Meet Our Instructors


All our instructors are PSUPA Certified and have First Aid/CPR certificates.


Jeff Gassen – Instructor – A native of the Seattle area, Jeff also works as an automotive technician, photographer for his dad’s business and previously taught SUP at Surf Ballard. Jeff can be seen regularly spotted at local SUP races, surfing freighter waves or taking it easy on the beach in Ballard.  Specialities: Flat Water, Racing, Surfing.




Meet our friendly instructors

Joseph McColskey – Instructor – Joe was one of Rob’s first students. He soon became addicted to SUP which led him on a mission to get in shape. Several years later Joe is one of most stoked paddlers we know paddling daily on Shilshole Bay near his home in Ballard.  Joe recently retired from teaching Japanese at Ballard High School and has introduced many of his students to SUP.  He’s currently pursuing a career as a personal trainer.  Joe is on our racing team. Specialities: Flat Water, Surfing




Jon Brown – Instructor – When not surfing the coast, making his own sailboat, SUPs and surfboards, Jon works as an elementary school teacher in Seattle.  Orignally teaching for Stoke Harvester, we’re stoked to have Jon on our team. A native of Tacoma, Jon now lives in Ballard, a short distance from freighter wave surfing spots. Jon co-teaches our SUP Surf Camps. A regular fixture at local races, Jon always places well with his surf style board.  Specialities; Flat Water, Racing, Surfing.




Darrell Kirk – Instructor – One of the most stoked paddlers we’ve ever met, Darrell travels the world with his inflatable SUP spreading his stoke. He’s paddled through the locks in St Louis, in a salt mine in Missouri 400′ below (see article in SUP Magazine), on the Great Salt Lake, the Salton Sea and was asked by A&E to be part of a show paddling the Mississippi.  He’s also first person to play a banjo on a SUP (see left). Visit his website, Stand Up Paddle the World to see the many places he’s paddled and listen to his Podcast interviews of local paddlers. Specialites: Flat Water, surf, racing.




David French – Instructor – An artist with the Patricia Rovzar Gallery in Seattle, David is known for his easy going personality. David has been an instructor with us for over 3 years.  He paddles 6-8 miles daily on Puget Sound. Specialities – Flat water and touring.






Alex Vaughan – Instructor – Born in the Philippines, raised in Alaska, Alex spent his summers on the west side of Oahu (Waianae/Makaha). In Seattle for 16yrs, Alex is an all around waterman enjoying SUP, outrigger canoe and diving. He has placed in the Round the Rock, the Urban Surf series and OC events.  A SUP instructor for 6 years, Alex paddles “for my love of the outdoors and connecting to nature by respecting everything from the mountain to the sea.”  Alex is on our racing team. Specialities: Racing, surfing, downwinding, flat water.








Luke BurrittInstructor – Raised in a remote off the grid cabin in New Mexico, Luke has his seasons figured out – he works as a climbing guide in Hueco, Texas in the winter and as a rigger for the boating industry in Seattle in the summer. He lives in his VW van ‘George’ and once was once the lead rigger for the New Zealand sailing team. Luke is on our racing team. Specialities: Racing, surfing, touring, flat water.



New in 2016 – Sean Norquist (coming soon)




Business Manager Christy Cox keeps the business running behind the scenes doing our bookkeeping, web design, copy editing, and scheduling.  She has assisted small businesses and worked in communications and publishing for over a decade, is the co-founder of the Professional Stand Up Paddle Association and was the co-founder and organizer of the Hobuck Hoedown Surf Competition, St Paddles Day and has managed our Monday Evening SUP Races in summer.

Contact: / 206.465.7167