Meet the 2022 Board Members
January 22, 2022
NEW - Sean Millington President
I started kiting in 2017 and although it took me longer than most to get up and riding, once I did I was hooked. The feeling of being pulled along the water is exhilarating and that pales in comparison to launching myself high in the air and floating above it all. Every new season I feel the same thrill of anticipation and look forward to another summer of fun on the water. Athletics has always been a way of life for me and most notably I spent over a decade playing football in the CFL. If I didn't know it before, playing as a professional taught me the value of teamwork and the importance of everyone doing their job and staying in their lane.
I am interested in joining the SWS board because I am hopeful that the skills I have acquired over the years can be put to good use in helping all of us to continue to enjoy the sport we all love. As a kiting community we face some very big challenges this year and it is my hope that I can be of assistance in creating a positive outcome. Leadership is always demanding and should I be selected to serve in that capacity I will utilize everything I have learned over the years to ensure a successful kiting season in 2022.
Nikki Layton Vice- President
Nikki has been kiting for 5 years and has managed to check out a few different kiting areas, Maui, La Ventana, Isla Blanca, Tofino and Squamish. While the warm water is a plus Squamish is still her top site for kiting. Nikki has been working on her jumps and tricks but is also working on her foiling skills. When she isn't kiting she likes to get out climbing and hiking with her partner and dog. Nikki has successfully run and exited 2 businesses and now has more time to spend volunteering and enjoying her favourite activities.
Joshua Viner Treasurer
Josh joined the board in 2015 after 5 summers of kiteboarding in Squamish. His first kite lessons took place near Wellington, NZ in 2009 and has been addicted ever since. Now living in Squamish, he spends most of his summer at the Spit when he isn’t travelling for work. His work in hospitality management has a strong correlation in keeping a close eye on the numbers.
NEW - Will Schwenger Secretary
Coming from a competitive sailing background, I started kiting in 2012, taking my first few lessons with Daniel Medysky (Sam's dad) while attending university in Ontario. I became a member of SWS in 2014 after moving to Vancouver and falling in love with Howe Sound.
What I enjoy the most about kiting is the feeling of flying that so many of us chase. I can most often be found upwind chasing river bumps and wind chop strapless or on a foil. Recently I have given into the dark side and spent most of last season wing-dinging.
Day to day I am a project manager for a commercial truck manufacturer, overseeing the production of utility equipment, dump trucks, snow plows, & cranes. A large part of my job is working with all stakeholders to understand the requirements and devise a solution that best fits the customer’s needs. I specialize in the continuous improvement and the adaptation of new technologies to meet ever changing industry standards.
I am interested in joining the SWS board because I think it is important to maintain access to Howe Sound (for all - not just wind sport enthusiasts) and believe that we should continue working with the various stakeholders to prove that we are committed to the environmental stewardship of the waters we enjoy playing on. As Secretary I'd prepare the agenda for all meetings by messaging the board beforehand to obtain agenda items, send the agenda out prior to meetings, take minutes, distribute said minutes afterwards, and fulfill SWS's other obligations under the Societies Act.
Loren Parfitt Operations
Loren has been kiteboarding for 9 years. He learned to kite in Nitinat but was intimidated by kiting at the Spit in the early days. The scene has changed a lot since then and is much more welcoming. Since 2015 he might be there more than anyone on windy days. Living and working in Squamish he takes full advantage of the wind and If it's really cranking he will take a "long" lunch at work... He has spent a lot of time working with the current and past spit managers on the SWS systems in the sea can.
NEW - Olivier Corbeil Community Relations
I am a Squamish resident and I will be beginning my 4th season at the Spit this year. I believe I could be a great fit for this role as I consider myself wearing multiple hats in the current Spit removal project: I absolutely love kiteboarding at the Spit and having raced sailboats around the world since the age of 10, I can certainly confirm that the Spit is an exceptional location for wind sports in Summer. On the other hand, I also enjoy fishing in Squamish and I follow closely the conservation efforts to save our fish stocks. That being said, I am all about preserving access to the Spit for the entire community, as it is one of the very few public access to our waterfront.
I am a remote sales manager for a large building material corporation and I work closely with most of the large developers in Vancouver. I have great communication skills and I am very interested in local politics. I have also been on the board of the University of Montreal Rowing Club as the VP Finance in 2014-2015. I would like to get more involved on the relationship between the SWS and the various communities/stakeholders around Squamish, like the Municipal Council, the native communities, the local residents, the developers, and so on.
Squamish is in a pivotal moment with its fast growth and I believe that a great relationship between the local communities and the windsports enthusiasm will allow the SWS to thrive for years to come, but now is the time to act and highlight the importance of preserving safe water access to the multiple Squamish stakeholders.
David Bowden Legal
David has been on the Board since the 2019 season. He is from Atlanta by way of Toronto. David moved to BC in 2018, after talking with people in Mexico about the reliable thermal system that kicks in during the Summer months in Squamish. He is also a lawyer, although typically he does not lead with that fact in personal introductions.
Troy McNamara Communications
Troy is a sailor turned kiter for about 8 years now. Originally from Dublin, Ireland he is now a permanent resident of Canada. Though he lives in Vancouver he has family who settled in Squamish 30 years ago so is no stranger to the Spit and the other pleasures Squamish has to offer. He is Managing Director of a marketing and design agency and offers these skills and knowledge to the SWS when the wind is below 15 knots.
Steve Tulk Co-Events
Steve started Kiteboarding in Squamish in 2009, getting one lesson on Bozo Beach from a now-defunct kite school. The lesson was terrible, but it was enough to make him buy some crappy gear and learn on his own. Many humbling sessions later, he’s still learning and getting out as much as possible with his 2 boys Jordan and Griffin, and his partner Sheila. Steve has been on the board for the past 8 years, and along with Sheila, puts on the annual KiteClash event drawing athletes and spectators from around the world.
NEW - Sam Medysky Co-Events
Sam Medysky has been kiteboarding since the age of 8 when he and his father, Daniel Medysky, a high school physical education teacher took up this radically new extreme sport on the sandy shores of Sauble Beach, Ontario, Canada. In 2001, the father and son team opened one of Canada’s first kiteboarding schools, Kiterider Canada. After 21 years of operation and having taught over 3500 students, the kite school has introduced many individuals to the sport of kiteboarding. In 2004, Sam won the Junior title at the US Open Velocity Games. This event sparked Sam’s career as a professional kiteboarder at the age of 13. After graduation from high school, Sam began his travels in Brazil to pursue his career as a professional kiteboarder and to train internationally. Sam has become a seven-time Canadian national champion, 2014 AWSI rider of the year, and one of the top North American riders competing internationally. Competition and training have taken Sam to some of the top kiteboarding locations around the world. His passion for the wind, water, and dedication has led to a reality of a childhood dream to be a professional kiteboarder. Currently, at the age of 31 years old, Sam has continued his career in the Kiteboarding industry and has joined the Airush family and taken over as sales manager for the Americas. Although his current day-to-day looks a bit different from his days as an athlete he is still as passionate about the sport as ever.
Geoffrey "Chuck" Waterson Director at Large
Chuck has been kiteboarding for 18 years. He learnt to kite in New Zealand, where he is originally from but has travelled the world to find good kite spots. He and his wife, Alex, moved to Canada for business in 2014 and quickly settled in Squamish for the wind. Chuck has been on the SWS board for 6 years. In the summer you will usually find him on the water or sharing coaching tips from the beach. When he’s not kiting, Chuck is usually out enjoying the rest of the Squamish outdoor playground.
Izabella Shalygina Director at Large
Izabella's dad taught her how to kitesurf when she was a teenager so she has been kiting for 7 years and exploring the best destinations all around the world. This year she met amazing people that introduced her to kitesurfing in BC and so Squamish became one of her favourite spots. For work, Izabella is an accountant in Vancouver based publicly-traded company. Izabella shyly admits she is a bit of a data nerd, so endless excel tables and numbers are her favourite things after kiting.
Ned Atkins Director at Large
Ned grew up flying old-school power kites on the big flat beaches of southwest England, He moved to BC in 2004 and learned to kiteboard in la Ventana 2012. He now lives in Squamish with his young family and works as a civil engineer designing hydraulic structures. You are most likely to run into Ned on the spit on those windy summer days while he is frantically trying to get the most out of his lunch break. He joined the board in 2021.
James Hoffele Director at Large
James Hoffele is an environmental management specialist with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. He lives in Squamish and so gets outside as much as possible. James is new to kiteboarding, having started learning in 2018. He's now got the kiteboarding bug and wants to bring his knowledge of environmental issues and skills in stakeholder engagement to the Board to help ensure continued access to our local world-class kiteboarding destination.
NEW - Mike Palenthorpe Director at Large
I learned to windsurf as a kid in the 80’s at Jericho Beach. My dream was to learn to surf living on the beaches of SoCal. But life happened, and I moved to Squamish in 2006 to follow my love for rock climbing. After watching the kites flipping around Howe Sound from the walls of the Chief, I finally drove out to the Spit to look for myself. I was blown away to discover a world class surf culture right here in Squamish! One look at the stoked people, the gear, the stunning location, and the tunes blasting from the sea can, and I knew I would become a kite surfer. I took my lessons locally with VKS and Aerial in 2014 and have been kiting ever since.
My career spans many years as a retail buyer with a national outdoor retailer, and more recently as a partner in Squamish’s own Climb On Equipment. My job is to inspire my customers to achieve their goals through the best selection of gear and advice. I do this by keeping a close connection with my community, watching trends, and leveraging data analytics to forecast the needs of my customers and business into the future.
My goal in becoming an SWS Director is to establish a more data driven approach to championing our sport. I hope to use wind sports participation rates, demographics and economic impact in the local economy to achieve SWS legitimacy with the District and other stakeholders, and communicate our vision for what wind sports and ocean access could look like.
NEW - Jeremy Lockwood-Mendard Director at Large
I have been kiting since 2012 after learning while on a working holiday in Australia and have been a member of the SWS since 2018 after moving from Quebec to BC. I have kited in Aus, Indonesia, Lake Ontario, the Madeleine islands, Hatteras amongst other places and can honestly say the Spit has been my favorite spot to date. It's a special place for my partner and I. We moved to Squamish to be closer to the kiting community here.
I have been in construction and project management for 10 years. In my roles I have been coordinating with stakeholders, contractors and consultants for many construction projects and renovations. I believe I have skills and contacts that can help the SWS in this new landscape. I would just like to do what I can to keep access to this place.