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Our Staff

Aaron Gershenzon Owner/Manager

Aaron is an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified instructor and spends most of his time paddling the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. When Aaron is not kayaking he is playing fetch with his Chocolate Lab Joni. Aaron has been collecting NBA basketball cards since he was 6 years old.

Asher Gershenzon Owner/Manager

Asher is an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified instructor. Asher worked closely with his brother in the industry for many years and is one of the most experienced and qualified instructors and guides on the Chicago River. Asher’s passion for kayaking is surpassed only by his Brazilian jujitsu skills. Come at him if you can.

James Morro Owner/Manager

James is an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified instructor. With a lifetime of recreational kayaking experience from the coast of New Zealand to the raging rapids of Colorado his love for the sport and his adventurous spirit are contagious. James is the proud owner of Larry, one of the top AKC Entlebucher’s in his breed.

Joni Heart

Joni comes from a line of therapy dogs and is “chill” like Mr. Freeze. She enjoys long walks off leash, swimming, and can play fetch for days. The frisbee is her favorite toy, followed closely by the stick then ball. She loves to cuddle.

Larry Soul

Larry is a grand champion show dog and enjoys strutting his stuff on the Riverwalk. As a natural-born herder Larry is really good at keeping the crew together. His interests and hobbies include, fetch, napping, tug of war, eating treats, bacon.

Melissa Anderson General Manager

PSIA Cert II Ski Instructor in Beaver Creek, CO for the last 6 years and 3 years leading tours at Urban Kayaks. In her free time Melissa enjoys cycling, bowling, and laser tag.

Eric Schwartz Lead Guide

Lake kayak and sailing experience, along with 4 or 5 years of Chicago river kayaking with urban kayaks. Outdoor extraordinaire and avid fisherman. Easy ladies, Eric is taken.

Jim McArdle Riverwalk Manager

Kayak tour guide by day, Chicago Cubs historian by night. Jim is an avid poker player and spends his winters skiing in Alta.

Matthew Grosh Riverwalk Manager

Matt enjoys his family with two wonderful girls and when he is not kayaking he is an artist. Urban Kayaks is lucky to have Matt as a Lead Tour Guide.

Nathan Brieva Lead Guide

Nate is a North Shore Native with global kayaking experience. In his free time Nate’s hobbies include video producer and photographing 35mm film. Nate is attending The University of Kansas with intentions of receiving degrees in entrepreneurship and film & media.

Hannah Murphy Lead Guide

Hannah is a proud Chicagoan temporarily settled along the banks of the Ole Muddy in western WI for school. Go Eagles. You can find Hannah leading outdoor trips around the midwest, at your local Dunkin Donuts, and on Instagram. “Yeeha”.

Jake Hollabaugh Tour Guide

Jake is a fitness and health enthusiast who fell in love with kayaking last summer on the Chicago River. If not on the water, you’ll find Jake at the gym, in the kitchen, or reading in his hammock by the lake.