Instructors

  • Andy Thunell

  • Owner/instructor

Andy was born and raised in Logan Utah and is the founder and owner of Rapid Progression. From a young age, he grew up playing soccer which was his passion. But due to a knee injury when he was a teenager, he was forced to give it up and replace it with something else, and that’s when the world of kayaking opened up to him. It’s been over 12 years since that injury and from the time he sat in a kayak for the first time, but it didn’t take long for his passion of paddling to develop and for him to realize that he wanted to share it with others. Andy founded RPKS 5years ago with the help of some of his close paddling friends while finishing up a business degree at USU. His paddling adventures have taken him all over the Western and South Eastern US and to Costa Rica. His love for kayaking is contagious and he thrives on knowing that he is helping grow the sport and helping people experience the same fulfillment he gets from paddling.

  • Forrest Maclean

  • Instructor

Forrest grew up around kayaks since he was 13, learning in ponds and local streams throughout Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a civil engineering degree and now is working in Salt Lake City. Work aside, Forrest is constantly looking for any type of water to play in and it doesn’t matter what kind of craft gets used. Having paddled all over the western US and Costa Rica, Forrest loves to share his passion with other people. Class 1 to class 5, freestyle to creeking, recreational to racing, technique to safety. Forrest’s words of advice to those thinking about giving kayaking a try… “Cowboy up and start paddling!”

  • Brandon Everett

  • Instructor

Brandon is an outdoor enthusiast in many aspects of his life, growing up with the Wasatch Mountains as his playground it’s hard to not get hooked. Brandon is a Wildland Firefighter and Professional Ski Patroller by trade, and enjoys the same water he skis as an avid Fly Fisher and Whitewater Kayaker. Brandon is a State Licensed EMT, Professional Avalanche Education Instructor, and member of the Weber Country Search and Rescue’s Backcountry Rescue & Swift Water Rescue team. He enjoys surfing waves and running many rivers throughout the west including his self proclaimed second home of Glenwood Springs, Co. In the summer when he can’t get in his boat, Brandon’s co-workers often find themselves eating lunch at kayak parks, while traveling to and from Wildland fires across the west.

  • Eric Jones

  • Instructor

Eric has been paddling since he was a cub scout. He grew up in Utah kayaking with his dad, but once he turned 17 he moved to the Jackson Hole area to get more into whitewater. He attended SUU where he taught the kayaking clinics his entire time there. He graduated with a finance degree but is now a web developer. His favorite part of kayaking is watching his friends get excited about new whitewater. Doing something hard is super rewarding, and that’s what whitewater kayaking is all about! If it’s your first class II stretch, or your first waterfall, each step is super fun.

  • Brian Babbitt

  • Owner/Instructor

Brian grew up a military brat moving from place to place adapting to many different surroundings. His parents were always pushing him to experience and grow throughout life. At a young age they introduced him to skiing and things transpired from there. Now an avid outdoorsman, Brian works as a professional ski patroller, a mechanized ski guide and avalanche instructor during the winter. He works as a kayak instructor, mountain bike guide and also works in the fitness world during the summer. He really enjoys sharing these activities with folks and giving them the skills to succeed and have fun!

 

Josh Reinhart

Instructor

Josh grew up playing in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania with a love for the water and the outdoors. He moved to Utah in 2004 after graduating with a bachelors degree in education. Josh has been whitewater kayaking since 2001, and has worked as both a raft and kayak guide. Some of his favorite river include the North Fork Payette, Upper Cherry Creek, and the Ottawa, with some of his backyard favorites being the Ogden Narrows, Upper Provo and Bridal Veil section of the Provo. Josh has been teaching snowboarding professionally for 19 years, and works as a Divisional Clinic Leader and Examiner for the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. He also enjoys backcountry snowboarding and mountain biking.

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Shannon Finch

Instructor

Shannon was born and raised in the mountains of Utah. She learned to love rivers at a young age; spending the majority of family vacations on multi-day river trips. She fell in love with whitewater kayaking her first year of college and really hasn’t looked back. Since graduating with a degree in Recreation Management & Outdoor Leadership she has instructed kayaking students all around the Western United States. She loves sharing her passion for adventure & rivers with her students.

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