MEET THE TEAM:
Paul Moffatt-Founder and lead instructor
Paul was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the suburbs playing basketball, baseball and football. After a decade of bouncing from the beaches of Southern California, to the mountains of Colorado, he moved to Whitefish, MT. Once he became certified in Outdoor Emergency Care, he spent six years as a volunteer for the Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol and a part time pro-patroller at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area.
In the early summers of living in Montana, Paul became a raft guide in West Glacier which eventually exposed him to the sport of whitewater kayaking. He and his friends were among the many volunteers who helped out as instructors and camp counselors for the famous First Descents organization which provides free Kayak instruction to young adults, 18-39 with varying types of cancer. It was this experience along with having volunteered for the handicap ski program at Winter Park which led him to the vision for the Montana Kayak Academy.
Before long, Paul realized that most of the kayakers he knew began paddling in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Many of whom wished they had started much earlier. After many discussions with his paddling family, he aspired to create a platform for local youth to learn the sport in a fun, safe, nurturing environment. An environment that offers certified instructors at no cost to the kids or their parents. The idea was that these lucky future kayakers could be taught the basics at a young age and learn at a healthy pace. Hence, the dream which would become the MKA.
Having also coached little league baseball and kids hockey, Paul looks forward to sharing his passion for the river and the outdoors while passing on his knowledge to local children and teenagers. He and the crew at MKA want to help create a new generation of active members of the community who understand the value and importance of wild places as well as learning to live in the moment, and respect the rivers and the environment which surrounds them.
Mike Dezzani-founder and instructor
Travis was raised in the Flathead Valley moving here when he was 1. His youth was consumed with fishing and swimming in the amazing rivers located in the area. He unfortunately was never exposed to whiteater kayaking until he was in college at University of Montana, Missoula MT. Travis tore his ACL in 2003, an event that changed Travis’ life forever. No longer able to ski 12 months a year, he sought out another avenue for his outdoor pursuits. Fresh off a knee surgery, some of his friends put him in a kayak and pushed him down the Alberton Gorge (class III) for a first run in a kayak. 13 rapids and 13 swims. Impressive statistic especially when considering Travis was not suppose to get his surgical wounds wet! Travis was hooked. He has been pursue whitewater 12 months a year since that day.
Travis has an immense amount of passion for kayaking and knew he wanted to share this sport with others. He also knew that the way he began the sport was irresponsible. Quality instruction in whitewater kayaking is hard to find and even harder to find for children. Hindsight is 20/20, but it allowed him to change to foresight and begin channeling his passion to Montana Kayak Academy. He loves sharing his passion in a safe, controlled enviroment to teach river stewardship, paddling technique and river safety to the children of the Flathead Valley.