World Kayak Sea-Tac region is made up of boaters of all ages, styles, interests, and experiences. Every other week, I ask a series of questions to one member of our community, and share their answers here:
What you do when you’re not paddling (what’s your day job?) Web Developer at the UW
When and how were you first introduced to kayaking? Grew up running wilderness multi-day trips all over the west. Naturally transitioned to an IK after school, and creeked for a bit before getting back into multi-day trips as much as possible.
What goals do you have for this year and/or your lifetime boating career? My goals this year have been mostly met. We managed to get into the EF of Clear Creek, a 70 mile wilderness run that is a trib of the Little Colorado. Hasn’t run since ’08 and we missed the ideal flows, but had a grand adventure including a 32 mile, 11 hour, six portage day. Also returned to the Wild and Scenic Chetco in Oregon and found some even better camps and lines than last year. Looking forward, I want to overnight the Green River Gorge at 300 cfs this summer, and I’d really like to sort out the Lost River up in the Methow next season. I’d also like to do more boating in the Kalmopsis/Klamath Knot zone.
What’s your favorite river/run in the Seattle-Tacoma area? Green River Gorge. Hands down. It’s creeky but clean at 300, surfing’ and silly at 3000 and tops in the state when it gets over 4,000. Fifteen miles of roadless sandstone canyon 20 minutes from town is as good as it gets. Unless you are a Robe or Ernie’s fan, but who IKs that stuff?
What is it about kayaking/rafting/SUPing… that you love? For me, it’s that zen of moving in harmony with a raw, primal force. Sublimating oneself into the flow and power of the river. The mental space that comes when you are reading and running miles of new river. I’d rather see what’s around a corner I’ve never seen before than run another lap on the local run or surf for an afternoon. It’s all about the mental game.
Who is your favorite person to boat with? Why? My dad. He’s been boating since the early 70s, and has seen so many things I haven’t, like the first self bailers, the first drysuit, the first GPS, the first online gauge. Boating brings my family together, and there’s nothing like river side beach time with your loved ones.
What boat do you paddle now/what is your favorite boat to paddle & why? I’ve mostly paddled Stiletto IKs, made locally here in Lake Stevens, WA. As I’ve come to fly for more obscure multi-day trips, I’ve moved to a Lynx 1 an a Sotar IK due to the air floor. I grew up rowing an Avon bucket boat, but now mostly row a 12′ Sotar legend. It’s a dream in huge water or technical, at home running 5 minutes of Gnar on the Cascade as it is laying down big water lines on the Green Gorge at 5k. My favorite boat is the one I’m in!
What is so great about paddling in Seattle-Tacoma? The people, first of all. I’ve made some of my best friends here in this community and never had a bad experience with boaters up here. But the rivers themselves are so special, lush, clean, powerful, often steep. And the season: there is no off-season here. 50 days is a slow year. But best of all is how small the boating community is, how tightly knit, and how uncrowded our rivers are. There’s a good chance, if you see another party on the water, they are friends.