David Hughes

Program Director — Patagonia

David Hughes, the founder and owner of the Pucon Kayak Hostel in the Republic of Chile, recently partnered with NCOAE to make Pucon our Patagonia operations base. Thanks to David, the Pucon base enables our students to enjoy the beauty of the Chilean countryside, catch a rainbow trout for breakfast, learn whitewater kayaking from one of the best in the industry, and even earn adventure college / university credits.

In addition to serving as NCOAE’s Patagonia Program Director, David is a director of Patagonia Study Abroad, the operations coordinator for the Colorado Mountain College – Chile, and a program director at Nantahala Outdoor Center – Chile. His first contact with outfitting and guiding in Patagonia was as a director at The New River Academy — a high school for some of the world’s best whitewater kayakers.

David’s professional certifications include designations as a Swiftwater Rescue Technician, American Canoe Association’s Whitewater Kayak Instructor (Level 4), as well as certifications in Advanced Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Born and raised in Athens, Tenn., David splits his time between Pucon, Chile, and Fayetteville, W.Va.

  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • American Canoe Association’s Whitewater Kayak Instructor (Level 4)
  • Advanced Wilderness First Aid and CPR
  • Patagonia Study Abroad
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • Nantahala Outdoor Center

Director of EMS & Wilderness Medicine Education

Field Instructor, WFR

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