GIG HARBOR CANOE AND KAYAK RACING TEAM

Aaron Huston - Head Coach and High Performance Coach

Aaron Huston has easily been described as a man with many talents. When he isn't running our team he is either cooking extravagant meals with his 3 children and wife at home, or flying planes over the west coast, or working his job as a nurse practitioner, making new episodes of his podcast, or picking up the latest hobby that has taken his interest. In the past, he has started and coached many teams, some of which involve swimming, chess, instruments, olympic weightlifting, medical training, rafting, and much more. 

His background is full of serving people. He graduated from Harvard with a medical degree in order to do so! His passion for training and equipping people through coaching started when he got to be a counselor at an outdoor science camp. His love for helping and challenging young people was ignited and our team has found him to be such a gift these many years later. 

Aaron gives so much for the betterment of our athletes and coaches. Even with all his qualifications and experience coaching athletes from little kids to olympians, we value his character above all.

 

 

Contact Coach Aaron

   


 

 Alan Anderson - Coach / Founder

From a young age, Alan has always been a dreamer, adventurer, man of grit. He has two adult children, a denture business in the area, and a local hike that he's made to a cliffside where he and his neighbor bobcat go to clear their minds. A fun, not commonly known fact about Alan is that his record at Pizza Hut's all-you-can-eat night is 33 pieces... including crusts. He was born in Tillicum and has lived in Washington ever since but that never kept him from traveling the world.

Alan got his first kayak in 1982 which started him on a path of kayak racing. Here are some favorite memories of his:

"Sea to Summit (2 day adventure race), Vancouver, British Columbia to Whistler Mountain (1996-2002). In '96 I entered this inaugural event in B.C. with 70 other competitors, mostly local B.C. folks that wanted to enjoy a "suffer fest" in the beautiful B.C. Coastal range. By the time I finally won gold in 2001 with my teammate Mark Gosney, it was the largest race of its kind in the world... some 600 kayaks on the starting line with competitors from all over the continent! On the podium that year, I was recognized for being the first to ever sign up back in '96! The attraction for me in the years I dedicated to this event was not so much about beating others, but rather winning the more challenging internal battles that every successful athlete must wage. [Another event] was the World Masters Games - Kayak Marathon - Melbourne, Australia 2002. After 3 or 4 miles, 2 k2's had left the field behind... for seven miles the Australian team tried to shake the U.S. boat off its stern wake to no avail... finally, the U.S. boat made its move in front of a huge crowd at the 1/2 way point... for the next mile or so, the Australian's hung tough riding wake... then the U.S. boat started a series of 30 second intervals.... it took 4 of these to break the Australian's spirit. That night, Mark and I enjoyed the ceremonies with gold medals around our necks!"

Today, Alan gets loads of enjoyment watching young people grow to love the sport. He loves seeing the kids face their fears when first getting started. He loves seeing them rewarded for their hard work and passion when they stand on the podium. We know Alan as one of the best storytellers of his time. He inspires people. He challenges people. He creates opportunities that no one else would have dreamed of. He started GHCKRT with nothing and has gained the love and respect of hundreds of athletes, coaches, and parents across the paddling world. Words can not come close to capturing the character of this man.

 

 

Contact Coach Alan

 

Read about the Alan Anderson Trophy


Alyson Morse - Group 1 Coach

Alyson grew up locally in Gig Harbor with a family of 3 brothers and a sister. She used to show horses in 4-H from 3rd grade until mid highschool when she chose to focus on competing in sprint kayaking for GHCKRT after already paddling for 3 years. The sport led her all around the country and world for competition and became her passion very quickly. 

Mainly due to the incredible influence of Coach Alan and Jon on her life, she chose to pursue the same career as a coach. "My character was so shaped by Alan and Jon in a positive way that I wanted to gain the skills and knowledge to be able to do that for future generations." She had dreams of racing at the highest point possible so she moved to Oklahoma City to help coach the local kayak team there and train with the fasest women in the country after graduating highschool in 2014. The university shortly after her moving there cut programming with the sport resulting in Alyson finishing her time there as a rower  in order to help her obtain her Human Performance degree. 

Since the fall of 2018 she has moved back to Gig to coach this team. She loves people sincerely. The best way she does so is by building them up and challenging them to grow to be more than just a great athlete, but to be a person with strong character withstanding what life throws at them. 

Contact Coach Alyson


Payton Chiou - Group 1 Coach

Payton has been with the team as an athlete since 2007. Starting in 2018 he began coaching as the group 1 assistant coach. His type of coaching has enhanced the caliber of our athlete's ability to withstand heavy resistance. Possibly due to his own training as being in the National Guard, he has the ability to stir our members on to push past the physical limits they may perceive for themselves. 

In his time away from coaching he is most commonly found(Cheezit box in hand) doing absurd amounts of pushups, lifting heavy things and throwing them around, climbing the sides of buildings in a spider-man fashion, or possibly frolicking in local daisy fields. 


Kyle Field - Assistant Group 2 and 3 Coach

Kyle has been on the kayak team from a very young age. His brother and him joined together and pretty quickly became talented paddlers who competed across the world. Kyle has remarkable drive and dedication to whatever he puts his mind to. Currently he is coaching on our team as a development team assistant coach while attending a rigorous engineering program at a local university. He loves going on hikes of all sorts(especially really challenging ones) with his dog Zophie, friends, and family. You might even catch him jumping some hills on his dirt bike while singing out some AC/DC. One of his favorite colors is hot pink with tiger stripes, his favorite flavor is cucumber, and he can probably bench more than you can squat. 

Kyle has big aspirations to grow his skills in the engineering world but he still cares about the development of our team while he pursues that. Our athletes love his goofy humor, high standards of athletic performance, and steady leadership on race days.

 


Sadie Hanks - Development Team Coach

Sadie has given a lot of her time to GHCKRT. From the time she was 2 she was paddling in kayaks but joined the team as a canoer in the year 2012. In 2018 she began coaching as an intern then developed in her leadership to be the Development Team Coach for groups 2 and 3. 

Sadie is known for the joy that she brings to any situation. It could be pouring rain in 35 degrees and you will see the kids with high energy ready to work hard because of Coach Sadie's inspiration. She has a gift for serving young athletes by being personable, encouraging, and skilled in her craft.

When she is not coaching she is studying for her Associate's Degree, spending time with her cat, watering her plants, planning her next backpacking adventure, or helping out friends and family with genuine care. Sadie is multi-talented and has blessed this team with her presence and work ethic. 

Contact Coach Sadie

 


Tod Cole - Head Master's Coach

Coach Tod got involved in the paddling world in Gig Harbor 2014. He is the owner of Recluse Leather works & inventor with a U.S. Patent as a lifetime carpenter. It's easy to say he enjoys building things. Tod volunteers with Pierce County Search & Rescue 4x4 Unit. He loves hiking in the mountains, photography, or pedaling a bicycle. Something that not many people know about Tod is that he holds the Bonneville Salt Flats Motorcycle Land Speed Record holder: AMA 650-APS BG @ 162.47 mph.

Tod has an eye for coaching by observing the little things. His goals are to continue learning & helping others learn how to meet their goals as they enjoy the sport. Currently he heads up the Masters Team of adults on GHCKRT. Everyone he coaches can agree that he does everything he does with a spirit of excellence.

Contact Coach Tod 

 

 


Jonathan Sousley - Coach Emeritus

Jonathan Sousley is another legend alongside Alan Anderson in the history of GHCKRT. He was the strength and canoe coach for the team back in the beginning. Many of the current coaches were under his leadership when they used to be athletes on the team. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife to be closer to sunny skies, and his two children who also used to paddle on the team. He's coached many people whether it was water related, soccer, or life in general. He loves adventure and being healthy and active. 

Jon loves people so well by the way he meets them where they are at and gives them the stepping stones to move toward better things. He is an inspiration, encouraging, perservering, faithful, and fun. It was the most difficult time to see him move from Gig Harbor but we still enjoy it when he makes visits back and yet again pours into the newest generation of paddlers in the Harbor.