An expert level raft guide, a Wilderness First Responder, an ACA certified kayak instructor, an instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI), and a Leave No Trace educator, Steve White is credited with discovering the White Salmon Valley for the new home of Wet Planet. Steve first met Todd Collins years earlier while guiding in West Virginia, and spent time with Jaco Klinkenberg on the rivers of Utah while taking a NOLS Instructor course. Steve and Todd had shared several epic paddling adventures in both the Eastern US and in Ecuador, and Steve knew that Todd and Jaco were looking for a home for Wet Planet. At the time, he was guiding on the White Salmon River, and convinced the two that the area was worth considering. After that, it wasn't long before Wet Planet called the White Salmon Valley home.
Steve's commercial whitewater career began in 1996 when a friend convinced him to leave his nine-to-five job in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, in order to train as a raft guide on the spectacular New and Gauley Rivers. Deep in the heart of Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, Steve quickly developed strong skills as a raft guide and a whitewater kayaker. After several seasons on the New and Gauley Rivers, Steve returned to Portland, still his official home when he wasn't guiding or traveling. During a search for the best whitewater in the Portland area, Steve discovered the narrow basalt gorges and sparkling, clear water of the White Salmon River. Hooked on the White Salmon's continuous whitewater and 10-foot high runnable Husum Falls, Steve began spending summers on the White Salmon River and driving to West Virginia in the Fall for the annual dam release on the Gauley River. Currently, Steve is one of the most experienced raft guides on the White Salmon River. With 13 years of professional raft guiding experience, Steve has worked as a trip leader on such legendary class V rivers as the Upper Gauley, and guided rafts on rivers from West Virginia to Japan. That's right ... he's even guided in Japan.
Steve is also a whitewater instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). In the spring of 2002, he completed the rigorous month-long instructor training program for NOLS and began working regularly as a river instructor. As a river instructor for the school, Steve spends time teaching students whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and rafting skills, wilderness travel skills, expedition behavior, leadership techniques, and natural history while leading them on multi-day river expeditions. Steve briefly gained national notoriety when the Today Show aired a segment on the student he had helped rescue with an epic 13 hour evac after a bear attack on a NOLS course.
Aside from his professional whitewater experience, Steve is also an avid outdoor adventurer and traveler in his personal time. He has traveled extensively in Thailand, Laos, China, Japan, Ecuador, Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, and Croatia. With experiences that include rock climbing in the New River Gorge, scuba diving in the Gulf of Thailand, backcountry snowboarding and tele-skiing in the Oregon and Washington Cascades, backpacking throughout the Pacific Northwest, and kayaking all over the U.S., Japan, and Ecuador, Steve continues to pursue his passion for adventure.
Steve's latest adventure has taken him indoors into the (sometimes) challenging confines of public school classrooms. Steve has spent the last three years earning a Masters in Education and is now certified to teach K-12 music and middle school social studies with the ultimate goal of living and teaching overseas.
For more on Steve, check out the Kayak Instruction Staff bio page, too.
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