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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.

Owner Blaine
Tour guide Lindsay
Kayak instructor
Rental staff member
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Blaine (he/him): 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.

Kyle (he/him): Lead Kayak 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 (he/him): 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. 

            Ayla (she/her): Whitewater Kayak Instructor

Ayla Wilk is an ACA Level 4 Certified River Kayaking instructor with over 15 years of paddling and education experience. When she is not on the water with friends or clients, you can find her with her kiddos in her high school science classroom! Ayla got hooked on whitewater kayaking thanks to her former high school swimming coach in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Southwest Virginia. She relocated to Renton, Washington with her husband in 2020 and quickly integrated into the welcoming Seattle-area paddling community. Ayla is a firm believer in the therapeutic power of the outdoors and strives to make paddling accessible to everyone through her volunteer efforts with the Washington Kayak Club and Diversify Whitewater. She can’t wait to share her experience and excitement for the sport of river kayaking with YOU!

            Patrick (he/him): Packrafting and Whitewater Kayak Instructor

Patrick believes in the transformative power of nature and strive to guide individuals from digital spectators to active participants in the great outdoors. His mission is to inspire and empower others to break barriers, connect with nature, and discover their own potential through outdoor adventures. From summiting Mount Kilimanjaro to conquering the NZ Great Walks, his personal experiences have shaped my understanding of risk and resilience in outdoor sports. A close call during the Whanganui Journey ignited my passion for paddling, leading to extensive river expeditions across the US and beyond. Home in Washington, he volunteers his time to strengthen the outdoor community and dream of forging new routes across landscapes. Embark on an unforgettable adventure with Patrick, where every challenge becomes a triumph and every moment a cherished memory.

Chloe (she/her): Sea Kayaking Instructor

Meet Chloe, a Seattle native, who has been a part of the Ballard Kayak team since 2018. With a Level ACA 3 certification in open water sea kayaking, Chloe combines her passion with expertise to ensure a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Her qualifications in wilderness first aid and lifeguarding highlight her commitment to safety on every aquatic adventure. Chloe is proficient in a variety of paddling styles, including sea kayaking, whitewater, play boating, Greenland rolling, surfing, rafting, and multi-day expeditions. This extensive expertise reflects her deep commitment to the sport and her dedication to teaching others. Specializing in introducing beginners to the sport, Chloe delights in teaching the fundamentals of sea kayaking and rolling techniques, making sure the learning process is engaging and accessible. Her goal is to keep things simple, clear, and tailored to each student's comfort level. Beyond kayaking, Chloe is a versatile instructor who also teaches skiing and swimming, and she runs a kids' summer camp. With a teaching philosophy that emphasizes simplicity, clarity, and enjoyment. Whether you're just starting out or looking to hone your skills, you're in capable hands with Chloe.

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. 

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