Patrick learned to guide rafts with Richmond Raft Company in Spring 2003. Skills learned through four seasons of guiding in Richmond and kayaking with friends ultimately led him to explore rivers around the world. Over the past decade he paddled and guided in Alaska, Norway, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nepal, Uganda, India and Chile.
From his experience working for various river outfitters on six continents, Patrick brings to RVA Paddlesports a unique blend of safety, instruction, and style from some of the best rivers and guides around. In addition to river experience, Patrick has over 60 field days working for various Wilderness Therapy Programs in the US. Patrick’s favorite type of paddling is expedition style trips. “I love being able to absorb myself in the rhythm of the river and mountains for days on end.
The trip becomes less about each rapid and more about working with your team to safely navigate the river. Paddling has led me to the most incredible and hidden places on the planet. I hope to share those places with people in the future.”
Certifications: ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, Virginia Teaching License, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering – BMC 28-Day, Disability Etiquette
I’ve lived along the James River my entire life. I grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia, and traveled downstream towards Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in order to attain a degree in Environmental Studies. It wasn’t until moving here did I discover my passion for swift currents. The first rapid I ever ran was Balcony Falls, a classic beginner Virginia run, solo in a 14-foot long canoe. I have since tackled rivers such as the Youghiogheny, the New, the Gauley, and Great Falls on the Potomac. I’ve been working for RVA Paddlesports going on 3 years now. I am one of the primary kayak instructors as well as a member of the shop management team. If you sign up for anything kayaking related, you’re likely to have a run-in with me! Hope to see you out on the water soon!
Certifications: Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder
Andi has been a river guide since 2011. She studied Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management at Radford University with a concentration in Outdoor Recreation. She graduated at 21 years old in 2011. For her senior internship, she traveled to the Chattooga River, which is federally protected under the Wild and Scenic Act, and went through guide training. She immediately fell in love with the river, the community, and the overarching sense of belonging.
She went on to spend 7 years as a guide, trip leader, safety kayaker, and kayaking instructor on the Chattooga. She met her husband, Eric, during her first year. In addition to guiding, she worked in the therapeutic industry in both the wilderness setting and boarding schools. In 2017, Andi moved to her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, and began guiding and trip leading on the beautiful James River. She is currently an exceptional education teacher of 7th-grade history.
Certifications: Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Trainer, Disability Etiquette
Tom is a long-time outdoorsman and whitewater enthusiast and also a certified Wilderness First Responder and WFA Instructor through Sierra Rescue. His primary objective is to teach people how to appreciate the outdoors as much as he does, and become active in protecting the natural world. He learned to love land and water in his upbringing on the South Anna River in Montpelier, VA. He has backpacked, rafted, studied, or just enjoyed nature in Utah, Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, West Virginia, Chiapas, Nepal, Tibet, and Rwanda. Tom is passionate about being able to serve all communities through his love of rivers, not just the communities that have historically had access to outdoor recreation due to having the means to afford expensive gear and training. Through his formal training as a Master’s level Social Worker, Tom utilizes strengths-based strategies to design camps for children and youth to learn safety outdoors, as well as social and leadership skills that can translate off the river as well. He enjoys working closely with Beyond Boundaries and Sierra Rios in order to expand RVA Paddlesports’ mission.
Certifications: Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, Wilderness First Responder
Eric started guiding rafts in 2009 after taking many summer trips down the Ocoee River while working as a YMCA camp counselor. He has guided on the Ocoee River, Chattooga River, and the James River. Eric spent 10 years guiding on the Chattooga before moving to Richmond, VA with his wife, Andi, in 2017. He is currently in school at J. Sargeant Reynolds studying Horticulture. He hopes to own a mini farm with goats and chickens, and to grow and sell vegetables and house plants from a greenhouse.
Certifications: Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, Wilderness First Aid
Born in Berlin behind the Iron Curtain, Ingrid moved to Richmond, Virginia in the 1970’s. She enjoyed snorkeling in Pony Pasture, finding many aluminum cans, watches, wallets, and rings. While in college, she frequently tubed down Hollywood Rapid.
Ingrid studied at Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and the US Army. She then went on a ROTC land a tour in Germany before becoming Commercial Hard Hat Diver in the Gulf of Mexico. Later, she worked at the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Power Plant in Georgia.
After her wedding, Ingrid and her husband moved back to Virginia, and had two boys. While pregnant, she rafted the Lower Gauley River and later placed 3rd in the Animal River Race with an all-female team. She has decades of river experience, including the James, New, Gauley, Maury, Green, Nolichucky, Chattooga, Ocoee, Pigeon, French Broad, Black, Hudson, Sacandaga, and American Rivers.
When she’s not on the water, she teaches engineering, technology, and digital photography, as well as spending time outdoors with her family.
Certifications: ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder
Andrew, a Richmond native, has been a Raft Guide for nearly a dozen seasons. He started on the French Broad River near Asheville, North Carolina. Down there, he also worked in Tennessee on the Nolichucky River. He later went back to finish school in Arizona at Prescott College.
While in the West, he worked in Colorado on the Numbers section of the Arkansas River, as well as Clear Creek. He moved back to Asheville after school, worked for a few more years, and then eventually to Richmond in 2019 for his first season on the James River with RVA Paddlesports.
Certifications: Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder
Adam has been paddling for over 2 years. He has been extremely active in that time and paddled in Norway, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, and numerous rivers along the East Coast.
His favorite activities are kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking. His goal is to share his love for paddling with everybody and hopes that he can impact others the way paddling has impacted him.
Certifications: ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor, Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician
Shep’s passion for the outdoor adventure world began in college where he took classes in outdoor and therapeutic recreation. After graduating with a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, he moved to California where he worked as a ski and raft guide (in different seasons of course) for a non profit that works with individuals with disabilities. After his time out west, Shep returned to Richmond and he is now the Director and Co-founder of Beyond Boundaries, a local non-profit that provides outdoor adventures to individuals with disabilities, at risk youth, veterans, and substance recovery programs. Beyond Boundaries and RVAPaddleSports started the same year and have been friends and river partners ever since! Until recently you could typically find Shep fishing, paddling, or rock climbing. Now he spends most of his days with his wife, Kelly, and new son, River! Shep believes that playtime is not just for kids and is happy to share his stoke with you any day!
Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, Swift Water Rescue, CPR, Disability Etiquette
Nykkayla found a passion for the outdoors in 2017 during her Freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University. Over the past three years, she has trained as a raft guide and trip leader through SOLE for the VCU Outdoor Adventure Program. So far, she has co-led a canyoneering trip to Utah, various water sport activities on the James and Youghiogheny River, and several caving trips.
Nikki joined the RVAPS team as a Manager during the spring of 2019 to expand her knowledge and expertise in the outdoor industry, while providing assistance to help the functionality of the company. As she completes her college career, she aspires to contribute to diversifying the outdoor world by making it accessible and attractive to all.
Certifications: Sierra Rescue River Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, Tier II (Safety and Protection of Minors), HEADS UP Concussion, Crowd Management, and Weather Hazard
Kevin grew up in Midlothian, Virginia, and has always had a passion for the outdoors. As a Boy Scout, he frequently camped, hiked, rock climbed, canoed, kayaked, whitewater rafted, and skied. After becoming an Eagle Scout, he decided to continue his involvement in the outdoor industry.
At William & Mary, Kevin became an Outdoor Trip Leader as part of the Tribe Adventure Program, leading dozens of outdoor trips throughout the year. He studied Marketing, History, and Business Analytics, and he hopes to pursue a marketing career in outdoor adventure and tourism.
His internship at RVA Paddlesports has given him great experience in marketing for an outdoor adventure company, and he is excited to use his knowledge and experiences to continue to help the company grow.
Certifications: CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, Leave No Trace Trainer