Our Team

Our mission...
  • To provide high-quality outdoor products.
  • To encourage interest in responsible outdoor recreation.
  • To promote environmental stewardship by education and example.
  • To maintain the highest standards of excellence in all facets of our operation.

Wild River Outfitters is a proud member of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance


Get to know us...

Our staff: A group of the most diverse personalities imaginable who share a common love of outdoor recreation. Teachers, college students, medical professionals, outdoor programmers, musicians, artists, massage therapists, rock climbers, canoe and kayak racers, backpackers and hikers all with one goal: to be the best resource for outdoor product information available.

We not only sell the best products, we employ the nicest folks. Let us share our knowledge of the outdoors and advise you about gear for that next trip.

Meet the team

John Bowden
John is from Goshen, which is located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Growing up in the mountains made being outdoors a way of life for him. He relocated to the Virginia Beach area simply for more sun and fun!  The areas that John is most knowledgeable in helping others with are in Fly Fishing, Paddle Sports, and Kayak Rigging. Some of his favorite products include Temple Fork Outfitters’ fly rods, Werner paddles, and most recently the NuCanoe Pursuit kayak. He spends most of his free time fishing and paddling Lake Smith, Back Bay, and the Lynnhaven River and teaching people the art of fly fishing.


Michael Brewington
Michael was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He grew up mostly in Virginia Beach with a short period of living in Chesapeake during his childhood. Being outdoors and active has always been more appealing than being indoors. Michael would much rather be outside doing the activities that others watch on TV.  Since Michael has been with the shop for many years he has learned from others a well-balanced knowledge base of the outdoor industry. Michael feels most comfortable answering questions about paddling or camping; however, he loves all outdoor activities. He enjoys teaching others who have questions and display a genuine interest in the outdoors.

Michael is most often buying camping products, from hammocks to stoves and to hiking packs for his dog. Anything to cut weight from his pack will peak his interest. Wild River has so many products that to pick one is hard. Although, his favorite would come down to Osprey packs and bags: a product that allows for the transportation of your other gear with ease and dependability.

Hampton Roads has an abundance of water in the surrounding areas, but one of Michael's favorite places to paddle is at York River State Park. His major hobby other than any outdoor activity would have to be his love of dogs. He grew up with one at all times and loves the companionship and respect between his dog and himself. He spends most of his time playing and training his dog when not with family or outdoors. Michael enjoys anything to do with outdoors. He hikes, camps, paddles, skateboards, bikes and swims. He is handy when trying to lighten a hiking pack. He loves to learn and find new and different outdoor tips and tricks.


Chrissie Harney
Chrissie was born, raised and spent most of her days here locally in Virginia Beach. Her love of the outdoors began as a “youngin,” entering the world in a Volkswagen Camper. (Yes, seriously, on the side of Interstate 64). Chrissie grew up camping with her family, canoeing at camp, hanging out around water and just spending tons of time playing outside. That love has stayed true through adulthood and she does what she can to get away from concrete.

Chrissie originally began working at Wild River back in 2001, and after a small stint away, came back in 2014. Currently, she works on making sure we are stocking what you, the customers, are looking for in terms of kayaks, outfitting and gear. It’s hard to say what her favorite product or company is (the list would be long, and broken down by category) but the one thing she uses every single day is a Hydro Flask. Seriously, have you tried one of these? Best drink vessel ever!! She likes to consider herself well-rounded in the products we sell, but definitely finds herself learning something new every day.

Chrissie’s favorite spot in Virginia Beach would have to be First Landing State Park, where you can pretty much do it all – camp, (in a tent or cabin!) hike, and paddle. Her new hobby is fly fishing, so lately she is doing what she can to hone those skills.


Nicole Ordway
Nicole is an Army brat who was born in Hawaii and has lived in various states across the U.S. Her family was stationed in Hampton Roads in 1997, and when her father retired this is where she stayed. Nicole’s interest in the outdoors is largely to the credit of her parents, who insisted on bringing her and her twin brother to all sorts of amazing places when they were little: from island volcanoes and black sand beaches to Yellowstone to the White Mountains to the Everglades. Camping and hiking trips were annual treats, and favorite bedtime stories included “Julie of the Wolves” and “My Side of the Mountain.”

Nicole’s interests are varied throughout the store and she learns new things every day. She is most confident with categories of products that she has used, including paddlesports, GoPro, and backpacking equipment.  Nicole’s favorite store product is the Light My Fire fixed blade Mora steel fire knife. It is a great half-tang, multi-use knife with a reliable flint in the handle – who wouldn’t love that? She has two: a red one and a green one.

Nicole’s favorite hike is definitely the Grayson Highlands and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in western Virginia. Her favorite kayaking is either Stumpy Lake or playing in the ocean. Touring ‘yaks FTW! When asked for her favorite place in Virginia Beach, she answered “Would saying WRO be too cheesy, even though it’s true?” There’s a section of beach that will always be special for her, and how can you not give First Landing State Park’s trails a shout out?

Nicole is, besides an avid outdoorswoman, a published author (check out “Hollow Thunder” and “The Loyalty of Dew” on amazon.com), a photographer, a birdwatcher, and a sword-fighter. Best thing about WRO? WRO is very dog friendly, and every canine visit is the highlight of Nicole’s day.

And more profiles to come soon!