Meet Our Staff
Greg began guiding sea kayak tours in ’99 in the San Juan Islands with Sea Quest Expeditions and Zoetic Research, while spending the winters up in the mountains. Greg has sat as the tourism representative for the Washington State Oil Spill Advisory Council and was involved in the Citizens Advisory Committee for the City of Seattle’s Shoreline Master Program.
Greg also began an outdoor store in West Seattle, Mountain to Sound Outfitters. Providing top notch gear and advice for people is a passion that continues as he develops additional sustainable tourism opportunities.
Kara has also been sea kayaking since 1999 and is the first to point out any bird sightings on the water (she earned her PhD in urban bird ecology)! She is the Staff Scientist and Policy Analyst at the Washington Forest Law Center and volunteers to help monitor and promote the conservation of local Purple Martin populations.
Kara is also a part of the Alki Wildlife Habitat Project and has recently completed a native garden on the shores by the kayak shop. Check it out when you are visiting!
Amanda lee was born in Honolulu, HI spending her youth in and on the water sailing, surfing, kayaking, and much more! At a young age she began working on the water as a youth sailing instructor in the Ala Y. Amanda has lived in the PNW for close to 10 years on and off. She is a Level 2 ACA Instructor for Kayak and SUP, an American Red Cross Instructor and a SUP Ambassador for Pau Hauna Paddle Boards. She enjoys multi day trips and long distance paddle boarding. When not on the water she is spending time with her dog Rufio camping and adventuring.
Greg “Kona” Haapla
"Some of my first aquatic memories are of my Father and I swimming in Echo Lake I would ride on his back holding onto his shoulders and we would dive underwater together. When I was running out of air I was instructed to tap on his back and we would ascend. It was a lot of fun. That is where I learned to swim. Since that time I have always lived on or near the water. And I am constantly on it or in it. We moved to Lake Sammamish when I was 8 and I soon learned how to water-ski and snorkel. Later in life I moved to Kona, Hawaii where I enjoyed body surfing and snorkeling. I’ve had some interesting experiences night diving for lobster on the Kona coast. When I returned to the mainland I moved to Alki beach and enhanced my scuba diving certification to Rescue diver then Dive master. I love it here in West Seattle. I am an avid diver, snorkeler, windsurfer and kayaker. Alki beach pretty much has it all. This is my second year of kayaking with Alki Kayak Tours. They are a wonderful group of people who are very safety conscience and professional."
Tabitha grew up on the Northeast coast in Connecticut, fully submersed in the marine world scuba diving and venturing on beach excursions. She followed her desire to learn marine biology and matriculated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences, where she delved into environmental stewardship and community outreach opportunities. She taught STEM based ocean curriculum and ocean adventure sports as an AmeriCorps member with New England Science & Sailing, and loved being on the water every day teaching kayaking and sailing lessons, and identifying a variety of marine species.
Betsy was born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia. She grew up sailing, canoeing and kayaking in the Pocono Mountains and on Long Beach Island, NJ. She has always been drawn to water, especially the ocean and spent every possible moment of her youth swimming and surfing in the Atlantic. Her lifelong passion for marine ecology led her to Northern California where she earned a masters’ degree which focused on the fasting physiology of the northern elephant seal. Bets recently moved back to the PNW from Colorado where she was teaching biology at Metro State University of Denver and conducting wetland education and research in Breckenridge. She enjoys sharing her excitement for the natural world with others and looks forward to a continued career focused on marine ecology research and education in the Puget Sound. In her free time Bets loves hiking, kayaking and standup paddle boarding with her standard poodle, Otter. This is her first season guiding with Alki Kayak and she is delighted to be part of a knowledgeable and fabulous team of hard-working individuals!
Born in Massachusetts, David grew up kayaking around the coast of Massachusetts in places like Glaucester, Cohasset and the Charles River in Boston. He started kayaking when he was 10, and started teaching kayaking when he was 17 years old with Charles River Canoe and Kayak in Newton, MA. He is a recent graduate from the University of Maine with a B.S in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and is a Maine State Sea Kayak and Whitewater Guide. He guided 2-4 day overnight sea kayak trips, multi-day mountaineering trips, white water kayaking, rafting and camping trips in the northeastern United States. He is a Wilderness First Responder and a certified ACA level 2 Kayaking instructor with 7+ years of experience teaching participants of all ages. Dave has a wealth of paddle sports information to share during any of his sea kayaking tours, instructional classes or overnight camping trips with Alki Kayak Tours.
Christy has been on the move ever since her childhood in Northern California where she was the self proclaimed "Bestest Hiker in the Whole Wide World." Summer days were spent biking through the neighborhood, exploring the woods, or running into the freezing cold ocean with abandon. As an adult Christy continued to seek adventure. After graduating from Colorado College with a BS in Psychology Christy spent a summer in Yellowstone National Park, worked as a youth development volunteer in Uganda, led white water rafting trips in Colorado, and worked with troubled teenage girls as a wilderness therapy guide in the deserts and mountains of Utah. Today, Christy has found a new home in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. She loves the mountains, water, and city with equal measure. Christy is currently in graduate school working towards a Masters in Counseling Psychology with dreams of becoming a therapist. Leading kayaking tours on the Sound is less of a job and more of a peaceful adventure for Christy. She can't wait for you to join her!
Born and raised on Lopez Island, WA, Kurtis has lived in the Puget Sound region his entire life. In addition to his love of kayaking, he enjoys hiking, camping, birding, fishing, crabbing, hunting, foraging, beach-combing, gardening... really any excuse to get outside! Kurtis has also been a professional musician since he was a teenager, and he continues to write, record and perform music locally. His favorite band is The Beatles. His favorite Beatle is Ringo. Yes. Ringo.
Jesse is a lifelong outdoor educator and paddle sports instructor, with ACA certifications as a Level 4 Coastal Kayak, Level 2 SUP and Adaptive Paddling Instructor. He has taught with institutions such as Outward Bound and REI, and loves visiting the wilderness only accessible by a boat. He hopes to hike the Pacific Northwest Trail next year, and has been known to dive with sharks in Fiji. This is his first year with Alki Kayak Tours.