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Meet the Instructors

Kelly Gossett

President, CEO, Lead Instructor Kelly started New Mexico Kayak Instruction in 2008, and currently teaches more than 1,000 people per year beginner through advanced whitewater and sea kayaking skills.  His true calling is to help people with disabilities build courage, confidence and character, through adaptive paddling programs.  In 2011 he co-founded Kayak New Mexico, a 501(c)3 non-profit program with Jane Bales.  In 2013, he was the recipient of the Joe Pina Volunteer of the Year award from the American Canoe Association for his work in adaptive paddling. Previously, he was a trader for a $300 million hedge fund in Dallas.  He is an ACA-certified Level 4 Whitewater Kayak instructor, Level 4 Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor and Level 2 Stand-up Paddleboard instructor.

  • Whitewater Kayaking 80%
  • Adaptive Paddling for people with disabilities 80%
  • Sea Kayaking 50%
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding 10%

Jane Bales

ACA Level 3 Kayak Instructor  Jane has a hard time choosing her favorite paddling discipline; she loves them all. Whitewater kayaking, sea kayaking, Stand-up Paddleboarding, recreational trips down the Rio Grande Bosque, volunteering for Kayak New Mexico’s adaptive paddling programs, or leading community trips, Jane can be found on the water 3-5 days a week!  Jane has a Masters degree in accounting, and is also a Certified Public Accountant. Jane currently works for the FBI as a Computer Forensic Examiner. She is an ACA Level 3 River Kayak instructor and Level 1 Standup Paddleboard Instructor.

  • Whitewater Kayaking 70%
  • Sea Kayaking / Touring 70%
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding 50%
  • Community Trip Leading 80%
  • Adaptive Paddling for people with disabilities 80%

Miles Loftin

Assistant Instructor & Team Leader Miles is an assistant instructor and team leader for Kayak Albuquerque.  His love of the wild started early, and his parents encouraged this as much as possible.  He began to practice many outdoor sports and soon became an avid climber, paddler, fly fisherman, skier and backpacker.  He have guided Canyoneering and rafting in Utah and has medical experience and hands on experience dealing with wilderness medicine. The wilderness has always been his passion,  and he enjoys teaching others to enjoy it and leave it better than they found it.

  • Whitewater Kayaking 80%
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding 70%
  • Mountaineering 80%
  • Raft Guiding 20%

Ellen Hatch

Assistant Instructor  Ellen began kayaking in 2009, after years of teaching canoeing to girl scouts for many years. Her skills progressed quickly and she became an assistant instructor in 2010. Ellen has a Level 3 River Kayaking Assessment from the American Canoe Association.  In her spare time, she’s an active volunteer with Kayak New Mexico‘s Adaptive Paddling programs, and is a 5th year med-student at UNMH, researching treatments for cancer.

  • Whitewater Kayaking 50%
  • Adaptive Paddling for people with disabilities 60%
  • Canoeing 30%

Billy Espinosa

Assistant Instructor Billy started kayaking in 2014 and knew immediately it was a course that would change the direction of his life for ever.  He was quick to learn the greatest life lessons that only Mother Nature can teach; going with the flow, and using the energy of the river (or life) rather than fighting it, among others.  Billy is currently assessed at Level 3 River Kayaking, is pursuing his ACA Level 1 Instructor Certification and studying Biology and Environmental Education at CNM.

  • Whitewater Kayaking 70%
  • Sea Kayaking / Touring 70%
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding 50%
  • Community Trip Leading 80%

Other Team Members

Chip Berglund

  • Level 2 Kayak Instructor
  • Level 3 Guide / Team Leader
  • Adaptive Paddling instructor

Meghann Dallin

  • Level 1 Guide / Team Leader

Marty Tuegel

  • Level 2 Kayak Instructor

Nixo Lanning

  • Level 3 River Kayak Instructor
  • Level 3 River Canoe Instructor

Ben Duplessie

  • Level 2 Guide / Team Leader

What sets Kayak Albuquerque apart from the other guides and outfitters?

We are proud to say that our guides far exceed not only New Mexico’s lax standards, but the national standards as well.  Unlike other states, New Mexico does not regulate professional “guides” or “instructors”, outfitters or livery services.  There are no requirements, not even CPR or First Aid.  Kayak Albuquerque (and New Mexico Kayak Instruction) believe that if you’re going to take a lesson, tour, or commercial trip, you should get what you pay for; professionals who take their work – and your safety – seriously.  What is the difference?  The American Canoe Association sets national standards for canoe, kayak and SUP instructor certification as well as guide qualifications; while not required, those meeting the national standards typically qualify for lower insurance premiums.  These standards serve as a model for state regulators and public land managers.  According to the national standards, a canoe, kayak or SUP “guide” need only be assessed by a certified instructor as having competency in skills and maneuvers.  An “instructor”, however, is evaluated on skills and maneuvers, ability to perform rescues including swift-water rescue, risk management, group management, knowledge of equipment and teaching theory.  New Mexico Kayak Instruction hosts regular ACA Instructor Development Workshops and Certification Exams for Whitewater Kayaking, Kayak Touring and Stand-up Paddleboarding, taught by 3rd party ACA instructor trainers.

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