Meet Our Guides

Our guides are the best in the business. We ensure that we employ only passionate, personable, reliable and experienced guides in order to give you the best possible experience on any of our tours.

All of our guides are fully trained and qualified. Training includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • First Aid Training and Safety management
  • Professional Driver Qualifications
  • Certified Sea Kayaking guide rating
  • Vehicle Familiarization

Our guides are the most important part of our company.

We carefully select our staff to ensure they are experienced, personable, helpful, well-traveled, polite, fun and just generally nice people that you would want to go on a tour with. They have the qualifications, skills and knowledge to ensure you will have a great experience whether you are an experienced kayaker or a novice.

If you want to hear what our customers say about them we invite you to take a look at our reviews on TripAdvisor.

Meet some of them here below.

Einar Raa Nilsen 

guide-einarEinar has been guiding freelance for Nordic Ventures for over 10 years. During summers he runs his own Whitewater kayaking classes. He is our instructor on our more advanced kayaking courses and can teach you eskimo rolls and how to successfully take you kayak down a waterfall! During winters when we don’t see traffic on our rivers and fjords, Einar is managing the local ski school in Voss with his team of professionals. As the snow melts away it is back on the water with no hesitation! Einar primarily guides our longer trips and is often to be found on the largest glaciers,  in the deepest valleys or highest mountain peaks of Norway, always returning back with a big smile on his face and full of stories to share. His great sense of humor is guaranteed to entertain you if you are on one of his trips. Ask him anything and he will have the answer!

Jan Wittebrood 

guide-janwJan has been with Nordic Ventures for several seasons since 2001 and has grown with the company. Originally from Holland, we met Jan when he was guiding dutch groups in Norway back in 2001 – we managed to get him onboard as a guide a few years later. He has since held several positions in our company including parasailing and Parabungy boat driving in the past and is always up for a challenge. He enthusiastically leads groups on our longer tours and share his passion for Norway with everybody on his trips. Amongst his personal interest is skiing, paragliding and kitesurfing just to name a few.

Colin Shears 

guide-colinColin, originally from Canada, has been working in the outdoor industry since 2009. He holds a two year Diploma in Adventure Tourism in addition to being a certified Sea Kayak Instructor with Paddle Canada and a Canadian Red Cross First Responder. He had his first season with Nordic Ventures in 2014 and has stayed in Norway since. Working as a Kayak guide during summers and as a Ski Instructor during winters provides a good balance in life! Always calm and cheerful, Colin has a practical, down-to-earth approach to any task and is looking forward to welcoming you on any of the trips he leads. A few of his personal interests include photography, travelling, orienteering and hiking.

Hayo Van Gestel 

HioohsmallHayo has been working as a guide for almost 20 years among leading companies in the industry and have been the solid cornerstone for several companies during this time. SKOANZ certified kayak guide and has completed Outdoor First Aid and Risk Management courses. He has dual dutch/ New Zealand citizenship between and this will is his second first season guiding for Nordic Ventures. When joining one of Hayo’s tours you can rest assured you are in good hands, Hayo is known for being hard working, reliable and with a strong sense of responsibility towards anything he undertakes. His personal interests includes Hiking, Biking, Windsurfing and Waveskiing.

Kim Louise Van Kempen 

guide-kimKim is from New Zealand and has been working for the Sea Kayak Company in the Abel Tasman National park, New Zealand since 2008. The 2015 season is her first in Norway with Nordic Ventures. She has been guiding for several companies over the past 9 years and comes highly recommended. Kim holds the following certifications; – NZOIA Sea Kayak 1, NZOIA Sea Kayak Leader Award, Certificate in Advanced Leadership and Guiding, Day Skippers certificate, Certificate in outdoor first aid as well as her Open water diving certificate. Personal interests include painting, swimming, running, diving and traveling.

Shannon Trimble 

guide-shanShannon joined our team in 2015  where she has been guiding in the Abel Tasman National Park and in Wanaka, New Zealand for the past 3 years. She is very passionate about Sea Kayaking and guiding and come highly recommended. She has a two year Diploma in Outdoor leadership and Management. Shannon has in her previous employment proven herself to be an excellent guide with amazing customer focus on trips. She always does her utmost to deliver the best possible experience for her guests. She is a competent biker too and spends her personal time running and biking tracks whenever possible.

Zoe Avison

zoe2016 is Zoe’s first season with Nordic Ventures. She is a true kiwi and has previously worked as a kayak instructor and guide in Auckland, New Zealand. Zoe spent most of 2015 volunteering for an outdoor adventure trust which involved multi-activity personal development programme. She holds a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, specializing in Outdoor Education and Sport Management and is a certified NZOIA Sea Kayak Leader. She also holds an outdoor first aid and management certification and is a qualified surf lifeguard since 2007. Sea kayaking is Zoe’s passion but when she isn’t on the water she enjoys tramping, mountain biking, travelling and gourmet cooking!

Carol McCaig 

guide-carolCarol is entering her third season with Nordic Ventures and will be working at our Gudvangen base – fresh out of Seattle which is where her home is! Don’t let that fool you, you will recognize her Scottish accent when you meet her, it’s a clear giveaway! She holds a Master’s in Education from University of Washington. After teaching for 11 years Carol is now pursuing her full time career as an outdoor guide. She attained her kayak guiding leadership skills with the Association of Canadian Sea Kayak Guides on Haida Gwaii and she practices her swift water rescue skills in Deception Pass, Washington state. Carol also holds a Wilderness First Responder certification from NOLS. She grew up sailing on the Pentland Firth in Scotland, and after emigrating, paddling around the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest and in the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico. Carol is also an American Red Cross professional lifeguard and a USA swim coach. On the fjords she loves to see her guests connecting with nature, marveling at the grandeur of the scenery, and relaxing whilst adventuring! In her spare time you’ll find Carol hiking, biking, windsurfing, snorkeling and swimming.

Hamish Dephoff

Hamish Dephoff Pic 1Hamish has spent the last 10 years kayaking in on rivers and in the sea around the world, working 8 years as a kayak guide and operations manager as well as teaching whitewater kayaking in America and New Zealand. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Commerce, First Aid Certificate, Marine Mammal Certificate, Leave No Trace Trainer, Day Skippers Certificate, and Anaphylaxis training. He is also a keen mountain biker, rock climber, and skier.


Chris Harvey

chris NV Chris has been working in the outdoor industry since 2011 and his passion is kayaking. Chris holds a Diploma in Outdoor Instruction and Guiding where he specialised in sea kayaking, white water kayaking, and white water rafting. Since graduating Chris has worked as a sea kayak guide in NZ’s most popular national park (Abel Tasman) and Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. He has also guided white water rafting tours in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Ranges and taught kayaking, river rescue and rafting at Australia’s Olympic White Water Stadium.
In Chris’s time off he goes straight back to the water where he enjoys white water kayaking in isolated remote gorges, goes on multi-day sea kayak trips and surf kayaks.

Megan Baker

Megan Baker Megan grew up paddling her family’s beat-up kayak in New Zealand. Following her move to Canada in 2001, she has worked in marine conservation and whale research as well as kayak guiding, hiking guiding and snowshoe guiding on the wild coast of British Columbia. Megan is a certified Sea Kayak Instructor, Sea Kayak Guide and has her Wilderness First Aid certification. She is very passionate about protecting the marine environment – and her favorite place to sleep is in a tent.


Nic Mead

Nic Mead Nordic Ventures GuideNic started guiding for Nordic Ventures 9 years ago and has explored many remote corners of the Western Norwegian fjords. As an avid snowboarder, he spent many winters in Voss, Norway perfecting his snowboard turns and then his entrepreneurial skills by starting, with some friends, the successful Tre Brør Kafé in central Voss. He has since headed back to New Zealand during the winters where he owns and operates Auckland Sea Kayaks. Nic is a runner, keen mountaineer, sailor and enjoys keeping up with current events.


Jan Nielsen 

guide-janJan is the company founder and owner, he has been with Nordic Ventures full time since the start up in 1998. He has developed our activities and trip itineraries and constantly works on improvements. Jan is the inventor of many of our specialty items needed for doing what we do in a safe way. If the gear is not working you complain to him. Logistics expert and lucky to be able to work with an international team of great guides in such a beautiful setting . When Jan is not up Tandem Paragliding with clients, he spends a lot of time – sometimes too much time, in the office, answering e-mails and making sure logistics are run smoothly. His motto is “ We always win “ – and thanks to an amazing team of dedicated outdoor professionals we always do. Jan is now busy planning the drawings for our 2016 Sea Kayaking and Activity center in Gudvangen. The construction project is a dream come true for the company and it will further help us to keep on improving our tours and activities.

Tom Mackenzie

tom nordicTom will be joining us for his second season at Nordic Ventures after spending the winter above the arctic circle. Born and raised in South East England, he moved to Australia when he was nineteen and has since traveled much of the world, ranging from the deserts of Australia to the snow fields of the Arctic. He has been a Ranger in various
countries and led Kayaking, rock climbing, husky mushing and hiking trips in multiple locations throughout Australasia and Europe. In addition he is a Science graduate from the Australian National University and has a keen interest in weather and climate, and holds certificates in Sailing, Windsurfing, Kayaking, and Wilderness and Remote Location First Aid.

Ross Stephen Daubney 

guide-ross21 years as a freelance guide has seen Rossco guide multi-activity tours in several countries including sea kayaking groups in NZ / Turkey and Norway. Previously the owner of 2 companies, he has worked for Nordic Ventures since 2005 where he was a key player in the development of our sea kayaking and Parabungy operation. He spends the Nordic summers working for us part time now among other operations and in the winter months heads to NZ and Australia where he still guides multi-activity groups from all around the world.


Samara Thursfield

samaraSamara has been sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman in New Zealand and has also guided in British Columbia, Canada. Samara also spends her winters skiing, in Australia, New Zealand, France or Canada. Samara enjoys spending time in the outdoors either kayaking, skiing, rock climbing and getting as much travel in as possible.