Jacob Weigandt

Meet Jake – Sea Kayak Guide, Bike Mechanic & Isle Royale Guide

Jake grew up in the North Woods of Wisconsin, on a small lake, miles away from the nearest town. While other kids were spending their free time playing video games and hanging out with friends Jake spent his time in the woods. From a young age he developed an appreciation for nature and silent sports such as biking, cross country skiing, and kayaking. His parents chose to home school for the initial years of his education, which allowed him to pursue his passion for learning about the flora and fauna of the Midwest. Even when he did enter the public-school system later in life he continued to expand his knowledge in this area during his free time, as well as developing a strong interest in wilderness survival skills.

Uncertain of a career path to pursue after high school Jake attended community college in Madison WI. He studied a variety of subjects, hoping to discover a new passion that may lead to some sort of vocation. Although he did well in school, conventional education didn’t lead him to his calling. After several years of study, he decided to take some time off and traveled to Central America. In the jungle of Costa Rica, he found a way of life that he truly loved. Jake started working for Pacific Journeys, first as a volunteer, then as an assistant guide. He helped run overnight and single day rappelling, canyoning, and hiking tours to the Diamante and Nauyacca waterfalls. Once he discovered this line of work he enthusiastically applied himself, gaining certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue Technician, and Technical Rope Rescue Technician through Rescue 3 International. He also developed a broad knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Eventually he because a lead guide for the rappelling and canyoning tours, as well as the lead naturalist guide.

Jake found an abundance of opportunities in the vibrant eco-tourism industry of Costa Rica, working for several companies in a variety of positions. He led multi day whitewater rafting, backpacking, mountain climbing, surf, and scuba trips in Costa Rica and in the neighboring countries of Panama and Nicaragua. He also became more involved with Rescue 3 International, eventually working as a TA, getting paid to maintain his certifications while helping pass those skills on to others. His love for the outdoors and enthusiasm for travel also led him to other countries with successful outdoor adventure industries. He worked 2 seasons on the South Island of New Zealand as a surf instructor and sea kayak guide. There he gained additional certifications as a Marine VHF Opporator, New Zealand Coast Guard Day Skipper, International Surf Association Surf Instructor, New Zealand Surf Coach, and joined the New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association. He also had the opportunity to paddle with legendary paddlers such as Mike Walker, 2-time winner of the Katmandu Coast to Coast race and one of the most renowned surf ski paddlers in the country. His paddling skills have never improved more dramatically than during this time.

Jake’s love for the Midwest kept bringing him back though. Between seasons guiding in various
parts of the world he would return to guide kayak trips on Lake Michigan, based in Door County WI. He guided here for 3 seasons, and has many treasured memories of paddling, surfing, and sailing on the great lakes. It has always been a dream of his to guide trips on Lake Superior, the largest lake in the world. Jake is excited to fulfill that dream this year and couldn’t be happier to join the amazing team at the Keweenaw Adventure Company for his first season.

 

Wilderness First Responder
Swift Water Rescue Technician
Technical Rope Rescue Technician through Rescue 3 International
Marine VHF Operator
New Zealand Coast Guard Day Skipper
International Surf Association Surf Instructor
New Zealand Surf Coach
New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association