|Sherri Mertz is an ACA-certified instructor in sea kayaking, river kayaking, SUP, and canoeing. She has been paddling for 30 years and teaching since the mid 90's. Sherri spent 9 years working as paddlesports department manager for a specialty outdoor store and now runs her own business teaching kids and adults how to paddle while maintaining a fleet of over 100 boats and boards.
Carl Vopal bought his first sea kayak from Sherri Mertz, about 15 years ago. A few years later when searching for a kayak with more leg room, the 19-foot expedition sea kayak he bought turned out to be very difficult to control when it was not loaded with a month's worth of gear. Thus began Carl's quest to invent a practical ballast system for sea kayaks, and to further improve his own paddling skills. He invented and patented the Paddling Partner Ballast System and has achieved certification as an ACA L1 Kayak Instructor with an L2 skills rating. Carl has now become an avid advocate for getting people excited about sea kayaking. He assists Sherri with high school physical education classes and enjoys showing the kids that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.