Conservation - Shawn Stanley

Has been kayaking for 1.5 years, focused on progressing his whitewater skills and helping clean up our local rivers.

President - Jerry Smith

Has been a whitewater kayaker and local raft guide since 2016. Jerry enjoys all aspects of the outdoors and being able to introduce new people to it. Jerry is a professional firefighter with the city of elizabethton and has been serving his community since 2006. He believes safety is vital to enjoying any activity and loves to help teach these safety skills. Jerry is certified to teach CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Aid, Bloodborne pathogens, CABS, AED, Emergency Oxygen, and Advanced First Aid. Most of the time you can find him on one of the local rivers, hiking on a local trail or spending time with his wonderful wife and 3 kids who also kayak.

Social Director - Steven Adams

Has been kayaking since 2001.  He facilitates his evening and weekend paddling by working as a chemical research technician at Eastman.  Steven enjoys paddling class II/III with his son and III/IV+ with fellow APEs.  Having originated from Chattanooga, TN he is most familiar with Tellico & Ocoee and can easily be talked into a road trip there.  Taking pride in his old boats look for him on the Noli or Doe in his overflow or wavesport Y sometime. 

Vice President - Brad Eldridge

Brad has been an outdoor enthusiast his entire life. He started whitewater canoeing in 2013, after a friend, and founding member of APES, gave him an old school C1. Day one was very challenging, even in flat water, but the adventure was on! Former Captain of the APES Swim Team, Brad has moved on to a support role on the Team. Currently Brad enjoys both whitewater canoeing and kayaking, and is an ACA Level 3 kayak instructor. He enjoys paddling throughout the Southeast, and helping new people. He is focused on safety, skill progression, and having fun on the water!  

Website Maintainer - Jeremy Whitaker

Began whitewater kayaking in 2016 after taking the beginner course with the APES. While still a beginner, his favorite river to paddle on is the lower Nolichucky. In addition to kayaking, Jeremy enjoys several other outdoor activities, including: whitewater rafting, hiking, disc golf, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.  Originally from NC, Jeremy attended NC State University, and he is now a chemical engineer at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, TN.

~Monthly-ish meeting

~A quartery electronic newsletter


~Annual Nolichucky River Clean-up in July


~Beginner kayak clinic in June


~Swiftwater Rescue and Advanced

Swiftwater Rescue Courses


~$10 off American Whitewater membership


~1st-Timers Nolichucky Gorge River Run


~APEs Annual Winter Meeting


~Whitewater trips ranging from class II - V


~Flatwater, lake, and sea kayaking trips


~Discounts at many local outfitters



Our Mission

Major purpose of the APES is to provide a place where people can coordinate trips and learn new rivers with experienced paddlers. Benefits and activities for members include:

What We Offer

Secretary/Treasurer - Mindy Holcomb

Mindy has been flat water kayaking for only a few years now. She enjoys paddling down the Clinch River on a two-person sit-on-top kayak with her daughter Emma, along with her sisters Patrice Riesenberg and Tanya McClellan. Her husband, Jim, won’t paddle hard enough to keep up with the group, so he’s not invited anymore.

She also enjoys reading, counted cross-stitch, and cooking. The Holcomb family has two crazy dogs, a beagle named Lily and a terrier mix named Buttercup (who looks a lot like Benji).

Cruise Director - Class III-IV - Wesley Bradley

He's been a paddler since 1994, member of Team Jackson Kayak and the Tri-Cities World Kayak Ambassador.  He is a lifelong resident of Elizabethton, TN and he loves to play outdoors in his local region with his adventurous wife.  He works as an architectural designer and project manager during the work week in Kingsport, TN.  Most other times you can find him shredding on his alpine skis, smashing berms on his mountain bike, cranking out some miles on his road bike or riding the whitewater in his kayak!

TEHCC Liaison - Andy Steffan

Andy has enjoyed recreational kayaking and rafting since he was old enough to take trips.  In 2016, he took his first whitewater kayaking class at NOC and has since been to several pool sessions and been on a few local rivers.  He just got his first roll in Feb. 2018.  In addition to kayaking, Andy enjoys hiking, watching NC State athletics, and home improvement projects with his wife Jackie.  When not enjoying the outdoors, Andy is in the Process Safety Design group at Eastman Chemical.

Cruise Director - Touring & Class I-II - Debbie Briscoe

Deb started paddling on the Watauga in 1996 and soon was introduced into whitewater on other rivers changing her life forever. She has concentrated her efforts on conservation and introducing new enthusiasts to the sport. She held the conservation chair off & on for 13 years and still volunteers for local river cleanups. The last decade she has been a leader in organizing trips for new paddlers on the Watauga as well as flat water events like Paddle to the Grill and multi-day trips for touring kayakers. When not paddling Deb is a home care business owner and member of many other outdoor groups that offer hiking, backpacking and hammock camping adventures. 

 Copyright ©  Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts

Website designed and created by Erin Bradley-Weatherford

Cruise Director - Class II-III - Jerry Griffin

Married to Joan, we have one son Keith Harrison and four grandchildren ages 18-to-28. Retired from Century Link in Dec. 2014. Took my first overnight canoe camping trip while at Boy Scout Camp in 1963 on South Holston Lake.

After school and getting career in telecommunication started became involved again in Boy Scouts in 1980 as adult leader of my old troop. Most of the boys were older and looking for more than car camping once a month and a week at summer camp. So, we started a high adventure program where we would do week long backpacking or canoe camping trips on class II rivers every year. We also became nationally recognized as U.S. Forest Service Volunteers doing trail building and maintenance on Cherokee National Forest.

Around 1996 or 97 for insurance reasons with BSA I needed more formal training and some kind of certification for river trips. So, I went in search of APEs, took their beginner whitewater clinic (that year ratio of canoes to kayaks was about equal) and have been a member ever since.

No longer paddle a canoe, found out air rides at more comfortable and a camper is better than sleeping on the ground. Open to paddle class I-III most days of the week.

Safety/Education - Ryan Shealy

Officer Biographies

Find out more about your officers!