WHO WE ARE
We are Sea Kayak Carolina
OWNERS: Joe Campbell & Charlie Ward
STAFF, INSTRUCTORS & GUIDES:
Sue | William | Steve | Jane | Scott | Don | Fern | Ashley
Sea Kayak Carolina is a paddling
Sea Kayak Carolina is a paddling outfitter and full-service kayak shop.
Sea Kayak Carolina leads tours for all kinds of paddlers through Charleston area waters.
Since the doors opened in 2008, Sea Kayak Carolina has been a "place for paddlers," — a vibrant kayak shop, paddling school and touring company where local paddlers and visitors alike can join in a community of paddlers. Expert instruction, carefully selected gear and fun trip leaders all play a role in making Sea Kayak Carolina a destination for kayakers up and down the east coast.
Joe & Charlie
Current leadership comes from SKC owners Joe Campbell and Charlie Ward — two paddlers who themselves found their kayaking passion through the shop.
Joe brings his high energy, his paddling passion and his successful entrepreneurial career into play as he takes up the reins as our Director of Operations. Joe immediately took to open water play when started paddling with Sea Kayak Carolina just a few years ago — now a seasoned Atlantic kayak surfer, he plans to pursue an instructional role while he orchestrates shop programs. Big things are coming!
Charlie loves to be out on the water and share kayaking adventures with others. A paddler since 2008, he's paddled more than a few rivers and creeks between Charleston and his home in Myrtle Beach. In 2011 he got into a sea kayak where he does most of his paddling thses days — He took the time to learn and develop his skills with Sea Kayak Carolina and regards many of the SKC instructors as mentors. Charlie brings a passion for learning and for adventure to the mix, as well as years of business and leadership experience.
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A passion for paddling runs deep at Sea Kayak Carolina. Joe and Charlie are just two of the many, many paddlers that SKC has encouraged to embrace that passion over the years. The philosophy to teach, to encourage and to share fun and adventure on the water has been with SKC since the beginning — the three instructors who founded the shop are passionate paddlers — as is everyone on staff — and we're all passionate about getting others into boats and out on the water!
Sea Kayak Carolina is the premier kayak store in South Carolina. We carry boats we paddle ourselves, and gear that we use ourselves.
The instructional staff of Sea Kayak Carolina loves to work with paddlers of all levels. We are experienced at teaching the basics to people that have never been in a kayak before — in an introductory class, or a mellow tour around Oak Island at Folly Beach. We will challenge intermediate paddlers in our rescue classes and surf classes. We have the experience to help our students learn the finer points of boat control, strokes and maneuvers, and navigation. If it happens in a kayak, we can help!
Sue Kershaw is our S&M expert! (Strokes & Maneuvers, that is.) Sue is adept at helping paddlers of all experience levels to refine their grace and style. She is precise in her strokes, and proven at perfecting her students’ strokes.
Sue became serious about kayaking in 2006, obtaining her first ACA Instructor certification in the Spring of 2007. On the fast track, she became a founder of Sea Kayak Carolina in 2008. She loves to share her passion for kayaking with others. She is an awesome instructor, and was awarded her ACA Coastal Kayak Open Water (L 4) Instructor certification by Dale Williams in September 2008, and was certified by as an ACA Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor Trainer in the Fall of 2011 (mentored by Josh Hall). Sue has trained with Tom Nickles, Gordon Brown, Jen Kleck, Steve Sherrer, Hadas Feldman, Jean Totz, Jeff Allen, Josh Hall and Dale Williams. Sue's primary sea kayak is a NDK Pilgrim.
Sue is an ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor Trainer Level 3, and Coastal Kayak Open Water Instructor, Level 4.
William has managed the shop in addition to being a full-time kayak instructor and guide. He was born and raised in the Charleston area and has been playing in the local waters since before he learned to walk — He did take a sabbatical from living here to serve 20-years in the U.S. Air Force, returning to the area fulltime when he retired in the spring of 2008.
William has been kayaking for over 15 years but really got serious about it when he retired from the Air Force. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge about local waterways, and loves to share this information with his paddling friends and clients. In December of 2008 he founded the Charleston Sea Kayaking MeetUp group which has grown to over 2,000 members and is one of the most active paddling groups in the area.
His biggest enjoyment comes from turning people on to paddling and watching them progress while sharing his love of the sport. He likes to say “When you’re kayaking you aren’t just observing the water environment you’re actually part of it.” His favorite kayaking trip is to Deveaux Bank, paddling in his home waters of the North Edisto River. However, he’s also a developing ocean paddler who thinks surfing waves is the most fun you can have in saltwater.
Come by and visit William sometime at the shop and he’ll be happy to talk paddling with you, show you latest gear or help you find the right kayak for your paddling journey.
William is an ACA Coastal Kayak Open Water, Level 4 Instructor. He enjoys paddling a NKD Pilgrim Expediton.
Jane became passionate about kayaking after taking a Fundamentals of Coastal Kayaking Class taught by Scott and Sue. Though she started out as a modern (euro-blade) paddler, she discovered traditional / greenland-style (skinny blade) kayaking and realized this was the style she wanted to pursue.
Jane enjoys teaching others about kayaking, both modern and traditional/greenlandic. In addition to assisting with on kayak classes and trips, Jane can be found in the shop “kayak hospital,” customizing and repairing all types of kayaks (see our kayak repair page ). She also leads workshops for making a tuilik (the Greenland splash jacket/spray skirt), and other Greenland style kayaking gear. Jane is an ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor, Level 3, endorsed as a Traditional Paddling Instructor and a Rolling Instructor.
Steve is an ACA Coastal Kayak Open Water Level 4 Instructor. He is our webmaster and also makes himself useful both as an instructor and as a guide. He began his paddling career shortly after moving to James Island from the northeast in 2001. An outdoor enthusiast, he has served in leadership roles with the scouting program, the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society.
For the first few years, Steve's joy in kayaking came simply from the outdoor experience — getting on the water, into the marshes, and closer to our area's birds and other wildlife. in the past five years he has more actively pursued advanced paddling and instructor training, and he now enjoys ocean paddles and surfing. He has tremendous enthusiasm for paddling and sharing what he's learned.
“I had an instructor's perspective while I was learning...I was learning to teach at the same time I was learning to paddle,” he says. Keeping that in mind, and sharing his own learning experiences, Steve likes to help others develop their paddling skills and confidence. “It makes me a better teacher. I haven't forgotten some of those challenges I faced along the way.”
Scott Szczepaniak started paddling in the Spring of 1991. When he was once described as 4/5ths fish – Scott thought that was the ultimate complement!
In addition to his love for sea kayaking, Scott has had a Coast Guard career, has been a SCUBA Instructor, and worked with Outward Bound as a marine science educator and ferry boat captain. He has been to sea on research vessels, tall ships, and training ships. Scott brings experience as a marine science educator and boat captain to bear when teaching navigation, meteorology, oceanography and coastal ecology.
Scott was certified as an Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructor in the early 1990s by Vaughn Smith on the backside of Cape Cod. He paddled extensively in New England before moving to Charleston in the Spring of 2002. Scott holds a traditional paddling endorsement with the ACA; he lists among his Greenland gurus Greg Stamer, Josh Hall, Ray and Margaret Killen, and Becky and Mark Molina. Some of his “euro-blade” mentors are Dale Williams, Karen Knight, Nigel Dennis, Josh Hall and Steve Hutton. Scott is an ACA Coastal Kayaking Instructor Trainer, Open Water, Level 4.
Scott's primary kayak is a NDK Romany Surf.
More famliar faces around Sea Kayak Carolina...There are more to come!
Don White (aka "Dogfish") is an ACA Coastal Kayak Open Water Level 4 Instructor. He can be found leading tours, and instructing classes both in Charleston and remotely. Don, with his wife Fern, specialize in working with couples. He is passionate about playing with new skills, maneuvers, rescue & towing techniques and teaching them to his students. "I'm a perfect example that you can teach an old DOGfish new tricks"! Don was selected as the ACA Instructor of the Month in early 2014!
Ashley Brown began her paddling career with Sea Kayak Carolina in 2010 and is now an accomplished ACA Coastal Kayak Open Water Level 5 Instructor. She is a high energy instructor for many area classes, including an official course at the College of Charleston!
Fern White is an ACA Coastal Kayak Level 3 Instructor with an endorsement to teach rolling and an endorsement for Traditional Skills. You will see her at any Greenland class, on tours, or instructing classes with her husband. Ask her what her favorite stroke & maneuver is or ask her about rolling a kayak! She loves to co-instruct with her husband "Dogfish" and invent creative methods to help students learn.
Sea Kayak Carolina was founded in the spring of 2008 by area instructors (l to r) Deb Mitchum, Scott Szczepaniak and Sue Kershaw. All three passionate paddlers — and each just as passionate about getting others excited about kayaking. All three are American Canoe Association Open Water Coastal Kayak Instructors.
Before Sea Kayak Carolina opened our doors, Charleston lacked a dedicated kayak outfitter and local paddlers regularly traveled as far as North Carolina and Georgia to test paddle and try out equipment. Once we were up and running we joined with a number of lowcountry businesses offering local paddling tours, we began offering unique how-to classes for beginners, open water instruction for enthusiasts, and advanced certification courses for aspiring instructors across the country (and around the world). And we remain a top shelf store for all your on-water needs.
SKC: Instructors. Guides. Outfitters. And you — together a community of paddlers.