Our Staff


Whitewater Excitement was started on the American River by Norm Schoenhoff in 1978. Almost 45 years later, his son, Phillip Schoenhoff, runs the company in tandem with Norm. Both of them are still involved in leading some of the river trips and are always on hand to help their staff and guides to organize the trips. This personal touch is unmatched by any other company in the industry and assures that our guests receive the quality and safety they expect in their adventures.

Whitewater Excitement is one of the elite California rafting companies and naturally attracts some of the premier guides and best support staff in the industry. Understanding that our staff is our frontline and foundation for every guest’s experience, we pay our guides and staff one of the highest rates and provide them with the best benefits. It is not surprising that we have one of the highest staff retention rates of any company in the industry. We strongly believe that by creating a caring, fun, and growing atmosphere for our staff will result in a rewarding experience that our guests will long remember.

  • Phillip Schoenhoff

    Phillip Schoenhoff

    (Owner - Trip Leader)

    At a very young age, Phillip was introduced to whitewater, and since then he has rafted and kayaked all over the US and several other countries. "I Love sharing my passion of the river with people of all ages and experience levels. Theres nothing quite like introducing the river to someone for the first time."

  • Norm Schoenhoff

    Norm Schoenhoff

    (Trip Leader)

    Norm's first trip on the river was May 1973, where he was guiding some friends down the South Fork in a old rented military styled raft. After that trip, "I was hooked on whitewater rafting and kayaking". He is one of the very few rafting company owners that still gets out on the river and guides.

  • Ryan


    (Trip Leader )

    Ryan has been guiding with us since 2011. He is a part time guide now, sharing his rafting passion with ihs "real job" as an Ecologist. Ryan is known for van rides with fun facts about Taylor Swift songs and unmatched local plant biology knowledge.

  • Brice


    (Trip Leader)

    Brice (aka zippy) is from the local town of Coloma, and has been guiding with us for 10 years. Growing up in the Coloma area has gotten him familiar with many California whitewater runs, both in rafts and whitewater kayaks! "Where ever I go in life, whitewater will always be a part of it!"

  • Scotty


    (Trip Leader)

    Scotty, a local boy from Auburn, followed in the footsteps of his older brother and started guiding for us 11 years ago. He graduated with an Engineering degree from UCSD and is using it to river guide with us for another season. He enjoys rock climbing when he's not on the river, and has taught almost half the staff this year to rock climb as well!

  • Katie


    (River Guide)

    Katie just graduated from University of Portland and is back for another season guiding! Any time she’s not on the river, you can find her climbing, camping, backpacking or eating mint chip ice cream.

  • Charlie


    (Trip Leader)

    My name is Charlie, but my dad calls me Chuck and I use she/her pronouns. I grew up and went to school in Southern California. I played on the Women’s Soccer team at the University of Redlands, where I recently finished up my Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning. This will be my third season at WWE, which is shaping up to be outstanding! One of my favorite days on the river so far was when the guide team paddled down Kurt’s (bus driver) cataraft. If I could have dinner with a dead historical figure, it would be James L. Plimpton, the inventor of roller *skates* and owner of the first ever roller skating rink. His skates were special because they fit with shoes on, so there was no stinky skating rink smell.

  • Isaiah


    (River Guide)

    Also known as Slim, Isaiah is from Indiana. His older sister guided for us 10 years ago and he figured she cant have all the fun in the family. He’s only 18 but is already on his second year of guiding and has gotten to become one of our most requested guides. He dreams of a life always associated with the river and photography. He also loves his mom.

  • Emily


    (River Guide)

    Emily grew up in Southern California and after getting introduced to the river, she has moved from loving the beach to the river. She is currently in school to become a Nurse, and can be found rock climbing almost as much as rafting!

  • Tanner


    (River Guide)

    Tanner is originally from Modesto, California and now resides in Austin, Texas. He attended school at Chico State, where he fell in love with rivers and whitewater rafting / kayaking. After moving to Texas and working as a graphic designer for a few years, he has come back to work his fourth season as a guide with us. He is also a world famous DJ who goes by "Luvr Boy", and runs a record label with his friends called Perfect Dark. Join him for a great day on the river and you might just get to hear his sick beats.

  • Athan

    (River Guide)

    My names Athan and this is my first season with Whitewater Excitement! I have been rafting and white water kayaking for almost 7 years now and in this time I have kayaked the Grand Canyon and rafted the whole Salmon river in Idaho. My goal is to spread the joy I find from rafting to everyone I take down the river. Come join me!

  • Amy

    (River Guide)

  • Audrey


    (River Guide)

    Hi my name is Audrey and this is my third season with Whitewater Excitement. I’m originally from Florida, go Gators! My love for whitewater started in college where I studied Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies at Prescott College in Arizona. My favorite part about rafting is all the laughs and joy it brings. I can’t wait to spend another season taking people down the American River.

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