Guides & Staff

Get to know our awesome team members

Passionate about what we do, all of our guides and captains spend hours training in preparation for you our guest.  Most of our snorkel guides are also professional PADI Dive Masters and Scuba Instructors who bring superior knowledge of the underwater world to each and every tour.  Whether it be educating you on the fundamentals of snorkeling, pointing out the unique species and marine life or talking story back on land…you’re sure to experience the difference with our team!

Management

Josh Helmin – Owner

Red diving flagJosh Helmin is the owner of Kauai Z Tourz. He has been exploring Kauai for 2 decades, with Kauai Down Under Scuba (experienced Scuba Tours since 1999), and Kauai Z Tourz (Premiere Zodiac tours of Kauai). His professional leadership and knowledge of Kauai brings the best experience to all of our guests. Josh’s love and passion for the island of Kauai has brought him to this beautiful island that he now calls “home”.

Josh earned his bachelors’ degree in Architecture, but his education in diving and passion for the sea is what drove him. Josh is originally from Minnesota. Realizing that the cold Midwest was not the place he wanted to dive, Josh relocated to Kauai for the warm water and tropical climate. Josh has a passion for life and exploration. When not in the office you’ll find him on his own worldly adventures diving, snorkeling or enjoying the ocean somewhere.

Review:

“The owner, Josh, was super accommodating. With 22 years experience here on kauai, this is the group to take you diving!” – Jeff F.

Kevin Abernathy – DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING

Red diving flagKevin joined our team as a Scuba Instructor after 15 years in the wedding and events industry in his home state of Colorado. Realizing he had accomplished all he was meant to in that industry, and being just a little stressed, he opted to completely change careers. His drive to succeed and passion for guest experience quickly moved him to our management team where he has excelled and helped to make Kauai Z Tours and Island Activity Group what it is today.

Kevin brings with him a plethora of experience from his world travels to more than 40 countries, understanding how to have fun on a daily basis, positive and outgoing personality and most importantly his pride and joy Buddy, the golden retriever who is 11 going on 2 and full of energy!

Review:

Great experience!!! Kevin is incredibly knowledgeable and put me at ease right away when booking my dive at Koloa Landing. Thanks for making this a true highlight of my Kauai Vacation! – Kenneth B.

Will Kelley – OPERATIONS MANAGER

Will Kelley headshotWill first tried diving when he was 14. After living in the mountains of Colorado until he was 23, he decided to get back in the water and moved to Mexico where he became a Divemaster.

After earning his Instructor certification, Will taught courses in the lakes and hot springs around the Rocky Mountains, as well as in Utah and New Mexico. He is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying backpacking, camping, rafting and pretty much any activity that gets you into nature.

He spent a year traveling the world to 18 different countries, diving in both Thailand and Indonesia. Upon returning to the States, he completed his MSDT. His specialties include deep, navigation, night, wreck and boat diving. He enjoys free diving as well. He relocated to Kauai to pursue a career in scuba diving and explore the beautiful island on the side.

Review:

Amazing!

Found Zodiac online & read all the reviews… did not disappoint! Our guides, Will and Davey were super knowledgeable about the area & extremely helpful. Will gave my daughter his swim mask because she was having some difficulty with hers & was very good about knowing everyone’s names & making sure we were all doing good. We saw a ton of turtles & even a small shark. They went out of their way to make sure the experience was amazing & it was! Would definitely recommend booking thru Zodiak! The picnic lunch at the harbor was a nice ending to a wonderful morning!” — Lueleulolol, August 5, 2019

Guides & Staff

Captain Dave Aymar – CAPTAIN

Red diving flagDave joins Kauai Z Tours as a very experienced yachtsman. His days on the water started at birth on Long Island Sound in Connecticut as his parents were avid sailors. His passion grew as he developed the love of competing in sailing and spending time on their family owned 20 foot powerboat.

After his younger days on the Sound, he quickly found the love of sailing on bigger sailboats that raced in the open ocean. He eventually found a living working his way around on some of the well known racing sailboats not only on the east coast but on the west coast as well, and found himself as a team member on long ocean races and deliveries.

After 40 years on the mainland, Dave decided to make his mother’s and grandmother’s childhood home his as well. He not only brings a 100 Ton USCG License with him, but a burning desire for the challenging surf and outdoor lifestyle this beautiful island has to offer.

Review:

“Snorkeling in Poipu

Capt. Dave was awesome. Made the experience very special. Snorkeling was beautiful. Afterwards while eating lunch, Dave gave some great recommendations for restaurants on the island that did not disappoint. Look forward to booking with them again when we return next year.” — No3puttsforme, TripAdvisor,  July 25, 2019

Captain Davey Cook – CAPTAIN/CREW

Captain Davey CookBio coming soon!

Review:

Such a RAD day!!

This was a dream day!! The captain was very professional and knew lots about the island and its history. Our Dive Master Davey was the best!! Took us to a couple different spots where we swam with at least 20 sea turtles and seen thousands of fish, so many different kinds!! They had quality gear for us and lunch ready when we got back. The boat felt very safe and sea worthy with those sexy twin motors! This was a lifetime experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great day with the fishes and turtles.” — mindymay79, TripAdvisor, September 23, 2019

Sonen “Nen” Donnelly – RESERVATIONS SPECIALIST / SNORKEL GUIDE

Sonene is a 22 year old artist, teacher, and travel enthusiast with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art Education. Growing up in the mountainous desert of Utah, she always envisioned a life next to the ocean.

She got her first PADI certification at age 18, so that she could explore the beauty of the world both above and below the sea. She has now been to 25 countries, and hopes to visit them all one day.

After spending over a year backpacking Asia with countless hours spent playing in the ocean, she decided to move into the dive industry professionally making Kauai her new home.

Review:

“Fun and Informative

Sonen was awesome and so patient with us all through the whole process. We had never been snorkeling before. She could also identify sea life and brought up a sea cucumber so we could hold it… and then safely put it back on the coral. We had 2 adults and 2 ten year olds. My girls loved it and one of their favorites of the trip.” — quest47713590432, TripAdvisor, July 1, 2019

Jared Brewer – SNORKEL GUIDE

Jared was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a child, he had a fear of deep water, but grew to understand and appreciate the mystery of life it held within.  He became an open water diver at the age of 21, and instantly fell in love with diving.

He is passionate about volunteering, conservationism, animals, and especially teaching. He loves meeting other travelers from around the world, and learning about different cultures and ways of life.

As a certified Divemaster, he has recently had the amazing opportunity to explore the underwater oasis of Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives before deciding to come to the paradise of Kauai.

Review:

Awesome Experience!

Jared was great! Loved the tour and lunch was really tasty. Definitely worth the money, they take you to awesome spots and are very diligent and keen to know their guests. Everyone working for Z tour was great. Would definitely recommend.” — Joy9728, TripAdvisor,  August 19, 2019

Katie Beadling – SNORKEL GUIDE

Katie got certified as open water diver in Belize on Christmas day of 2013.  She grew up in Michigan, went to school in Illinois, and since then has been venturing further and further from the Midwest.

After working in conservation for three years in the mountains and deserts of the Southwest, she developed a desire to travel abroad where she rediscovered the ocean, which has been her favorite playground ever since.

In 2017, Katie found herself in Thailand where she worked as a divemaster for a year before becoming an instructor.  She now enjoys sharing her passion for diving with others and exploring the beautiful island of Kauai on the side.

Logan Kneeland – SNORKEL GUIDE

Logan was born in Chanute, Kansas where he spent summers swimming, diving, lifeguarding and water skiing.  His passion for the water led him to try scuba diving in the mid 1980’s when he obtained his open water certification and completed his PADI Advanced Course.

His first career was in the electronic security industry in Northeast Oklahoma.  Hired as an installer, over the next 35 years he became the owner.  By growing that company with good customer services, it became attractive for acquisition and sold in 2018.  This allowed Logan to pursue his Instructor Development Course and Master Scuba Diver Training Programs at Utila Dive Centre.

His specialties are Deep Diver, Wreck Diver, Equipment Specialist, Enriched Air Nitrox and Gas Blender.

When not diving or snorkeling, Logan looks forward to volunteering, joining civic organizations, and exploring all Kauai has to offer with his wife Carrie.

Review:

Some of the best snorkeling I’ve done!

Our guide Logan and Captain Dave took great care of us as we explore the southern coastline and hit two different snorkel spots for surfing, food, and other adventures. Logan was great in the water and helped us find somewhere close to 30 sea turtles! Great experience and would recommend these guys to anyone.”— Guyhartwig, TripAdvisor,  June 20, 2019

Kate Kimball – RESERVATIONS SPECIALIST / SNORKEL GUIDE

Red diving flag

Kate comes to us from the California Bay Area. She first tried diving in 2005 on the Big Island of Hawaii. She found the underwater world truly amazing and decided to get her Open Water certification in Fiji in 2007.  She returned to the chilly waters of Northern California where she kept diving (now in a dry suit), and continued her dive education.

After graduating college in 2015, Kate began working as a dive instructor on St. John, in the Virgin Islands. After leaving the island, Kate travelled solo throughout Southeast Asia, having the opportunity to do some incredible diving in Thailand and Indonesia. Upon returning to California, Kate decided to try out having a “real world” job, but after a year and half she grew restless at her desk job and decided it was time to get back into diving.

She’s excited to call Kauai home now!When not playing in the ocean, Kate enjoys reading, hiking, exploring the island, and hanging out at the beach!

Chris Carte – SNORKEL GUIDE

Chris is originally from San Diego California, and had a love of the ocean instilled in him as a young child by his father, an oceanographer. Chris joined the Air Force after graduating from college and after separating from the service started traveling through Latin America, during which time he became a PADI scuba instructor.

He has logged dives in Kauai, Mexico, Honduras, California, Guam, Curacao, and Fiji and has a special place in his heart for the diversity of life found in tropical reefs. When not making bubbles underwater, he can be found relaxing on a beach, exploring new areas with his camera, or on a hike in search of beautiful views.

Briana Smith – SNORKEL GUIDE

Originally from Southern California, Briana has made the migration to Kauai to join our team. As a wee one she would splash around the temperate beaches of SoCal and grew up making the sea apart of her life’s work.

As a passionate scuba diver, freediver, kayaker, underwater photographer, blogger and ocean goer, she’s pursued sharing her love for the sea by starting out as a local sea cave tour guide in La Jolla, California. Wanting to guide people in all other water sports she was passionate about, she obtained her Padi Divemaster certification in order to take people on scuba tours as well. After the last 3 years as a snorkel, kayak and scuba tour guide she now finds herself here in Kauai still pushing to get people deeper in the ocean as a PADI Scuba Instructor.

The ocean can be a scary place for some, but it has been a temple to respect and cherish. She wants to share this sanctuary and connect people to the ocean. In doing so one would hope like Jacque Yves Cousteau said that, “People will protect what they love.” So it is her passion to continue helping connect people with the ocean. That way they have the opportunity to ensure its future and enjoy its beauty.

Review:

“Best Experience

I participated in a few activities during my recent visti to beautiful Kauai, and this was by far the best one! Brianna was absolutley amazing as a guide for my snorkeling experience. I was nervous and she helped me by encouraging me to use a noodle and kick board to easily stay afloat, so I could concentrate on the beautiful scenery below. She stayed near me and pointed out eels, sea turtles and the various types of colorful fish. I would encourage anyone to use Z Tourz. They are great!” – kimmycat2, TripAdvisor, Nov 14, 2019

Josh Khan – SNORKEL GUIDE

Josh Khan headshot

Josh got certified as an open water diver in 2004 and instantly fell in love with the underwater world. Growing up in Michigan, he loved to be outside hiking, snowboarding, or hanging out on the lake. Craving even more adventure, Josh moved to Oahu in 2014 where he continued his diving education, getting his advanced and rescue diver certifications.
After a few years on Oahu, Josh moved back to the mainland where he became an EMT before deciding to take the full dive into the professional scuba industry. He moved to the Florida keys where he attended Halls Diving Career Institute. He became an instructor for NAUI and TDI, and he later crossed over to be an instructor for PADI as well.
Although Josh learned a lot from his time and experience in Florida, Kauai has always been one of his favorite places in the world, and he is excited to call it his home.

Review:

“Awesome and Beginner Friendly

Guide Josh did great for my wife who has had difficulties snorkeling in the past. He was patient, got her geared up, and helped her overcome her apprehension and difficulties. As a result she had her longest and MOST ENJOYABLE snorkeling experience. Josh is not just for beginners. I am a certified diver and enjoy the background and tips he gave all of us. I heartily recommend this experience.” – Roger H, TripAdvisor, Nov. 17, 2019

Michael Gachina –SNORKEL GUIDE

Michael Gachina headshotMike was born and raised in Northern California. Living in the Bay Area, he’d spend much of his time at the family beach house. After a couple of years at university in Washington State, he returned home to take up a position in the family Landscaping business. After a few years of work as a contractor, he decided to take some time off to travel the world.

It was during this time that Mike discovered Scuba. After getting certified in Thailand, he continued to dive throughout his travels. With dive stops in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, his passion grew. After walking into Liquid Dive Adventures in Tofo, Mozambique; he decided to embark upon his professional training. After several months of hard work in Tofo culminating in the completion of his IDC, he decided to continue with his travels Freelance instructing along the way in Malawi, and Tanzania.

With the completion of his travels and the need for a steady income, Mike has decided to settle down on the beautiful island oasis of Kauai. We’re truly blessed to have him as a member of our team!