Our Instructors


Community


About
Gift Cards
Become a Member
Client Feedback
SUNNY PITCHER
CEO & Founder
ACA L4 Whitewater Certified
ACA L4 Open Water Coastal Certified

Paddling since: 1993
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac, Shenandoah, Futaleufu, Naranjo, Savegre, Blackwater, Severn, Gunpowder, Middle Fork of the Salmon, Youghiogheny, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, Abel Tasman Sea, Chesapeake Bay
Favorite spot: Center Chute, Potomac River
Best memory: My first wave wheel
Favorite piece of gear: AT2 Superlight paddle
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Walk in the woods
Advice for new paddlers: Use your torso muscles!

SCOTT "BUCK" JORSS
SUP Program Director
ACA L-3 Whitewater SUP Instructor

Paddling since: 2007
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac River, Rappahannock, Mid-Atlantic Coast, Ocean City, NJ, 7th Street, Pacific OCean, HAwaii, Gulf of Mexico
Favorite piece of gear: My hat
When I'm not paddling, I like: Snowboard/ski patrol
Advice for new paddlers: Anything is possible, solid fundamentals are the foundation to all, get dialed in on calm H20.

IAN BUCKLEY
ACA Certified Whitewater Instructor

Paddling since: 2006
Hometown: Poolesville, Maryland
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac, Youghiogheiny, Gauley, New, Mill Creek, N.F Blackwater, Otter Creek, Black, Ottawa, Green, Chattooga, Overflow, Tallulah, Upper Animas, Oh Be Joyful, Daisy, Upper East, Frying Pan, Roaring Fork, Arkansas â?? Numbers and Browns Canyon, Kaituna, Wairoa, Fuy, Palguin, Maipo
Favorite spot: Anywhere with good water, good weather and great friends. Especially Great Falls, the Green or the Chattooga in the summer.
Best memory: First trip down Great Falls. Still close friends with everyone who showed me down that day.
Favorite piece of gear: Jefe Grande
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Ride my bike.
Advice for new paddlers: People paddle into their 60s and 70s. No need to rush to harder rivers. Enjoy it.

CHRIS "SMYTHE" SMITH
ACA Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor
Paddling since: 1993
Hometown: Bowling Green, KY
Paddling since: 2008
Rivers run/seas toured: All over the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Great Lakes, Ocean City, Kiptopeke, Northeast Florida, Tybee Island, South Florida, Potomac, Yough, Cheat, Gauley, New, Lower Green, French Broad, Missinaib
Favorite spot: The Mighty Po'
Best memory: When my daughter Abi was born
Favorite piece of gear: Patagonia merino wool boxer briefs. comfy, snug and they dry quickly after a long day
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Go to my farm in KY and not do a whole lot!
One piece of advice for new paddlers: You'll be fine

JOEY HOROWITZ
Head of the Shop
ACA L-4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor

Paddling since: 2010
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac, Yough, Arkansas, Clear Creek, Castlemain, Cheat, Barrier Islands
Favorite spot: Upper Yough
Best memory: Stomping the Upper Yough at 3ft
Favorite piece of gear: My Disco Helmet
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Skiing, Hike with my dog
Advice for new paddlers: Dont rush it! Be Patient.

MATT HANLON
ACA L4 Whitewater Certified
ACA L4 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
Paddling since: 1999
Hometown: Fairfax, VA
Rivers run/seas toured: Savage, Yough, Cheat, James, Flathead, Grand Canyon, Delaware, NJ Pine Barrens, Barrier Islands (NC and SC), Kenai, Seaward, Whittier, Oslo Fjord...
Favorite spot: Little Falls on the Potomac or the Clark Fork west of Missoula
Best memory: Canoeing as a kid, the Loscha at 10 feet, Middle Fork Salmon in the snow
Favorite piece of gear: Jackson Zen!
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Play with my Corgi
Advice for new paddlers: Have fun! And dont forget your nose plug

COREY ROBINSON
ACA Level 4 Whitewater Instructor

Paddling since: 2006
Hometown: Rochester, New York
Rivers run/seas toured: Some in Idaho (Salmon, Snake) and around the Northeast
Favorite spot: Wherever there's good water and good friends
Best memory: Spending any night beside a river under an umbrella of stars
Favorite piece of gear: River knife to chop ice for post paddling beverages
When I'm not paddling, I like: Running, biking, eating, making music
Advice for new paddlers: Spend more time in the boat!

IAN KOMOROWSKI
ACA Advanced Open Water Coastal Certified, ACA Whitewater Certified

Paddling since: 1998
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
Rivers run/seas toured: Much sea, surf, and river paddling on the east coast. Major trips: Sea: crossed Lake Ontario (NY), paddled the length of the Everglades (FL); Surf: many overhead days on at 'Town Landing' (RI); River: Bottom Moose (NY), many days on the Potomac (VA/MD), Watauga (and the Suicide Boof!) (NC).
Favorite spot: Just about anywhere in NY
Best memory: Sitting out in the middle of Lake Ontario with the closest land being 500 feet straight down.
Favorite piece of gear: Whatever is keeping me warm that day
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Hang out with my son, Carsten
Advice for new paddlers: Careful, it's addicting.

BRANDON LUNDBERG
ACA Whitewater Certified

Paddling since: 1992
Hometown: Durango, CO
Rivers run/seas toured: Rivers out West in: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and California. Rivers in the East in: West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. Rivers outside of the U.S.A. in: Ecuador and Kyrgyz Republic
Favorite spot: Anywhere with a good group of people
Best memory: Paddling the Upper Animas for the first time when I was 14 years old. The Animas was running around 5,000 CFS in town. I didn't sleep much the night before and was scared stuffless.
Favorite piece of gear: The toe slots of my Vibram Five Fingers
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Travel, ski, rock climb, hula hoop, read, listen to music, drink alcoholic beverages, and ponder international economic development issues.
Advice for new paddlers: I like to splash water in my face and then take a few deep breaths whenever I get tense. It helps me to focus and stay in the zone.

ADAM GOLDSTEIN
ACA Whitewater Certified, Raft Guide

Paddling since: 2013
Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD
Rivers run/seas toured: Yough, Cheat, Savage, Potomac, Arkansas
Favorite spot: Upper Yough
Best memory: First time running Ohiopyle Falls.
Favorite piece of gear: My old, old Mamaba
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Teach Skiing and Play Soccer
One piece of advice for new paddlers: Just Have fun

MARK MCKEEL
ACA L3 Sea Kayak Certified
Paddling since: 2005
Hometown: Mount Airy, MD
Rivers run/seas toured: Gauley, Yaugh, Chesapeake Bay, Ocean City Inlet, Holden Beach, NC, and, the Potomac.
Favorite spot: The ocean
Best memory: Paddling the lower Gauley
Favorite piece of gear: Werner Cyprus Performance Core Paddle
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Biking and spending time with my family
One piece of advice for new paddlers: Many sea kayakers spend years without leaning how to roll. Spend the time developing a strong roll, and then all sorts of options become available to you as a paddler. Being able to paddle in a sea kayak as well as in white water, gives you the best of both worlds.

DAN KLEIN
ACA SWR
Paddling since: 2002.
Hometown: Rockville, MD
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac, Delaware, Shenandoah, Youghigheny, Lehi, Big Sandy, Cheat, Mamquam, Stawamus, Callaghan, Cheakamus, Elaho, Capilano, Colorado, Skookumchuck
Favorite spot: Great Falls/Mather Gorge in the summer season
Best memory: Flowing down rivers in BC
Favorite piece of gear: Jackson Fun
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Play music with good friends
One piece of advice for new paddlers: Don't feel like you have to push your limits if people around you are paddling harder whitewater - kayaking is not always about what rapids you can get down. For me, kayaking is about feeling good and feeling present on the water.

JOE MURRAY
ACA L3 Coastal Kayaking Certified Instructor
ACA L3 Whitewater Certified

Paddling since: 2008
Hometown: Key West, FL
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac River; Antietam Creek, Little Patuxent River, Chesapeake Bay, Ocean City Inlet, MD; Upper Delaware River, NY; Shark River, NJ; Central Jersey Coast; Swansboro, NC; Fort George Inlet, Jacksonville, FL.
Favorite spot: Mayo Beach on the Chesapeake Bay.
Best memory: Learning to Paddle with my adult son.
Favorite piece of gear: My Werner Ikelos paddle.
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Spend time with my family, travel, read (my Kindle is my favorite piece of none kayak gear).
One piece of advice for new paddlers: Get on the water and keep paddling. Find new friends on the water and paddle with them.

KYLE KRAFT-CULKIN
ACA Level 4 Whitewater Instructor

Paddling since: 2009
Hometown: New Hyde Park, Long Island, New York
Rivers run/seas toured: New River Gorge, Savage River, Tygart Valley Falls, ASCI, Shenandoah, Lower Youghiogheny, Gauley, Nolichucky, Pigeon, Yough, Cheat
Favorite spot: Fayetteville, WV and the boating there
Best memory: Shenandoah River at flood stage as my first experience of true BIG water.
Favorite piece of gear: The Mullet; party all the time, business when you need it.
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Think about paddling. Go biking, hiking, backpacking, and snowboarding. Lift heavy weights.
Advice for new paddlers: Pay attention to detail; the little things will make a huge difference in your paddling.

JAMES BUCK
Programs Director
ACA Level 4 Whitewater Instructor

Paddling since: 2006
Hometown: Hurst, England
Favorite spot: The Fairy Glen in North Wales
Rivers run/seas toured: Conway, LLedr, Mawddach, Tryweryn, Dart, Kaituna, Wairoa, Shotover, Ahasal, Potomac, Difficult Run,Tygart, Cheat, Yough, Green, NF French Broad, WF French Broad, Pigeon, Wilson Creek, Mitta Mitta, Kobungra Best memory: First time runing Gorilla after walking it for a year
Favorite piece of gear: Loving My New 9R
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Take shop dog hiking.
Advice for new paddlers: Never worry about portaging, itll be there next time

BRIAN "PAPA BEAR" FISHER
Whitewater Rafting Guide

Paddling since: The Beginning of Time
Hometown: Nashua, New Hampshire
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac,
Favorite spot: Kennebec Gorge @ 8,000 CFS
Best memory: My week of guide training
Favorite piece of gear:The Biggest Guide Paddle I can Get
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Paint and Travel
Advice for new paddlers: Invest in the people going down the river with you and keep a positive attitude.

JASON KOPP
Whitewater SUP Instructor

Paddling since: 2005
Hometown: Lapeer, MI
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac, Savage, Lower Yough, Arkansas, Eagle Creek, Pine, Au Sable, Anacostia, and Tennessee Rivers
Favorite spot: Great Falls to Chain Bridge on the Potomac River
Best memory: Paddling up to Portage Glacier in AK, then paddling downriver to Turnagain Arm. Incredible!
Favorite piece of gear: Hala Atcha - I love inflatable boards and this one is good for most anything you'd like to do on the river
When I'm not paddling, I like to: yoga, trail run, hike, bike, snowboard, surf and imagine new wxciting places to paddle
Advice for new paddlers: Focus on fundamentals first. Solid fundamentals will keep you safe and healthy as you progress.

JEFF ALEXANDER
ACA Open Water Coastal Certified
BCU Coach Level 1 (UKCC)

Paddling since: 2002
Hometown: Wayne, New Jersey
Rivers run/seas toured: The Atlantic Ocean
Favorite spot: Martha's Vineyard and Mid-Coast Maine
Best memory: Finding myself surrounded by 50+ feeding dolphins off Cape Henlopen
Favorite piece of gear: NDK Explorer and Werner Ikleos paddle
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Spend time outdoors with my family.
One piece of advice for new paddlers: Be patient with yourself but push yourself, and paddle as often as you possibly can!

TOM NICKELS
ACA L4 I.T.E.

BCU L3 Coach
NDK Sponsored Paddler
Paddling since: 1992
Hometown: Charleston, SC
Rivers run/seas toured: The Potomac,North Wales, Alaska, Orca Island, France, Spain, China
Favorite spot: Off the Coast of Anglesey, North Wales
Best memory: Paddling in the Sun off the coast of Charelston
Favorite piece of gear: NDK Kayak
When I'm not paddling, I like to:Read and Relax
Advice for new paddlers: Be confidant in your abilities, take calculated risks, and enjoy the beautiful ride...

MEREDITH BRANDT
ACA L-2 SUP Instructor

Paddling since:2013
Hometown: Washington DC by way of Myerstown, PA
Rivers run/seas toured: East Coast Atlantic waters from Maine to Florida
Favorite spot: Any water I havent yet paddled!
Best memory: Catching my first ocean and river waves and making paddling friends through the SUP racing community
Favorite piece of gear: Hippostick paddle
When I'm not paddling, I like to:Travel, explore DC's backyard, playing around on my snowboard and Onewheel.
Advice for new paddlers: Don't feel obligated to follow industry trends. Whatever type of paddling gets you the most stoked is the type of paddling you should be doing!.

JULIE MARCH
ACA Whitewater Certified

Paddling since: 2004
Hometown: DC, but born and raised in Rumson, NJ
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac, Youghiogheny, Gauley, New, Cheat, Farmington, James, Ottawa, Futaleufu (Chile), White Nile (Uganda), Otta, Ula, Frya, Driva, Sjoa (all Norway)
Favorite spot: The Ottawa, especially Garborator and Bus Eater
Best memory: One of my first rides on Nile Special on the White Nile River in Uganda, the biggest wave I had ever been on at that point. When I finally made it onto the wave, I looked up to see a huge rainbow in there with me as the sun was shining through the water spray. It was super cool.
Favorite piece of gear: My Level Six sprayskirt
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Travel to remote corners of the world
Advice for new paddlers: Lean forward and paddle hard.

JACK CONROY
ACA Advanced Whitewater Certified

Paddling since: 1996
Hometown: Grosse Ile, Michigan
Rivers run/seas toured: Potomac (Great Falls), Futaleufu, Gauley, New, Youghiogheny, Tuolumne (Cherry Creek), South Fork of the American, Yellow Dog, Cuyahoga, Moose, Ottawa, Amoskeag Falls, Dead, Kennebec, Penobscot, Lachine, Green Narrows, Cheat, Upper Blackwater, Lower Meadow� etc.
Favorite spot: Chile
Best memory: Running the Kennebec Gorge at 6,000 cfs in a Riot Glide, my first day in a kayak.
Favorite piece of gear: Patagonia Canoe Paddler's Board Shorts
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Study for law school and manage investments.
Advice for new paddlers: Whenever possible, paddle with people better than yourself. You never conquer a river, only go for a ride. Respect!

EMILY FRANKLIN
ACA Whitewater Certified

Paddling since: 2003
Hometown: Wherever I feel comfortable. Born in Anchorage, AK
Rivers run/seas toured: Some in VA, PA, MD, OR, NV, WA, WV
Favorite spot: Anywhere with water, a boat, and the right company
Best memory: When three of us started kayaking, the weekends of paddling to exhaustion, laying on the floor and having a nice cold Ekstra Castle Weisse
Favorite piece of gear: A tie between my first aid kit and a water bottle with filtration system
When I'm not paddling, I like to: Jog or practice yoga
Advice for new paddlers: Enjoy the trip

CYNDI JANETZKO
ACA Open Water Coastal Certified


Cyndi is one of Potomac Paddlesports' most seasoned instructors. Equally comfortable in rough open water conditions and in whitewater, Cyndi brings a broad range of knowledge and expertise to each sea kayak class she teaches.

Did we mention she's fast? Really fast. When she's not teaching, you'll find Cyndi training for, racing in, or winning one of many area competitions, or even organizing some races herself!



The North Face Logo

Authorized Dealer

Visit Our Retail Store

Potomac Paddlesports
9812 Falls Road
Potomac, MD 20854
Located next door to Citibank

(301) 881-2628

» Get directions!

Office and Store Hours:

Tue-Sat: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sun-Mon: Closed