Andrew Romanelli

Role:  Programs Manager & Instructor/Guide

Started with Alder Creek: 2010

Andrew Romanelli is a canoeist from the bountiful and calm waters of Wisconsin. The prospect of mountains and ocean has been a draw since his wee years sprouting across the pitch in the North East. Now, amidst the dynamic landscape of the PNW, Andrew is loving the plethora of paddling opportunities and developing his sea and whitewater kayaking skills. Fresh or salt, flat or white: getting on the water is always an adventure.

Other interests include camping, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cooking, eating, writing, playing music and making art. And who doesn’t like a long walk on the beach?

Dave Slover

Dave Slover

Role: Owner & Spiritual Guru

Years with Alder Creek:

Dave Slover has worked in paddlesports and the outdoors all his adult life. It all started as a troubled youth sent outdoors by his parents, the passion developed and lead to work for Outward Bound in the 70’s, raft guiding and whitewater kayaking in California, Oregon, Zimbabwe and Australia in the 80’s and starting his Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe career in the early 90’s. For 14 years Dave and Suzi owned and operated All Star Rafting and then in 2004 came back to Alder Creek as owner when we bought the business from Steve, Cindy and Keith.

Time is now spent running the kayak store, sharing his outdoors passion with new people all the time. As a husband to Suzi and father of Joey (age 18) he also leads scout trips for Troop 282 in Hood River, Oregon.

Dave is also an accomplished Alaskan adventurer. With a band of old college buddies the team of Whitewater Bandits have explored all over the State. Trips have included the Charley/Yukon, Alsek, Happy, Aniakchak, Kobuk, Italio and Hula Hula rivers.

Dave Trageser

Role: Instructor/Guide

Started with Alder Creek: 2008

Dave Trageser (DT) grew up around canoes & kayaks and sparked his love for paddlesports on the calm waters of the Charles River in Massachusetts.  DT was a full-time staff member at Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe from 2008-2015 and relished the opportunity to expand his skillset and learn from some of the very best paddlers & coaches in the paddlesports world, eventually earning certification awards for individual paddling skills & coaching from the BCU NA.  DT loves nothing more than to share his enthusiasm & excitement for kayaking & canoeing with customers & students alike, which he does loudly (perhaps too loudly) and often whenever the opportunity arises.  Whether it’s enjoying a calm & relaxing day soaking in the resplendent beauty of the Pacific Northwest in his sea kayak, or hacking his way down one of the bountiful whitewater rivers of the region, DT firmly believes that even a bad day spent on the water beats a good day doing almost anything else.

Dennis Pennell

Role: Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek:

Dennis Pennell took his first paddle trip in an inflatable kayak on a class 2+ river in northwestern North Carolina in the mid-1970s. Day and overnight canoe trips soon followed. Then in 1984, whitewater canoeing became a priority, followed by whitewater kayaking, flatwater kayaking, and sea kayaking. In 1996 he moved to Vancouver, Washington where he enjoys as much of the regions flat, white, and salt water as he can. He has kayaked and rafted many of the best whitewater rivers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and Utah, including 39 days on the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, and a trip on the Tatshenshini/Alsek through the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alaska. These days Dennis paddles canoes and kayaks of all types and rows rafts and catarafts on multi-day whitewater trips. But most of the time he is seen in a sea kayak. He works part-time for Alder Creek as an instructor and guide. Dennis feels that the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places on earth to practice this most excellent sport.

Favorite Local Paddling Spot: John Day River
Certifications: BCU Coach 2, BCU 3* Canoe, BCU 3* Sea, BCU Navigation and Tidal Planning, ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor Level 3
Best Adventures to Date: Tatshenshini/Alsek River, Colorado River-Grand Canyon, Flores Island BC, Sea of Cortez around Loreto, Baja California Sur

E Emch

Role: Instructor/Guide/Shop Hand

Started with Alder Creek: 2013

E started paddling at the ripe age of four in a recreational kayak with their parents on local lakes and rivers and that is when they met Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe. They used to take naps in their boat when out on the water and get up and start paddling again. At ten they could roll their kayak and were starting to go on longer trips. At twelve years old they started playing kayak polo with the local club that Alder Creek helped get started. Their first class through the company was when they were thirteen years old doing a Yak Attack Sea Kayaking then started working as a seasonal staff member when they were fifteen doing classes, rentals and helping around the shop, they did this every summer through highschool. After some on again/off again working and taking a couple years off they came back as a full time staff member for instruction and for working in the store in mid 2023.

In the highlight reel of their kayaking journey they were part of the US Under 21 National Team for kayak polo for two years, did sprint kayaking with the local Portland club, started SUPing about seven years ago with their partner, started canoeing eight years ago, and has done whitewater kayaking for the past five years. They also help support the Portland Kayak Polo Club and have competed in many National competitions over the years in the US and Canada. They still love all aspects of paddling in all crafts and love trying new styles of paddling.

Ethan Boswell

Role: Rental Manager & Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek: 7

Ethan hails from the desert valleys of Arizona and grew up in the outdoors. Unfortunately, water was sparse and so he was relegated to land-based sports. That all changed when he was 14, on a trip to Chile’s mighty Rio Futaleufu where he enjoyed whitewater rafting and began to learn the art of whitewater kayaking. 7 years of progression later and finally fed up with the slim pickings, Ethan decided to make a change; and so he moved port and came to rest in the lush forests, snowy peaks, and pristine rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. And let us not forget the ocean! Having worked at Alder Creek for 7 years now, Ethan loves all forms of paddling and continues to share his passion for the water through instructing the next generation of paddlers.

Karl Anderson

Role: Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek:

Karl loves to have fun. Surf, games, coaching… we think he likes grinning at least as much as he likes kayaking, which is a lot. Karl is a BCU coach 4 Sea and has been working with kids in competitive paddlesports in Portland.

Linda Neel

Role: Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek: 

My certifications are BCU 2*,  BCU COACH level 1.
First paddle experience took place about 13 yrs ago on while at a
Racquetball tournament in Wisconsin.  I immediately fell in love with
kayaking so came home and built my own wood boat.


I love paddling in the Pacific Northwest but my favorite place to Paddle is
most anywhere near Vancouver Island BC.


Best Adventures: Broken Island Group, Johnstone Straight, The San Juans.
And paddling from Portland to Astoria on the Columbia.
Retired after 44 yrs of teaching high school music.

Matt Maddalena

Role: Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek: 7

Matt started as a 5-year old “water dog” on a boogie board at Avila Beach on the Central Coast of California.  He spent many years, and every summer, playing and recreating in the local and high Sierra lakes, and along the coast of the Pacific ocean.  Matt first experienced canoeing on Northern California’s Russian River with his Scout troop.  He has always preferred wide open spaces and the great outdoors. During his senior year of high school, Matt started working for a local small business in Shell Beach, California called Central Coast Kayaks.  It was there that his love of the ocean blossomed and he found his “home”.  Matt spent the next ten years as a guide, teacher and mentor for customers of all ages and skill levels, as well as fellow employees.  Matt was often requested as the lead guide for tours through the famous Dinosaur Caves along the Shell Beach coastline.

After graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Graphic Communications, Matt started tending to Central Coast Kayak’s website and became the “go to guy” for all things involving the shop activities. Matt relocated to the Portland area with his fiancé and found a home at Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe where he has taken to everything paddle sports.  Still the “water dog” at heart, Matt enjoys free diving, scuba diving and fishing.

Meloy Ady

Meloy Ady

Role: Retail Buyer & Sales

Started with Alder Creek: 2009

Meloy Ady has been a part of the Alder Creek family since he was a child. His father, Byron Ady, is the long time book keeper for Alder Creek. Meloy was hired in 2009 at the Tualatin Rental Location, and has since moved to the sales floor of the Jantzen Beach store. In 2015, Meloy took on the role of retail buyer. He spends most of his time writing and receiving orders, helping customers and keeping the store stocked with all the awesome products you love!

Neil Schulman

Role: Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek:

Neil Schulman started paddling in Maine and eastern Canada about the time of Watergate, although he was barely tall enough to see over the gunnel of the aluminum Grumman he was in at the time.  He started whitewater kayaking in a Perception Dancer in the Northwest and eastern Scotland in the late 1980s before plunging into sea kayaking.  He likes just about anything that involves a boat, water, and wild places, with a special passion for long open-coastal sea kayak trips: he’s spent much of the past ten summers paddling the west coast of British Columbia.  He writes and photographs regularly for Adventure Kayak, Wild Coast Publishing, Mount Baker Experience, Portland Outisder, and Canoe & Kayak: his work has also appeared in The Oregonian, Sea Kayaker, California Paddler. His images were used in campaign to protect Oregon wilderness, signed into law by President Obama in 2009.  You can see his writing and photography at  In his “other career”, he does environmental work, and co-founded the Confluence Environmental Center, which builds future environmental leaders.

Rod Richards

Role: Sales & Instructor/Guide

Years with Alder Creek: 

Hailing from New York State, Rod Richards picked up a paddle at the age of six as bowman on a multi-lake Adirondack canoe trip. He cut his heavy weather teeth sailboat racing all over New England and the Pacific Northwest, so he’s no stranger to lumpy water. But the kayaking bug bit hard in 2003-4 as he began dabbling in the kayak importing and distribution business – working some of his vacation time at the Feelfree Kayak booth at the Outdoor Retailer trade show. By 2005 he had left his office job and began crisscrossing the Pacific as the Feelfree brand manager. So Rod has paddling experience in the USA but also the rivers of Thailand (yes, the river Kwai too) and the Laos uplands, including the Mekong’s fault line at flood stage. Rod brings experience with industry players and customers alike.

He’s a tireless promoter of paddlesports and he evangelizes outdoor recreation’s benefits. He loves coaching because it helps people enjoy the sport more and never tires of getting experience-enhancing gear into customer’s hands, and he’s energized by satisfied customers sharing their successes with him.

He was a co-founder of PaddleNW Meetup, which has organized hundreds of trips since 2007. He’s also been a board member of We Love Clean Rivers, a non-profit dedicated to using river recreation as a catalyst for environmental restoration.

You can find him at the coast, or up in the Puget Sound finding a secluded kayak camping spot. Or maybe in the pool wrangling a boat with a cockpit and two pointy ends.

Suzi Elle

Role: Owner & Human Resources

Years with Alder Creek:

Suzi Elle is the glue that holds Alder Creek together. Human resources, reservations, lead coordinator at Lumpy Waters Symposium and all round leader of the team. Always positive and always looking for the good, Suzi sets the tone at the shop and for all the staff.

In her spare time Suzi is a mother to Joey, wife to Dave and outrigger paddler extraordinaire.