Meet Our Kayak Tour Guides
With more than 50 years of aggregated river guiding experience, our guides are some of the most experienced on the lower Colorado River. They come from all over the United States but share the same passion for the outdoors and customer service. Each guide is certified in both CPR and Wilderness First Aid to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip down the Black Canyon portion of the Colorado River.
You might find Celeste at home watching one of her favorite movies like CODA or listening to music from Khalid. Or you might find her dozens of miles from any town, in the middle of the Arizona desert, camping by the edge of a cliff. That’s because she’ll go anywhere she can pitch a tent. Originally from the Monterey Bay area of California, Celeste is a talented artist and at nine years, one of the most experienced guides on the lower Colorado River. Come on by the Blazin’ Paddles shop located in Hoover Dam Lodge where you can check-out and purchase some of Celeste’s paintings to take home for yourself.
With whitewater rafting and stand-up paddleboarding being some of his favorite activities, it’s no wonder that “Waterworld” is one of Chad’s favorite movies. From Thousand Oaks, California, Chad has done most of his 10 years of river guiding on the Kern River before recently moving to Las Vegas and guiding for Blazin’ Paddles. Aside from all of his water activities, some of his favorite things to do include backcountry hiking, riding horses or giving condor hiking tours back in California. One day, Chad hopes that he can, to no surprise, raft the Zambezi River in Africa.
Originally from Lindale, Texas, and later Port St. Lucie, Florida, Jamaika loves experiencing new places and new cultures. If she’s not watching one of her favorite movies, The Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park, then she’s probably either doing some yoga, or hiking around the local wilderness with her camera in hand. After experiencing so much of the United States with her husband, one day she wants to cross the ocean and experience all that Australia has to offer.
Although John, or sometimes referred to as “Jun” or “Cho Cho” by his fellow guides, was raised in Las Vegas, everyone knows that his heart is in Guam. His love for the outdoors has taken him all over the US west coast where he’ll sometimes disappear into nature. When he’s back home in the city, John can be found breakdancing at his local studio or listening to some indie rock on his extensive vinyl collection. John says “hi.”
Whether it’s in a kayak as a guide or on a cruise ship as a dancer, Krystalyn can almost always be found on the water. After growing up in Ocala, Florida, Krystalyn took her passion for dance performance to the other side of the world where she performed on cruise ships in Alaska and Mexico, then moved to Guam to dance in a magic show. The opportunity allowed her to experience different places from the rugged terrain of New Zealand to the amazing culture of Japan. When she’s not guiding for Blazin’ Paddles, you can bet that she’s taking a spontaneous hiking or camping trip in the Nevada wilderness or in one of the areas many National Parks.
From her volunteer work with search and rescue teams and archeological sites, to her college courses in wildlife biology, if there’s a way to be outdoors, MaKenna will find it. Born and raised in Las Vegas, she often loves finding some Grateful Dead or Bluegrass music on the radio and driving to the wilderness areas of Northern Nevada or Southern Utah. Occasionally, she’ll head west into the Sierra Nevada’s for a backpacking or climbing trip. MaKenna has been guiding with Blazin’ Paddles for 3 years and has her certification as a wilderness first responder.
There are those who love nature, and then there are those who love to be one with nature… Melissa is the latter. One of her favorite things to do is immersing herself and senses in nature: building fires, soak in oceans, lakes, and rivers, watching plants grow, and climbing mountains and trees. Often drawing inspiration from nature, she creates art through dance or other forms of expression and expresses the soul in whatever way it calls. Originally from Southern California, some of her favorite places to visit are Big Sur, Mexico, Hawaii, and South America. One Day, she hopes to visit Morocco, Spain, and New Zealand.
Born and raised in the Las Vegas Valley, Nichole is no stranger to the National Parks in the bordering states. She often travels into the Utah wilderness to hike, camp, or use the quiet of the outdoors to start a new book. One day, she hopes to get as far north as Glacier National Park. When Nichole is back home, she loves to take advantage of Sin City’s many concerts and attend performances from her favorite country and hip-hop artists. If she’s looking for more of a chill activity, she’ll either be watching one of her favorite movies like Fundamentals of Caring, or Lilo & Stitch, or finishing that book she started earlier.
As an avid rugby player, it’s no wonder that someday Ray would like to visit Australia and New Zealand and maybe catch a match or six. She was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut and later moved out west. There, she developed a love for the outdoors and loves to experience nature through hiking and camping with friends. She has made a second home on the lower Colorado River where she has been guiding for over four years. It doesn’t matter if she is on or off the river, Ray can sometimes be heard singing her favorite tunes from Led Zeppelin, Rebelution, or Kendrick Lamar.