Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Wet Planet
Whitewater Paradise in the Columbia River Gorge
The name Wet Planet was first spoken in a beat up Suburban while bouncing down a jungle road in Costa Rica, when co-founders Todd Collins and Jaco Klinkenberg were discussing their vision for the ultimate whitewater company. Wet Planet is based in White Salmon, Washington on (you guessed it) the White Salmon River… and literally on the river… like at the takeout of the famous Husum Falls section! Their goal was simple: to provide exceptional guest service, experience and risk management. In addition to world class rafting and kayaking, Wet Planet boasts a Cafe & Grill, espresso bar, BBQ and picnic area and plenty of great spots to relax along the river. The Wet Planet Experience truly lives up to the owners’ ideals and imagination.
With a reputation as a leader in the industry, Todd Collins has used his skills and experience to increase standards and practices throughout the commercial whitewater industry. From mapping miles of trails while working as the Evacuation Coordinator for river companies on West Virginia’s New and Gauley Rivers, to traveling throughout California and Colorado with the Headwaters Institute to train whitewater guides in environmental concerns and natural history, to providing technical river rescue support to Klickitat County Search and Rescue, Todd has consistently played an integral role in the paddling communities where he has lived and worked. Todd brings his skills, experience, and passion to Wet Planet, as the company continues to set standards and raise the bar in the Pacific Northwest.
Todd is an ACA Certified Whitewater Kayak and Canoe Instructor, and a Level II Senior Instructor and Course Leader for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Todd is also a River Rescue Instructor-Trainer for Sierra Rescue International as well as a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor for Rescue3 International.
Born and raised in Holland, Jaco Klinkenberg first met Todd on a whitewater NOLS course in Utah. At the time, Todd was already working with ideas for creating a new whitewater company. The two shared similar visions of what this company could be. In Holland, Jaco spent 10 years in the advertising industry before beginning her career in outdoor recreation and her marketing background and professional work experience provided pieces that made the vision a realistic possibility. It was on this trip that Jaco decided to leave her life in Amsterdam to pursue her passion for outdoor adventure and travel.
“I wanted a job where I could actually see and experience the beauty of the world we live in.” ~Jaco Klinkenberg
Jaco is currently most visible at Wet Planet managing schedules, logistics, reservations and day-to-day operations around the Wet Planet headquarters, she is also responsible for much of the behind the scenes work with marketing and strategic planning. She is a trained ACA instructor, NOLS River instructor, Wilderness First Responder, Leave NO Trace Educator and River Rescue Trained.
And guess what?!
We are collaborating with our friends at Wet Planet on May 27-29, 2020 for our Womxn’s Intermediate/Advanced Whitewater Clinic.
Here’s a little bit about some of the instructors who are teaching this awesome clinic:
We missed this little bundle of stoke (and OG Cali Collective instructor) so much, we are traveling all the way to her home of White Salmon to get her back on the roster! Anna Wagner grew up kayaking and rafting with her family in the foothills of Northern California. She cut her teeth on the South Fork of the American River, while hitting gates paddling slalom, chasing rafts being a photo-kayaker, and teaching lessons as an instructor. Anna then worked for Anna Levesque’s Girls at Play in the Southeast, Costa Rica and Idaho, while shooting photos on the iconic Tuolumne River and and it’s Class V upper stretch, Cherry Creek, during the summer.
In between Girls at Play trips and California summer seasons, Anna traveled to New Zealand, Zambia, Nepal, China, India, Canada, and Pakistan in search of whitewater. You can now find her living in White Salmon, Washington, working part time for an environmental education non-profit, Gorge Ecology Outdoors, chasing rain, snow, waterfalls, and ferries in the magical whitewater of the PNW.
Natalie Kramer Anderson is an internationally recognized athlete for creekboating and big wave surfing. In 2019, she placed first in the Little White Salmon Race and fourth in the Jacob’s Ladder race during the North Fork Championships. She loves teaching and mentoring, and coaches big water freestyle clinics on the Slave River and the Ottawa River.
Natalie is a certified Paddle Canada Level 3 Whitewater Instructor, and sits on the Canadian National freestyle board and the Fort Smith Paddling Club board. She is also a mother of two young boys with a graduate degree in Fluvial Geomorphology (AKA a scientist who writes about driftwood in rivers.) Natalie lives in White Salmon during the school year, and Fort Smith, Northwest Territories during the summers. Natalie and her partner, Leif, organize the Slave River Paddlefest every August for paddlers of all skill levels and abilities.
Since 2001, Susan Hollingsworth Elliot, has been deeply rooted in rivers . It began with rafting and kayaking, and has evolved to include stewardship action as a board member for American Whitewater, and a Masters degree in River Engineering. International instruction and leadership exposed Susan to rivers all over the world. She has instructed for World Class Academy, Anna Levesque’s Girls At Play in Mexico, and as a support boater for Last Descents River Expeditions in China.
“For my students, whitewater kayaking provides the foundation for achieving bigger goals and gaining confidence that translates to cleaner lines and renewed connection with the natural world. I most love it when the lessons learned on the river translate into increased joy on and off the water.” ~Susan Hollingsworth Elliot
In 2018, Susan took her passion for river conservation and paddling on the road with her Wild River Life project. Together, she and her husband visited Wild & Scenic Rivers across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The project culminated in the guidebook Paddling America: Discover and Enjoy the Nation’s 50 Greatest Wild and Scenic Rivers.
We would like to thank Wet Planet and all the instructors for sharing their time with us!
To learn more about about our Womxn’s Intermediate/Advanced Whitewater Clinic May 27-29, 2020, please email us at [email protected] or visit the whitewater page:
All words and images copyright California Watersport Collective 2020. All rights reserved.