Meet our Guides
Sarah Neal – Owner, Mission Kayak
Texas All-Water Paddle Guide, ACA Level 2 River Kayak Instructor, ACA Level 1 SUP Instructor with an Adaptive Paddling Endorsement. Bachelors in Science – Environmental Biology – Wildlife Conservation and Management.
Sarah was born in south Texas and grew up in Newport Beach, California where she fell in love with the outdoors, the ocean and wildlife. In 2000 Sarah joined the US Air Force and spent 10 years in the computer and communications career field and deployed during OIF/OEF. In 2006 Sarah and her family received orders to Lackland AFB, San Antonio,Tx. After suffering a spinal injury Sarah left the Air Force in 2010 and became a Network Security Engineer for General Dynamics in San Antonio. While the pay was great she longed for the great outdoors. In 2012 Sarah was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and had to have heart surgery to repair the defect. After her surgery Sarah sat back and took a hard look at her life and her career. She decided to make a drastic change. She quit her lucrative IT job and moved with her family to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sarah spent 3 years in New Mexico where she completed a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Biology and fell in love with whitewater kayaking. Sarah started taking formal whitewater kayaking classes while in New Mexico and eventually became an American Canoe Association Level 2 River Kayak Instructor, Level 1 Stand Up Paddleboard Instructor and obtained her Adaptive Paddling Endorsement, and in 2016 became a Texas Park and Wildlife All-water Paddlecraft Guide.
At the end of 2015 Sarah’s husband retired from the Air Force and the family moved back to to the one city they called home, San Antonio. Sarah was hired by Mission Kayak in 2016 as it’s manager, kayak guide and kayak instructor. After managing the company for 10 months Sarah saw the potential Mission Kayak had and offered to buy the company from the previous owner. On 1 January 2017 Sarah bought Mission kayak and spent the first year making numerous improvements and streamlining the businesses. Sarah is currently enjoying owning and growing this wonderful kayak company.
Jim Lawson – Shuttle Driver / Kayak Guide
ACA Level 2 River Kayak Instructor.
Jim also hails from Southern California. He moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2014. Jim was hired on as Mission Kayak’s shuttle driver in 2015. When Mission Kayak changed ownership in 2017 Jim agreed to become a kayak guide for Mission Kayak and he obtained his ACA Level 2 Kayak Instructor certification in May 2017. Jim enjoys fishing all over the US and South America, and will be applying for his Texas Fishing Guide License in 2018! Jim is our go to guy and a Jack of all trades. He can fix anything, and is an indispensable part of the Mission Kayak team!
Nixo Lanning – Manager, Kayak Guide/ Instructor,
ACA Level 3 River Kayak Instructor,
Nixo is originally from northern California and currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nixo comes down to San Antonio 2-3 times a year to guide and teach kayaking for Mission Kayak. Nixo’s first language is American Sign Language and when she is in San Antonio Mission Kayak offers classes special designed for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Nixo, has a Master Degree in Outdoor Education and is a avid outdoors adventurer. She has competed internationally in numerous deaflympics in snowboarding, road bike and Mountian bike races. In 2016 she hiked to the base camp of Mount Everest. Her enthusiasm and love for the outdoors is contagious!