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Our Instructors

Michael Hurndon

  • Hometown
    Canton, GA

Meet Mike Hurndon, also known as “Ranger Mike,” an experienced whitewater kayaker and instructor at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) for the past 5 years. Mike’s passion for river-related activities and love for the outdoors started when he was a kid growing up around lakes and rivers in Canton, Georgia.

His interest in whitewater kayaking was further fueled by his experience in mountain bike endurance races and traveling through the Nantahala Gorge. Mike first became aware of the NOC through his son’s enrollment in the Kids Kayak Camp and later decided to become an instructor himself while transitioning to retirement from the military.

When he’s not teaching kayaking, Mike spends his off-season enjoying winter kayaking, snow skiing, mountain biking, marathon-distance tandem kayak racing with his son, and working out with his family at the gym. Mike is proud of his contributions to the NOC, where he strives to share the underrated value of outdoor therapy and experiential education with guests.

His favorite river in the southeast is the Ocoee, which he considers the perfect example of a Class Fun river. When he’s not kayaking, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, who have been kayaking with him since they were toddlers. His most incredible privilege is being a dedicated husband and father, sharing the great outdoors with his family and friends at every opportunity.


  • ACA Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor
  • Level 4 Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
  • Advanced Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and ISSA Personal Fitness Training certifications and has a Private Pilot License
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