Meet the Kingfisher Team
Meet the Kingfisher Team

Meet the Kingfisher Team

It is truly our kayak guides and support staff that make the company. They turn a good trip into a fantastic trip. Most of our kayak guides have been with Kingfisher for years and it is because of them that we have many guests returning year after year.

“It actually felt more like being on a trip with friends than with guides. They were of course great guides, cooks, and paddlers, but it was other things that really made the trip special.” K.A. from USA

All of our kayak guides are certified with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia. As a company we encourage and support our guides in continually improving their kayaking, interpretive and leadership skills to in turn offer you the best kayaking vacation possible.

Considering joining the Kingfisher team? Check out our employment opportunities page.

Andrew Jones

Owner and Level 3 Kayak Guide

With over 30 years of kayaking on both the east and west coasts of Canada, Andrew eagerly shares his passion for kayaking and the wilderness with our guests. As owner of Kingfisher, Andrew’s goal is to ensure all guests have a fantastic time on whichever trip they choose.

Andrew is a past president of the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia, is president of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association, chairs the Vancouver Island Tourism Advisory Committee, and is a board member of Tourism Vancouver Island.

Andrew is a Certified Level 3 Sea Kayak Guide with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of British Columbia and a Level 1 Sea Kayak Instructor and hold Level 4 Sea Kayak Skills with Paddle Canada.

Wendy Walker

Customer Communications

Wendy has been calling Vancouver Island her home for over 16 yrs. She started as a Level 2 Guide for Kingfisher in 2012. She has guided in a few places and for several different companies, including Belize and some small vessel tour operators here on Vancouver Island. Her background includes working as a certified wilderness medical training instructor and a graduate of the NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) program in Alaska.

After a brief hiatus from Kingfisher, Wendy returned in 2021 to handle the sales and customer communications, as well as dealing with organizing the ins and outs of making your kayak tour run as smoothly as possible.

Austyn Arseneault

Operations Coordinator

Austyn Arsenault

Austyn is a student at Capilano University, going into her third year of a Tourism Management Bachelors Degree with a diploma in Outdoor Recreation Management under her belt. Originally from Alberta, she grew up surrounded by the mountain, lakes, rivers and vast prairies. Yearning for adventure – she found herself here on the beautiful west coast of British Columbia.
Austyn has previous experience working in an operations position at the Broken Islands Lodge and is excited to apply and expand her knowledge along side a team of likeminded individuals! Aside from her previous experience in operations, she is also certified as an Assistant Overnight Kayak Guide.

Laurel Archer

Level 3 Kayak Guide

Kayak Guide - Laurel Archer

2023 is Laurel’s eigth season guiding with Kingfisher. She’s always super excited to head to the Broughtons, the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii to share some of her favourite BC trips! Currently living on Vancouver Island, Laurel’s paddled rivers and coasts from Central America to Asia, and the Arctic and South Pacific over the past three decades. Besides writing a thesis for her Masters degree in Education, she’s penned three guidebooks. She’s a member of the International Explorers Club and Royal Canadian Geographical Society, inducted for her work exploring and documenting historic and lesser-known waterways and promoting their conservation.

A SKGABC Level 3 Sea Kayak Guide with a Class 4 Waters Endorsement, a Guide Trainer and Examiner and a Paddle Canada Level 2 Skills Sea Kayak Instructor, Laurel also works as a river guide and teaches canoeing and kayaking for a number of adventure guide programs.

Carter Arlette

Level 3 Kayak Guide

Carter Arlette- Kayak Guide

2023 is Carter’s fourth season working with Kingfisher, and he is excited to be out on the water in the traditional territories of the Kwakwaka’wakw and Haida First Nations. A lifelong paddler, he migrated from the lakes and rivers of the Rockies to pursue his love of the ocean and coastal exploration. Since landing, he has explored much of the west side of Vancouver Island and the Central Coast.

With a focus on personal connections to wildlife, natural environments and historical spaces, Carter looks to promote our respectful and informed interaction with the peoples, lands and animals we visit on our trips.

A certified Level 3 Kayak Guide and Guide Trainer with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC, Carter also holds a degree in Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Leadership from Mount Royal University, has had a thriving career as an outdoor educator, and is a pre-service teacher at Vancouver Island University.

Kelly Uren

Level 3 Kayak Guide

2023 is Kelly’s sixth season with Kingfisher and 10th season kayak guiding. Living and playing in the mountains and ocean of BC is where she thrives. Her passion for adventure, outdoor recreation and environmental pursuits has allowed her to curate a diverse life as a guide, educator and instructor.  Conservation through education and celebration is a value Kelly oozes in her daily life. From culturally significant plants to breaching humpbacks, Kelly’s enthusiasm for the natural world is contagious and unwavering

While not paddling in British Columbia, Kelly can be found guiding in the polar regions, teaching in schools and in outdoor education, hiking along BC’s coastline or in the Rockies, snowboarding or snorkeling, organizing a mountain film festival or attending a music festival, and spending time with family and friends.

Kelly is a Level 3 guide with the Sea Kayak Alliance of BC and a certified Paddle Canada Level 1 instructor. She has a diploma in Outdoor Recreation Management, an under graduate degree in environmental studies and a Bachelor of Education in education for sustainability.

Joanne Nicolson

Level 3 Kayak Guide

Kayak Guide - Joanne Nicolson

2023 is Jo’s second season guiding with Kingfisher. 

Jo is a true barnacle, having lived on Vancouver Island all her life. Her passions include kayaking anywhere and everywhere around Vancouver Island and coastal BC, camping, hiking, teaching, cooking, and her cats. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for observing and learning about the diverse wildlife we observe on our trips. Jo teaches in an elementary school in Victoria, and coaches kayaking on her ‘days off’. She has been guiding for 14 years.

Jo is a Level 3 SKGABC guide, Level 4 Paddle Canada skills, and Level 2 Paddle Canada instructor. She is a member of SISKA (Victoria kayak club).

Jen Ray

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Jen Ray - Kayak Guide

2023 is Jen’s fifth season guiding with Kingfisher! Jen spent her childhood traveling the BC coast in a boat with her family, and has been inseparable from the ocean since.  As a salt-water and animal aficionado, her favourite part of guiding is sharing her knowledge about the natural environment and wildlife with her guests.

Jen has her diploma in Adventure Studies from Thompson River’s University and her Level 2 with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC. 

Audrey Brassel

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Guide - Audrey Brassel

Audrey was born and raised in the Southwest of France, where from an early age she loved escaping into the woods and spending hours looking at books about animals. Life has its detours, so it found her working in an office in Paris for many years, for the UN in Haiti, travelling all over the world, learning to speak Japanese, and finally one day landing in gorgeous BC. “Wow those trees are big!”, was her first thought when she made her way to Vancouver Island. Since then, she has explored some of this magnificent place on foot, and some on boat… but to her, nothing equals the beauty of the sound of a whale spout on a foggy morning in Johnstone Straight. Audrey loves sharing her passion for nature, the outdoors, living simply and, above all, good food!

Audrey is certified as a Level 2 guide Guide in BC, and recent graduate from the Canadian Outdoor Leadership Program. 2021 will be her third season working with Kingfisher.

Zachary Taylor

Level 2 Kayak Guide

2023 is Zac’s fifth season guiding with Kingfisher. 

Renée Baron

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Kayak Guide - Renee Baron

2023 is Renée’s sixth seasaon guiding with Kingfisher. Renee Baron has been working for Kingfisher since 2013. In addition to guiding, she is also a BC certified teacher with an Environmental Education Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, owner of DV8 Education (which offers nature connection opportunities), and outdoor environmental educator. She loves to travel internationally, explore wild places, and take on community building initiatives. Maintaining a solid yoga and meditation practice are essential to her daily routines as are activities such as gardening, writing and spending quality time with her family.

Brenda Blakely

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Kayak Guide - Brenda Blakely

2023 is Brenda’s third seasaon guiding with Kingfisher.

Connor Scott

Level 2 Kayak Guide

2023 is Connor’s fourth seasaon guiding with Kingfisher.

Alex Howard

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Kayak Guide - Alex Howard

2023 is Alex’s second seasaon guiding with Kingfisher.

Kelsie Maas

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Kayak Guide - Kelsie Maas

2023 is Kelsie’s seventh seasaon guiding with Kingfisher. Born and raised in Alberta, Kelsie came to British Columbia in 2010, exchanging seas of wheat for the cold, dark seas. What draws Kelsie to paddling on the British Columbian coast is the incredible life that is found here. From the depths of the oceans to the overgrown forests to the people, both past and present, life is rich and abundant. When she is not kayaking, Kelsie can be found in Kamloops, British Columbia, enjoying life in the mountains and working for the Thompson Rivers University’s Adventure Studies Program.

Kelsie is a graduate of Thompson Rivers University’s Adventure Studies Program and is a certified Level 2 guide with the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of

Level 2 Kayak Guide

Alyssa LeFort

Assistant Overnight Kayak Guide

This is Alyssa’s second season with Kingfisher, and she is enthusiastic to share and witness the majestic beauty of the coast together with our guests. Alyssa has a myriad of passions, and continues to seek ways to pursue them: Food Sovereignty led her to farms, seed banks, and community gardens; Social Justice led to volunteering in India and work with the alter-abled; Meaning and Purpose sparked a tour of intentional Communities across North America; Wonder of Nature led to guiding to Horne Lake Caves and Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures. Alyssa celebrates the care put into the Kingfisher menus, including vegetables from Andrew’s personal garden; the respect and work with the First Nations and marine stewardship; the fulfilling group adventures where actions matter; and the inevitable delight in the otters and sea stars and limpets!

Alyssa is an Assistant Overnight Guide with the Sea Kayak Guide Alliance of BC.

Lauren VanderPloeg

Assistant Overnight Kayak Guide

2023 is Lauren’s first seasaon guiding with Kingfisher.

George Smith

Assistant Overnight Kayak Guide

2023 is George’s first seasaon guiding with Kingfisher.

Britney Poovong

Base Camp Cook

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