Meet The Staff

As sailors, kayakers, paddle boarders and outdoor enthusiasts, the stellar staff at Ballard Kayak has been helping locals and tourists alike create lasting memories since 2013. In 2015, Blaine purchased the small business from the original owners, John and Becca, after they decided to sail the world. 


Ballard Kayak’s mission is to provide Seattle and its visitors a means to experience the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest while prioritizing safety and having a darn good time. We emphasize environmental protection and education by teaching customers about the local ecology and offering simple ways to positively impact the shoreline and waterways, like picking up trash and minimizing harmful runoff. 


We offer the highest quality tours with our attention to detail, the highest rated customer service, a creative approach to building our products and a truly rockstar staff. Ballard Kayak wouldn't have as many five-star reviews as we do if it wasn't for our rockstar staff. Here are the people behind the PFDs and sunglasses, ensuring that your experience is more than simply satisfactory. Check out who your team is for our 2021 season below!


Blaine: Owner

Growing up nowhere near open water, Blaine eventually started moving closer and closer until he abruptly found himself in what he would call a big city. Before moving to Seattle in 2015, he accepted a management position at Ballard Kayak and Paddleboard, shortly before John and Becca (the previous owners) decided to sail around the world. Blaine then purchased the business and is now stuck in paradise for the foreseeable future.  You can almost always find him lingering around somewhere nearby, brandishing Ballard Kayak's strict dress code of outdoor casual.

Jay: Manager & Kayak Guide

A true Jill of all trades, Jay is a Pacific Northwest native who will always call this area home despite the random six years she spent in New Jersey and her seemingly insatiable travel bug itch. Although this is her sixth summer with Ballard Kayak, she had only been on a kayak three times before getting the job (which just goes to show, it's not always about experience). Whether she's on the phone, answering emails, breaking out spontaneously into song and dance, or on the water with you, there's a reason she keeps returning to Ballard Kayak every year.

Sam: Kayak Guide

Sam originally hails from sunny old England. After finding his way to Seattle, he worked summers at Ballard Kayak beginning in 2014 and quickly developed a love of paddling on the Puget Sound, which eventually led to him graduating to a full-time guiding position. When he's not paddling, Sam can be found scrambling up a rock climb or riding bikes in the woods. His favorite animal in the Salish Sea is the humble Egg Yolk Jellyfish. 

Kyle: Kayak Class Instructor

Kyle Thomas is originally from landlocked Indiana but eventually found his way to the water, moving to Seattle in 2017.  Previously, he lived in paddling cities like Charleston, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina.  He has been instructing sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking since 2009.  Kyle has helped to develop a student-centered kayak curriculum here at Ballard Kayak & Paddleboard.  He is certified as an ACA Level 5: Advanced Whitewater Kayaking Instructor (the only in Washington state) and ACA Level 3: Coastal Kayaking Instructor.  He enjoys kayaking in as many locations as he can travel to, leading him to have paddled in seven different countries including Canada, Mexico, Scotland, Chile, Peru, and Switzerland.  In addition, he is a certified Wilderness First Responder and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.  His background in CrossFit and experience with kayak racing trained him to have knowledge about the biomechanics that enable powerful and efficient paddling strokes.  When he’s not out paddling, he is an active volunteer with the American Canoe Association (ACA) and currently serves on the National River Kayak Committee responsible for curriculum development.

Daylen: Rental Staff

A navy brat in every sense, any place near lots of water is home for Daylen. While this is Daylen's first full season working at Ballard Kayak, he's made cameo appearances in previous years when we've been in a pinch. You'll never find him in a bad mood, because basking in the sun next to the ocean is Daylen's idea of 'The Life.' When he's not working, he prefers to be on the move, whether its playing various sports, biking, hiking, or skiing. Be careful, this playful soul loves puns and dad jokes, and he rarely needs an excuse to share them. 

Anna: Rental Staff

Born and raised in Seattle, Anna grew up around the waterways of the Pacific Northwest but took 15 years to get over her fear of being on the water. Finally over her fears, Anna can do headstands on her paddleboard and is currently spending her summer working with the amazing rental staff of Ballard Kayak. Mesmerized by jellyfish and seastars you can find her on the edge of the dock wishing she were on the water too.

Benjamin: Rental Staff

Although Ben was born and raised in Seattle, he doesn’t have a single family connection to the US. Benjamin is mainly Norwegian with a hint of Canadian mixed in, and always eager to travel the world searching for new experiences. He loves bringing new experiences to the customers of Ballard Kayak. Working along the water, this is his second season with the company. When not at Ballard Kayak, Benjamin can be found exploring the mountains skiing or trying to learn a new sport the best he can.

Happiness Policy

We have a 100% happiness guarantee. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your experience with Ballard Kayak, please inform us promptly so we can address the unhappiness. To remedy your unhappiness, your next Ballard Kayak experience is on us.