Wow 2012. This year seemingly flew by. I boated a little less this year than I have in the past 6 years. I most recently just returned from a 10 day kayak self support trip down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. This was a really great way for me to wrap up my year, spend some time with some cool people, and get some good self reflection in.
Over the past 6 years I have been confronted by the same situation numerous times over. This situation has worn many different masks but remains the same underneath. I have been finding myself frustrated with adding external pressures into something that I love, something that changed the directions of my life, and that thing is whitewater. When I first found the river I wanted to immerse myself as much as possible. Raft guiding in the states for as many months out of the year as I possibly could only to kayak most of my days off. 6 years of raft guiding culminated in managing a company down on the Kern, which inevitably ended up as my fast track to raft guide retirement and a slightly jaded sense on the river guiding world.
I still felt compelled to pursue whitewater as a potential career, as there are many different ways to make that happen. I attempted to take a different approach by becoming a swift water rescue instructor. I worked very hard and trained on an infinitely long list of skills that would relate to life both on and off the river for me. Only to end up having this really not work out the way I had hoped. Leaving another slightly sour taste for whitewater.
During all of this over the past six years I started recording and sharing my side kayaking adventures resulting in a some contact with different companies and a couple smaller time sponsorships. I certainly enjoyed entertaining the idea of the professional kayaker… lol. Which led down a whole other road of some awesome support along with some real awkwardness. A lot of social awkwardness really. The strange scent of expectation started to creep its way into kayaking. Some class V egos really started to show their ugly selves, in my personal life and in the online world. Whether it was someone being super unfriendly to my face at a party or whether it be the higher profile paddlers elitest mentality being too cool to befriend anyone. I don’t want to be a fan of someone who thinks like that and I enjoyed being a friend far more than a fan.
I enjoy befriending anyone online to expand my contact with the world of whitewater. I love seeing who does what, what runs when, pictures of different folks’ adventures, and the learning experience of my own mistakes or others in order to maybe save someone from doing the same. I have been noticing more and more elitest/arrogant mentality, a lot of which started to make me question what different people are looking for out of whitewater myself included.
Whitewater steered my life into a completely new different and more exciting direction. It has led me to places I would have never imagined and introduced me to what I would consider some of the best friends I have ever had. So what’s my whitewater agenda? I want to keep it as PURE as possible for myself. I enjoy class 3 as much as I do class V! I want it to remain untainted and if that is my goal then I need to be a little more protective of my exposures. This is my agenda with kayaking. I don’t want to sell you anything, I don’t want you to donate so I can go on a trip I didn’t work to earn. I love sharing my trips with people and enjoying seeing others trips as well.