Meet the Experts: Tony

Tony PalmerTony is our Chief Education Officer. He oversees and instructs in our paddleboard (SUP), kayak and canoe programs, while also guiding Undercurrents’ identity and growth.

Tony began his love of paddling at summer camp in the 60’s and that love continues to grow. He is Paddle Canada’s Senior Instructor in Alberta for both Sea Kayaking and Paddleboarding, and is the only paddler in all of Canada who is an Instructor-Trainer (teaches you how to become an instructor) in all five paddling disciplines: canoeing, river kayaking, sea kayaking, paddleboarding, and camping.

Tony is a…

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  • Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Level 2 Instructor
  • Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Level 1 Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Basic Kayak Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada River Kayak Intermediate Instructor
  • Paddle Canada River Kayak Beginner Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Kayak Rolling Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Advanced Flatwater SUP Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada River SUP Level 2 Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Touring SUP Level 2 Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Flatwater Canoe Instructor
  • Paddle Canada Moving Water Canoe Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Camping Leadership Instructor & Instructor-Trainer
  • PaddleSmart Presenter & Presenter-Trainer, and
  • Leave No Trace Trainer.


Tony is currently the Chair of Paddle Canada’s Program Coordination Committee, where they are driving the harmonization of Paddle Canada’s programs and standards, and the development online Instructor and Instructor-Trainer development programs. Tony lead the creation of the Paddle Canada national standards for paddleboarding, river kayaking, sea kayaking and camping. He contributed to the updated Paddle Canada canoe program, and the new Paddle Canada kayak rolling program.

In most ways, Tony is a “one trick pony.” He owns and manages a paddling store (Undercurrents!), teaches paddling at Mount Royal University in the Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Leadership (ETOL) program and wrote the gear review column in Kanawa, Canada’s Paddling Magazine. He met his wife, Donna, at the Bow Waters Canoe Club – their first date was a canoe trip and they also got engaged on a canoe trip. He named his cat after a river feature. Tony volunteers with local, provincial and national paddling organizations, where he has held a variety of executive positions. When he gets time off, he likes to go (you guessed it!) paddling!

In the winter he likes to curl, but he takes it a bit too seriously. (Serious is not the same as good!)