Our Mission

We aim to contribute to and advance Taiwan’s kayaking community through co-led workshops with local coaches and a month long expedition spanning the island’s eastern coast. Our instruction will have an emphasis on advanced skills such as rock gardening, kayak surfing, as well as further cultivating the Taiwanese women’s paddling community. 

Goals

Skills Development: We will offer several American Canoe Association-sanctioned classes at a range of levels in collaboration with the Formosa Kayak School. These classes will be catered to the local environment (rock gardening, surfing, open coast skills, etc.) and aim to provide advanced instruction. 

Cultural Exchange: We will learn from local kayaking coaches, documenting their best practices and insights into Taiwan’s growing paddling community. We plan to publish what we learn on our trip blog and translate it for local curricula. One member of our team is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, furthering our ability for meaningful exchange. 

Female Outdoor Leadership: We will offer one or more women’s specific outdoor leadership clinics designed to build the confidence and self-assurance of Taiwanese women using sea kayaking and as a medium. Laura and Kelly plan to write about the paddling culture of Taiwanese women for the magazine Misadventures

Exploration: Our expedition features a 4-week expedition along Taiwan’s remote and mountainous east coast. We will document our journey on our trip blog as well as Misadventures and Canoe & Kayak Magazine. We will strive to provide a comprehensive travel guide and trip log that will allow other paddlers to plan their own kayaking adventures along Taiwan’s beautiful eastern coast. 

 Pictured: Laura, Left and Kelly, right. Photo: David Santaniello

Pictured: Laura, Left and Kelly, right. Photo: David Santaniello

Our Story 

Kelly Henry and Laura Zulliger are two friends and experienced sea kayaking coaches based in the San Francisco Bay area. They met during their ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor Development workshop in 2014. The two have been paddling, teaching, and scheming together ever since. Kelly and Laura are passionate about empowering female paddlers and bringing more women into the sport.  Presently, they are working with the founders of the California Women’s Watersports Collective to build the organization’s sea kayak program. 

Kelly and Laura both seek to push the limits of their sea kayaking ability by planning an expedition along an unfamiliar, remote coastline while also contributing to a local, burgeoning kayaking community. Taiwan’s rugged coastline, crystalline waters, and growing paddling culture comprise the perfect place for this adventure.   

Kelly Marie Henry

Kelly first paddled a sea kayak in her hometown waters of Narragansett Bay and immediately fell in love with the freedom kayaking provides to explore coastal regions seldom traveled by others. After completing a Master’s and Doctorate in oceanography, she realized the best way to share her passion for the water was through paddlesports. In 2013, she left a promising career in science behind and joined the staff at California Canoe & Kayak. Kelly is a dynamic paddler committed to pushing her limits and improving her technique. As a coach, she strives to help paddlers of all abilities find joy on the water. When not in the shop, she can be found pursuing her new paddling obsession: surf kayaking. She is looking forward to sharing her love of paddling with the Taiwanese and expanding her teaching toolkit on this expedition. Kelly is an ACA Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor, Level 3 Surf Kayak Instructor, and Level 2 SUP Instructor, and trained in Wilderness First Aid. Presently, she teaches for California Canoe & Kayak, River & Ocean, and the California Women’s Watersport Collective.

Laura Zulliger 祖玉蘭

Laura has sea kayaked for over 12 years getting her paddling start in the Pacific Northwest and honing her skills in southeast Alaska, coastal Georgia, and coastal California. She’s an ACA-Certified Level 4 Open Water Coastal Kayaking Instructor and a multi-craft paddler. Laura has taught both whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and kayak rolling in addition to a range of coastal kayaking skills. Currently, she teaches with California Canoe and Kayak and lives in San Francisco. Laura loves to explore California’s rocky coastline, playing in waves and pour-overs. She is a frequent contributor to women’s outdoor magazine, Misadventures, and speaks Mandarin fluently having studied the language for over 6 years and lived in China’s rural Yunnan Province for two. She’s excited to use her language skills to enable a deeper cultural and skills exchange with local Taiwanese paddlers!

Timeline

Our expedition will span approximately 6 weeks: 

  • Weeks 1 and 2: Trip preparation and kayak clinic series in Taipei
  • Weeks 3 through 6: Kayak Taiwan’s east coast from south to north

Proposed Trip Dates

Roughly: April 24, 2017 to June 3, 2017

Itinerary

We will begin our expedition in the southern region of Kenting and make our way north finishing just east of Taipei in 4 weeks. By paddling south to north, we will have aid of the northward flowing Kuroshio current.

Here is a chart of our proposed route with potential landing spots marked

  • Classes: Taiwan has several L2 and L3 ACA coaches and we will to collaborate with them to co-teach beginning, intermediate and advanced workshops via the Formosa Kayak School. We also plan to meet and gather the local female paddling community for women’s-focused instruction. 
  • Camping: We plan to camp at most ports. In towns where camping is not available, we will stay in guesthouses. We are working with friends currently living in Taiwan to provide scouting and confirmation of lodging options.
  • Safety and Supplies: We have several local friends who will check in on our status and resupply us at predetermined locations during our trip. We will carry a VHF radio with digital selective calling, a GPS and a satellite radio. 

Logistics

  • Pre-trip Lodging: We plan to stay with friends in Taipei.
  • On-Land Support: Marshall Worsham, who lives in Taiwan, will be our ground support and emergency contact, if needed. 
  • Trip Advisors: We are working with local, Bay Area-based coach and experienced expedition kayaker, Sean Morley, to best prepare physically and logistically for the trip. We have also consulted Nigel Foster and Mark Western, two paddlers with extensive paddling experience in Taiwan. 
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
— T.S. Eliot