jakeI started working on the Ocoee in 2009 as a raft guide and that is when I found my true passion for whitewater. I grew up interacting with water and learned early on to appreciate it. Fishing and tubing on the creek behind my house and the Hiwassee River with my family was a very common occurrence when I was young. We also made camping trips to the Tellico River many times a year as I was growing up. The natural attraction to rivers and being around them has aways been something I have felt strongly about; however, I did not find my true medium for expressing this until I started kayaking. At the end of my first year as a raft guise I got in my first kayak and the script flipped. There was no turning back. Not only do I love kayaking and the joy I get out of each and every moment spent on the water, but I also don’t think I could find a better community to be a part of. I have spent my whole paddling career trying to improve so I could do better things and see better places, but I have found a new aspect of kayaking that I thoroughly enjoy and that is teaching. That moment when something “clicks” and you get to see someone get excited about kayaking is hard to beat. I feel very fortunate to not only get to share kayaking with people, but to make it my lifestyle and my job. I am very happy to be a part of Ace and I am thankful for the opportunity to potentially change people’s lives. That is a bold statement but if you are considering taking a lesson with Ace my only advice is buckle up. Because after you discover kayaking nothing will be the same.