In 1994 Robert thought it might be fun to take David Trail up on his $35 demo day. That evening Robert drove home with a brand new kayak, all the gear and a significant dent in the bank account. In 2000 Robert, along with 14 others, founded the club and through 2014 acted as Commodore. Robert was certified as an ACA Level 4 Coastal Kayak instructor in 2002 and received a BCU 4 Star paddler award in 2006. He has had sea kayak adventures in Belize, Alaska, Chile and Mexico. "I enjoy all aspects of kayaking from the beauty of Armand Bayou to more challenging conditions in bays, fiords and the ocean. "
Robin Hartman - Robin likes to camp, cycle and sail. He and his wife began paddling canoes several years ago and then entered several long distance canoe races. About a year and a half ago they began kayaking and have not looked back. Robin enjoys longer paddles and races and prefers point A to point B paddles. He started on flat water and rivers and has progressed to bumpy water and bays. Robin has paddled the entire Texas coast from Louisiana to Mexico. It is half paddling and half logistics. Robin is certified as a HASK level 2 trip leader.
Russ Williams is relatively new to sea kayaking and has always loved the water. Whether it’s in it or on it, perhaps because he was born on an island. He remembers summer camps exploring the creeks in row boats as well as renting canoes and kayaks to paddle on vacations. Now he has his own hole in the water. Let’s explore!
Steve Ulrich has been paddling for over 10 years. He started paddling after making two folding Greenland kayaks for himself and his wife. They traveled to various Greeenland-style gatherings and made lots of new friends from coast to coast including here in Houston at HASK. Steve's paddling world exploded after going to a Body, Boat, Blade 5-day Kayak Camp that was a gift from his wife. His pursuit of knowledge took him to many paddling seminars and classes in places ranging from Seattle, the San Juan Islands, San Francisco, Georgia, Florida, and Maine. Steve has been assessed as a BCU 4-star skills paddler, a BCU Level 2 instructor-in-training, and an ACA Level 3 instructor. He enjoys challenging himself in rough open water yet appreciates the quiet bayou paddles and seeing nature. His latest interests are in open water surfski paddling and racing, stand-up paddleboarding, and single-blade canoeing. If you hold a paddle and are on the water, Steve's probably interested in it.
Wendel Bordelon - Started paddling kayaks in 2009 on an 8 day expedition with Outward Bound in the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Wendel has paddler awards as an ACA Coastal Kayak Level 2 Paddler and an ACA Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leader. He's also certified in NOLS Wilderness First Aid.
Phil Salvador I did some canoeing and kayaking in the early 1980's, followed by about 30 years of other pursuits. I returned to paddling in Feb 2017, when I decided that sea kayaking looked like fun. I am currently building up my skills in paddling, instruction, trip leading and kayak camping. I reside on the lower reaches of the learning curve on all these things, but enjoy the process of improving. ACA L2 more or less describes my paddling. I am available for paddling outings most days of the week. Give me a call!
Al Stern First kayaking memory: learning to wet exit a sea kayak while on vacation in Belize, circa 2010.
Most memorable experience: My first solo wilderness expedition at age 52 in Alaska, before I really had a clue.
What I enjoy most (while in a kayak): Rolling and playing in 4 foot surf! Thank-you Rob and Karl!
Boats (as of March 2018): Valley Etain, Valley Pintail, NDK Pilgrim Expedition, Pyranha Fusion
Future plans: Learn whitewater river boating before I’m too old. (Am I too old?)
Boating mentors, in no order: Rob Plenderleith, Shawna Franklin, Seth Albanese, Colin Mihell, Karl Braur
Plans for the future: Solo expeditions through Pukaskwa provincial park, Baja peninsula Mexico, Apostle Islands (again), southeast Alaska (again), Belize (again), and hopefully Greece.
People I hope to paddle with someday: Cheri and Turner, Alec and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin
Biggest Oops: Getting stranded on Horn Island in November and having to call for a rescue due to endless bad weather and high seas
Working on: Forward finishing rolls. Aspiration: hand rolling (no paddle)
Greatest Regret: Not discovering kayaking earlier in life