Kayak coach, entrepreneur, writer.
"My dad took us canoeing when I was a kid. I still picture him, painter over his shoulder, towing my sister and I up a cold, shallow Catskills stream, whistling as he waded. When I was older, he'd do donuts around my canoe in his motorboat to challenge my balance."
During college summers, Ginni took teenage girls on overnight canoe trips in the Adirondacks. "It was so fun it didn't feel like a job. I never knew one could do this in real life!"
"Why don't you get a kayak, learn to paddle it, drive me to Mexico, and tag along for the season?" A whimsical invitation from kayak guide Hans Bruning in 1998 introduced Ginni to both sea kayaking and the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico.
Though never able to hold down an indoor job for an entire year, Ginni Callahan has actually survived on sea kayaking for over 17. She is now a BCU 5-star Sea Leader and Level 4 coach, and ACA Level 5 Instructor. She founded and co-owns Columbia River Kayaking, and Sea Kayak Baja Mexico. With Mark Whitaker, she imports Flat Earth Kayak Sails and Sea Kayaking UK (Nigel Dennis Kayaks). With Anna Mallin, she publishes paddling guides to the Loreto National Marine Park.
She organized on-water instruction at the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium for several years and organized the Lower Columbia Kayak Roundup in Cathlamet, WA, for 5 years. She travels to coaching events in such exotic places as Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Chicago, Michigan, South Carolina, Anglesey, and Vancouver Island.
Remote paddling destinations without bears, bugs, or ice intrigue her. In 2008 she paddled to the Pacific Baja islands of Cedros and Natividad with Axel Schoevers, and went solo in 2009 to Santa Catalina, the most remote island in the Loreto National Marine Park, renowned for its endemic rattleless rattlesnakes, of which she saw none. In 2105 she circumnavigated Angel de la Guarda Island in the remote northern Gulf of California with Justine Curgenven, Santiago Berruetta, Ramon Arce, Dick Lampman, and foot-pump desalinators.
Ginni built two wooden boats, Pygmy Boats' Arctic Tern and Arctic Tern 14. She was featured in Justine Curgenven's original "This is the Sea" video and in several magazine articles. Published writing includes a Baja trip planner for Adventure Kayak magazine, a piece in Steady as She Goes: Women's Adventures at Sea, occasional articles for Ocean Paddler Magazine, and a personal blog called kayaktravel. She is also a breast cancer survivor who wants to give hope to others undergoing that journey.
In 2012, she played hooky from it all and sailed across the Pacific Ocean with Henrick Lindström on his 36' sailboat Misty with 2 Romany kayaks aboard. They hope to continue the adventure someday, sailing from New Zealand back into the islands.<