Trip Leaders and Trainers
Trip leaders are at the heart of the Club. These are the folks who plan, organize, track, manage and monitor the events that we hold. Without these club member-volunteers there would be no club.
“The trip leaders are knowledgeable. They help to make
you feel more comfortable in the kayak” – Robin H
All of our trip leaders are American Canoe Association (ACA) or British Canoe Union (BCU) trained. Trip Leaders and Trainers may conduct events at levels up to their highest level of qualification. Click here to learn more about trip levels and ratings.
Bob Scaldino is a HASK level 3 trip leader. Bob enjoys kayaking because he gets to see and experience places that most people will never get the chance to see. He loves to paddle in remote areas and in the surf. Bob enjoys leading trips into remote areas (i.e. Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Quetico Provincial Park, Buffalo National River). He says "You can't match the solitude and the fact that you will probably see more wildlife than people during your trip." Bob regularly helps to teach both formal and informal HASK training courses.
Bill Ohsie started kayaking in 1995 and has paddled regularly since 2003. He enjoys flatwater (bayous and lakes), bays and surf. He also does some whitewater paddling. Bill tries to paddle every weekend he is home and likes kayak camping and car camping trips including weekend and out of state paddling. He enjoys the friendships he has gained on and off the water. He is a HASK level 2 trip leader. Bill thinks there is hardly anything more fun than getting out on the water in a kayak.
Carl Kuhnen joined HASK and began paddling in 2004. He is a HASK Level 3 Trip Leader and has been leading trips since 2007. Carl enjoys finding and developing new HASK trip routes and hiding "Easter eggs" in his trip descriptions. He has served on the HASK Board as Membership Director and Fleet Captain. Carl is currently the club's Commodore. Carl is active in the HASK training program.
Chris Arceneaux became a HASK Level 2 Trip Leader in March 2011. Chris was born on the bayou, well OK, a block from the Atchafayala River. He's spent a lot of time on the water, and got into kayaks in the late 90's. He likes to camp, explore new waters and get lost just a little. Chris has previously served as the Club'seet Captain.
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.
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!"
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. He is also currently serving as the club's Fleet Captain.
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 have been sea kayaking and a HASK member since Feb 2017. I enjoy leading trips and training sessions for HASK. I currently (2021) can offer HASK members training in paddle stroke skills, self and assisted rescues, navigation, rolling, towing, VHF radio use, and kayak tripping and camping. I am certified by ACA in kayaking at L2 level (Essentials of Kayak Touring). I have passed ACA sea kayaking skill assessments up through L4. I am certified by NOLS as a Wilderness First Responder. Please feel free to contact me about trips or training I can offer you.
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
Leslie Taylor Leslie has owned a kayak some twenty years or so, but really got paddling when she joined HASK in January 2015. She loves rivers and bayous best but will happily paddle in bays and once earned the scratch on her helmet during a white water lesson. ACA keeps trying to teach her. She has completed Level One and Level Two instructor courses, but is still working on that Level Two instructor certification. Note: self rescue in a very old Necky IV with a skinny cockpit and leaky bulkhead is a challenge. Leslie loves to camp and cook out of her teardrop trailer, so join her on some of the fun HASK camping trips. You never know what good things may be in her dutch oven. You can also meet Leslie at HASK Pimp Your Kayak and Greenland Paddle Making workshops, or best yet, the end-of-year party.