At Turning Point, we strive for excellence in everything we do. It goes much deeper than building the best boats possible. We are committed to being positive role models for our paddling community and value the connection it brings. The paddlers here have been selected to be Ambassadors because of who they are. While being accomplished and highly skilled, they also share the values that we strive to live by everyday, on and off the water.
We do things differently for a reason, the people who are paddling our boats are the people who represent us. Instead of doing the traditional demo day for a brief experience of one of our boats, the ambassadors will provide a personal demo and advice coming from their own first hand experience. The goal is to help you make the right decision for you. Feel free to drop us a line to be connected with any one of them for a demo.
Nick Schade | Groton, CT
When he was three Nick’s mother wouldn’t let him paddle a kayak called “Fang” but she let his older brother. When he was 9 Nick’s father built a kayak from a kit, and once again his brother got to use it more than he did.
In 1984 Nick started therapy for these childhood trauma’s by purchasing a whitewater kayak. He found he used that kayak mostly on the ocean and in 1986 decided what he really needed was a sea kayak. Being a recent college graduate with no money, he sat down on the floor of his parents dining room and designed his first kayak.
He built that first kayak out of wood and fiberglass. Paddling around island off the coast of Maine he found his calling. As his skills on the water improved, he designed and built more kayaks until some of them were pretty good.
In 1993 started started Guillemot Kayaks to sell his designs and help other people get out on the water in homemade boats. His boat are being made all around the world. His designs are renowned for their beauty and performance on the water.
While he has yet to fully recover from the early traumas, he continues to self medicate by getting on the water as often as possible. He feels that getting saltwater up your nose while breaking out through the surf zone will cure just about anything and does his best to get other people hooked on making and using kayaks as often as possible.
While it is hard to get a designer to critique their own designs, we will have to speak for him. Nick wiped the slate clean and started from scratch when he started designing the Petrel series of kayaks. His no nonsense blend of form and function deliver unmatched performance in an incredibly artful form. It is his designs that were the inspiration to start Turning Point, they are just that good.
Stephen Kuhl | Omaha, Nebraska
Residing in a part of the country not normally associated with sea kayaking, Steve pursues every “on the water” opportunity life presents, including a diversity of conditions ranging from rivers to coastal. Steve formally lives in Nebraska and has developed intimate familiarity with numerous Midwest bodies of waters of significance; the Missouri River being one of his “backyard” favorites.
Steve has spent significant time paddling the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf across the U.S., Canada and South America. As the ACA Director for Nebraska, Steve has been active in promoting awareness of the unique opportunities associated with the Missouri National Recreation River. In addition, he’s worked with the National Park Service, NE Game and Parks and related outdoor organizations in conducting training workshops. Steve is an ACA L4 instructor and can be reached at Kuhlkayak@gmail.com.
"Functional beauty instantly came to mind, upon encountering the Petrel Play for the first time. Having years of experience with numerous sea kayaks of notoriety; encompassing all “shapes and sizes”, it was evident the Petrel was a “cut above”. With distinctive aesthetics, including pronounced, bow-stern curves and a certain “stout yet athletic” design, the Petrel immediately captured my attention.
The Petrel additionally checks off all the boxes with highly competent dimensions for adeptly performing in variety of conditions. Irrespective of whether one is covering distance in relatively calm water, all the way to energetic outings on rough waters surf, the Petrel conveys confidence with its stability profile, strong tracking and overall responsiveness. In dynamic environments, the Petrel excels with all bracing and edging maneuvers. Furthermore, the Petrel is a joy to roll, providing exceptional connectivity with the paddler.
Suffice to say, if there was only one kayak, I could retain in my fleet, it would without a doubt be the Petrel Play." - Stephen Kuhl
Gerry Polinsky | Essex, Connecticut
Gerry is a accomplished paddler/instructor based in Essex Connecticut. He prides himself on coaching in active open water conditions. Gerry is the owner of Sea Sherpa Kayak and holds an ACA L5 Instructor, as well as BC 5 Star Instructor awards. Although he is highly skilled as a paddler, our favorite attributes are his infectious "kid-like" sense of humor and intelligent, but often made up, descriptive vocabulary. His approach to kayaking is simple, squeeze as much fun and adventure, as humanly possible, out of every trip. His coaching style is described as a "top tips" style, designed to get the most from every student by exploiting strengths to encourage growth. If you want to have heaps of fun while expanding your skills, go see Gerry.
Gerry can be reached at seasherpakayak.onmicrosoft.com
"Truthfully, I was dubious about this boat. With all the best “play” sea kayaks being in the 16’ range, my assumption, with nothing to compare it to, was that a 14’ boat would be too slow to tour to the venues or to catch faster moving waves in tide races and shore surf. Wow, was I off the mark Nick Schade’s design makes this boat crazy stable and responsive while Joey’s build resulted in a fantastic looking, super stout (impact resistant) and stiff (virtually no deflection) end result. Between the design, build and insanely low weight of 40 lbs, I can easily keep up all day with advanced paddlers in their 18’ boats expedition Brit boats. "- Gerry Polinski
Nick Oyler | Hampden, Maine
Nick is an instructor based in the Hampden, Maine area. He’s an avid Greenland style paddler, roller, and coach. When he’s not paddling and rolling in local waters, you’ll find Nick in search of dynamic water up and down the east coast.
Nick is thrilled to add the Petrel Play to his fleet of kayaks. With it’s wide versatility, the Petrel Play has quickly become his ‘go-to’ kayak for anything from rough water ocean play and surf to casual paddles on local lakes.
If you’re in the New England area and interested in giving the Petrel Play a try, feel free to reach out to Nick on social media @SwiftCreekKayaks.
Dorsey DeMaster | Gainesville, Florida
Dorsey is an instructor based in the Nature Coast area of Florida. She’s passionate about connecting and mentoring kayakers new to the sport, learning from the gurus in the Tampa Bay and other areas around the state, and if you say “rescue practice” she’s in (literally)!
In August 2021, Dorsey became the first female veteran and 34th person to complete the Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail (CT). This accomplishment and promotion of the 501(c)3 all-volunteer organization that supports CT paddlers, earned her being selected as the President of the Florida Paddling Trails Association (FPTA) - the first CTer to hold the position since FPTA was established in 2007. “Being selected as the President of the FPTA was just as, if not more, humbling than the experience of paddling the CT.”
Dorsey is excited to add the Petrel Play to her fleet of kayaks. The Petrel Play is a diverse kayak perfect for playing in the Tampa surf to paddling in the sparkling Florida springs. “Nimble and fun; the Petrel has a mind-body connection like no other kayak I have been in.”
If you’re in the Florida Nature Coast or Tampa Bay area and interested in giving the Petrel Play a try, feel free to reach out to Dorsey on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Nissenbaum | Seattle, Washington
Based out of the Seattle area in the Pacific Northwest, Robert Nissenbaum has kayaked much of Puget Sound, including the San Juan Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and out on the Pacific Coast. He is currently on a quest to cover the entire Puget Sound coastline. One of his favorite playgrounds is Deception Pass.
Robert is thrilled to add the Petrel Play to his fleet as it’s perfectly suited for the dynamic waters of Puget Sound.
A certified instructor, Robert’s passion is coaching newer paddlers, working with them at their pace rather than following a structured curriculum. When not coaching on the water, he’s teaching a variety of classes including practical navigation and understanding tides, currents, and weather.
In addition to private instruction, Robert is a trip leader and instructor with the North Sound Sea Kayak Association, the Washington Kayak Club, and a guide with local outfitters. He holds the BC Coastal Sea Kayak Award (4 Star) as well as ACA’s Advanced Communications instructor endorsement working with those with speech, language, visual, and/or hearing disabilities.
If you are in the PNW, contact Robert to schedule a demo of the Petrel Play.