Last summer, we kept hearing about this guy, working at one of our competitors, who was the guy when it came to gear. Not only a great at sales, but great personality, and good communication style. So in the fall, when it came time to expand Team Alpine for the winter season, we went headhunting (not in the anthropological way, but rather in the metaphorical finding the right guy for the job kinda way).
And within a couple of weeks, Esteban Pinto miraculously joined our staff, and now enjoys a far more convenient commute, since he lives downtown and now can walk to work (shout out – commute trip reduction, to all our alternate mode enthusiasts!).
It’s great having him as part of our staff because he is an expert at climbing, camping, backpacking, is learning to fit footwear like a pro, knows fabrics and technologies in apparel. He is a jack-of-all-trades, but his real passion is paddling. Along with our General Manager Russ Gilsdorf, Esteban will be your go-to guy this season for all things paddling.We caught up with him recently for some Q&A: Esteban, how long have you been paddling? What got you started? I’ve only been paddling about seven years. I’m an infant compared to some of our customers. I started because I wanted to go fishing, but couldn’t afford a motorboat, so I bought a fishing kayak instead. Been paddling ever since- worked at a kayak shop in Georgia through college, where I learned a whole lot about paddling, including rough water and expedition paddling, and got my instructor certifications. Instructor Credentials? Your teaching classes? Both guiding and teaching, actually (see class descriptions below). I’ve guided trips out of Tybee Island, Georgia, a mecca for paddlers in the southeast. Locally, I might lead trips in Puget Sound, to Hope Island, the Nisqually Refuge, or kayak fishing trips. If you have ideas or want to sign up, come on into TAE and see me. We will set it up. What do you like best about paddling? The intimacy for the area you’re in. Your pace is close to walking, so there’s time to see the country. And because you’re in the water, you can see what’s on all sides of you. Everything seems bigger and grander in a kayak. What do you think of TAE’s kayak department this season? It’s Great! We just got a great shipment of new boats, covering the whole range from fishing to high performance touring. We don’t carry every boat made- instead we carry the BEST boats by manufacturers, making your selection easier. It’s different than Georgia- there’s a lot more gear you need here to keep and stay warm, better clothing, more safety equipment. That’s what we like about TAE- it’s all here, from boats to paddles to the little things like whistles Where are you most excited about paddling this season? The San Juan Islands. It’s every paddlers dream. If there were a 50 Classic Paddles in North America, the San Jaun Islands would be more popular than the North Ridge of Mount Stuart!