Our history, mission and team
Whidbey Island Kayaking Company was started by Ed Young, who loved to kayak, in 2002. He was a one-man operation for years, guiding and hauling all the gear from launch to launch with his truck and trailer. Whidbey Island Kayaking was bought in 2014 by Whidbey resident Krista Loercher and soon she encouraged Jeff Jacobsen to join and help. Krista and Jeff both are open water swimmers, former lifeguards, ex-swim coaches and Red Cross water safety instructors with professional backgrounds in business and technology. In other words, they are aquatic-enthusiast, safety-freaks who love Whidbey Island. They are caring for and growing Whidbey Island Kayaking.
To offer safe, fun, and active ways to experience Whidbey Island through physical engagement and experiential learning. We strive to help people to nurture their nature and make better memories for themselves and loved ones.
Ani is a two-year old border collie-pointer mix who loves to swim after sticks, seagulls, and frisbees. She loves most treats, but is especially partial to beef jerky and peanut butter cookies. She often is the first team member that our guests meet. She is working on improving her greetings from barks to licks.
Ari has grown up and lived on South Whidbey for 17 years. This is her second season at Whidbey Island Kayaking and she enjoys working at the beach. Ari is a senior at the local high school and plays outdoor sports. She plans to study abroad while in college.
This is Aubrey's second season with Whidbey Island Kayaking. While most of her paddling experience was previously on rivers and lakes, Aubrey has fallen in love with being on the Puget Sound since moving to Whidbey with her family 2 years ago. In Utah, Aubrey enjoyed working with competitive athletes and the weekend warrior as a coach and injury rehabilitation specialist. She now works at the South Whidbey High School in special education and as an athletic trainer for competitive youth soccer. In her spare time she loves reading, paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, camping, and hanging on her deck with a beverage.
"Working for Whidbey Island Kayaking has allowed me to do what I love; be outside as much as possible, meet wonderful people from all over the world, work with my hands repairing and maintaining boats, and to share the magic and wonders of this beautiful sea and island out on tours as a guide!"
Gabriel has lived on Whidbey Island for 14 years. This is his first year working at Whidbey Island Kayaking as a ‘crab’. As a crab, he takes care of the equipment and cleans boats as well as gets tours ready. He has CPR/First Aid training. Gabriel likes swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking. He also likes to go to the lake. His current school is South Whidbey High School but he previously went to Wellington Day School.
Krista has lived on a coastline for most of her life, first in New York, then Seattle and for the last 11 years, on Whidbey Island. She has been a lifeguard, a swim coach, a Red Cross water safety instructor, and open water swimmer. An ACA-certified kayak instructor, she loves introducing newbies to both kayaking and open water swimming. Prior to WIK, Krista’s professional life was in sales and account management at Macmillan, a book publishing company. Supporting the amazing team at WIK and providing 5-star customer experiences are the passions that drive her as she develops additional sustainable and active tourism opportunities on Whidbey Island. In 2019, she is running for a Commissioner position at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District.
This is Parker’s second season with Whidbey Island Kayaking. He spent much of his early years living right here in Langley, and he very much enjoys being able to help newcomers enjoy this beautiful Island from the water. Parker recently graduated from Linfield College, where he majored in Business Management paired with a minor in Sports Management. While there, he also competed for four years on the Men’s Basketball team. A few of his interests include outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing!
Tabitha grew up on the Northeast coast in Connecticut, fully submersed in the marine world by scuba diving and venturing on beach excursions. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences from UConn, where she delved into environmental stewardship and community outreach opportunities. She taught STEM based ocean curriculum and ocean adventure sports as an AmeriCorps member, which propelled her to become a kayak and sailing instructor. She moved from one coast to another and now resides on Whidbey Island and is excited to teach you about the local marine life, above and below, while taking in picturesque beauty offered in the Pacific Northwest.
Carli has grown up in Langley, located on the south end of Whidbey Island. As a local, she is familiar with the history, activities and landscape of the island. She is excited to share her passion for the natural world in her second season with Whidbey Island Kayaking. Carli recently graduated from high school and plans to attend Reed College in Portland to study Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Mackenzee Collins has lived on Whidbey Island since she was 5 years old. She fell in love with the ocean from a very young age, and is thrilled that she gets the privilege to work right next to the water each day. Mackenzee just finished her first year at Colorado State University, where she is playing on the softball team and studying to become an English and math teacher. This is currently her first season with Whidbey Island Kayaking as a beach manager, but hopes to have the opportunity to be back again next summer!
Nick grew up near Bellingham, Washington and studied physics in college. He worked briefly at a local engineering company before deciding he would rather kayak full time.
Since starting to paddle with the Bellingham kayak club in 2015, hardly a week has gone by that he wasn’t on the water. Nick’s favorite place to paddle in the Northwest is Deception Pass but he enjoys all levels of paddling, from scenic jaunts to kayak surfing and kayak polo. As an ACA L3 Kayak Instructor, Nick is passionate about building the sport through teaching both novices who want to know how to get on the water safely and intermediate paddlers who want to hone their skills or get into more dynamic waters.
Ryan has been staring at the edge of the water all his life not really knowing why. After moving to Washington State in 2008 to attend the University of Washington and receiving his degree in Oceanography and Marine Biology, he chose to stay for the love of what the Salish Sea has to offer. Every turn he makes and every path he takes from working in research labs, outdoor education, bartending, or as South Whidbey High school Soccer coach he comes back to the sea. After joining Whidbey Island Kayaking in 2019 who knows how far he will go.