NACK Kayak Instructor Training Program


This year NACK was extremely fortunate in being able to acquire the instructional services of Chris Raab. For anyone unfamiliar with Chris he is the owner of Tuktu Paddles, a company that has provided canoe and kayak instruction and custom canoe and kayak paddles to the paddling community for over 12 years. Chris lives in New Jersey and has over 35 years of paddling experience in white water, sea kayaking, and wilderness expeditions. Chris is an ACA Open Water Instructor Trainer, Traditional Skills Instructor and Trainer Educator. He also holds ACA certifications in solo and tandem canoe and is BCU 5 star trained, along with other equally impressive achievements and qualifications.  Chris is also a NAI certified guide, and a registered Maine sea kayak guide. His qualifications and relaxed teaching styles make him one of the most sort after kayak instructors in the northeastern U.S.

Chris started his Long Island instructional services to NACK this season when seven of our members Roy Baillard, Dara Fee, Buddy Ficarelli, Ann Kaiser, Steve McDonald, Colin Mullen and John Weickert Jr. attended Chris’s two day ACA Instructor Development Workshop (IDW) in June. He continued his services to NACK by supplying rough water and surf zone training. That training had taken place in the Atlantic Ocean off of Hampton Bays. The next day he gave our members a more relaxed strokes and refinement class. In July the seven NACK members who participated in the IDW attended the ACA’s Instructor Certification Examination (ICE) given by Chris.  Thanks to Chris NACK now have an additional ACA level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring instructor and some additional level 3 Coastal Kayaking instructors.

NACK is also fortunate to have another member to join the instructor ranks, Maria Hampson. After years of being an assistant to Dan and Elizabeth at Empire Kayak in Oceanside, Maria has become a level 2 Essentials of Kayaking Instructor.

If you have ever attended the canoe and kayak show sponsored by the Jersey Paddlers in Summerset NJ. You have probably seen Chris. He is the guy at the Tuktu Paddle booth near the food court. He is the guy with the big smile, hands in his pockets, talking to everyone. I don’t know if he has ever sold a paddle at the Jersey Paddlers show but everyone that walks away from his booth leaves it with a smile, feeling a little more happy and enthusiastic for having met him.

By Colin Mullen


Categories : Training


  1. Bob Horchler says:

    Congratulations to all of you!

    With the advanced training you all received, we all benefit. I hope it will lead to more opportunities for us members to take additional classes from NACK’s instructors.



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