Click on the names to find out more about the people we work with.

Leanne Allison

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
BPE Outdoor Pursuits. A bunch of paddling certification that is long expired. A week long documentary film course.

Hometown
Calgary, Alberta

Current Home
Canmore, Alberta

# years paddling
24

Sex
Female

First Craft Paddled?
Grumman Canoe.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
Anything that gets us outside

Other craft?
Canoe, Whitewater Kayak , Sea Kayak, Raft, Surf Kayak, Flat water kayak.

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
I do all of these depending on how long the trip is.

Favourite place to paddle?
Any beautiful wilderness river- the Chehalis comes to mind.

Fondest paddling memory?
Riding early morning swell off Vargus Island in the Clayquot Sound with a Grey Whale surfacing so close to us that we could smell his breath! (It was rotten!)

Scariest paddling memory?
Taking a very long swim on the Capilano River in winter when the river was in flood. Gave new meaning to paddle to the sea.

What is your first paddling memory?
I was 12 years old on a canoe trip on the North Saskatchewan river with a bunch of other skinny armed 12 year old girls. We paddled through the most serious rapid (class 2) without a problem while all these grown men from the British Army flailed and swam and had nothing but trouble. I was hooked for life!

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Truthfully, all I want to learn is how to surf on a long surf board in medium sized waves.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Any day you're in a boat is a good day.

Other Water based activities?
Swimming.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Skiing, hiking, biking, and watching excellent movies.

Reasons you Paddle?
To travel by water under your own steam and even better - with gravity - is simply the best!

Favourite North Water piece?
The canoe spray deck cover with the special little kids hatch.

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Their throw bag. It's always there.

Paddling motivations- why?
As I get older it's really about seeing places rather for than the adrenaline. We live in a beautiful country with lots of water. I can't think of anything I'd rather do (other than ski).

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
Finding Farley expedition in 2007

Chris Armstrong

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
Rafting Expedition Trip Leader, Swiftwater Instructor, Rope Rescue Instructor, MR-1, OFA-3, OARTL, RRTL, GSARTL, SFR-T, RFRS, blah blah blah. It's not what you've done, but why you do it.

Hometown
Kereomeos, BC

Current Home
Nelson, BC

# years paddling
20 or so

Sex
Male

First Craft Paddled?
An air mattress down the Similkimeen River at age 10.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
Hyside 14' cat with 24" tubes ( AKA the Surf Smurf)

Other craft?
My E series AIRE raft. We've done some amazing expeditions together.

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
I whistle when guiding the insane stuff ( between yelling comands ). Not sure why, I just always have. It gives the crew confedence when the guide acts like he's out for a stroll down the river.

Favourite place to paddle?
Nahatlatch, Chilco, and Tatchenshini Rivers.

Fondest paddling memory?
Floating on Alsek Lake amongst the icebergs with my mother and brother in Alaska, watching thousands of tons of ice crumble around us.

Scariest paddling memory?
Being awakened on the bank of the Kituna river in New Zealand with the kiss of life after being knocked out by the impact of the Kituna Falls. Then being punched in the lip for "making her think I was dead".

What is your first paddling memory?
Being dropped off at the old Outward Bound camp near Hedley, BC and being picked up in Cawston six hours later. I spent summers tubing the Similkameen.

Paddling Accomplishments?
67 rivers done, 33 left before I'm dead.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Better understanding of what I have taken for granted, so I can teach others what it feels to flow with the river.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Respect the river, or it'll spank your a**!

Other Water based activities?
Lots of rescue work with SAR, flat water, SRT, recovery work. Developing new gear and rescue techniques.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Family, SAR, rescue instruction, and developing new ways to do things.

Reasons you Paddle?
Everything else falls away when your paddling because you're committed to the moment. You never know what you're capable of until you're forced to succeed. Emergence through emergency.

Favourite North Water piece?
My first rescue PFD, got it in 97. Saved my butt a hundred times.

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
My first rescue PFD, hundreds and hundreds of river days and still going. I still wear it on expeditions because it's been with me on them all.

Paddling motivations- why?
Teaching others what they are capable of and what is around the corner.

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
I've been a dealer for North Water for a few years. I teach and work closely with front line rescue personnel across the province. I have worked on several design projects with Lindsay and the team and some great tools have come from it. There are lives saved and made safe every day by North Water equipment.

Sam Crowley

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
ACA L5 Advanced Open Water Instructor Trainer Educator. ACA Adaptive Paddling Equipment Instructor. BCU Coach Level 3 Sea.

Hometown
Bellwood, IL – western suburb of Chicago

Current Home
Marquette, MI

# years paddling
Since 1991 for sea kayaking

Sex
Male

First Craft Paddled?
A rented sea kayak

Favourite Boat to paddle?
SKUK Explorer

Other craft?
There are others?

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
I'm not telling.

Favourite place to paddle?
Lake Superior

Fondest paddling memory?
Rounding the Head of Howth on the north side of Dublin Bay. With 25 knot tail wind and a favorable tidal current pushing along at 3.5 mph. For the first time I saw landmarks I'd seen before when I started circumnavigating Ireland 80+ days before.

Scariest paddling memory?
Off water: 10 days sitting in Black Bay Harbor on Ireland's West Coast. It looked like the circumnavigation was over due to the worst summer in Ireland's history bringing gale after gale.
On water: My first time in big surf. I was ripped out of the cockpit and may-tagged in the surf. Remember struggling to swim closer to shore against the rip current before I tried to touch bottom. I was in 3' of water. Kids on the beach enjoyed the yard sale as my gear went everywhere.

What is your first paddling memory?
My first sea kayaking memory was paddling along the sandstone cliffs of the Apostle Island National Seashore. I was back every weekend that summer paddling and definitely got hooked.

Paddling Accomplishments?
Circumnavigated Ireland in 2007. 25 day circumnavigation of Moresby Island in Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands. 16 day paddle from Helsinki to Stockholm. 21 day paddle from Thunder Bay to Wawa Ontario on Lake Superior.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Getting to more places to paddle around the world. Looking at a map the question becomes - How do I get there? How long to go for?

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
It's about having fun – get out and paddle whenever and wherever it is fun. Let work be boring and dull.

Other Water based activities?
XC & backcountry skiing.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
I perform sports massage in my own practice in Marquette.

Reasons you Paddle?
There is no other way or better way to see remote, rugged and beautiful coastlines that exist everywhere in the world than by immersion in nature and the sea that sea kayaking provides.

Favourite North Water piece?
Sea Tec tow line. It went around Ireland with me and goes everywhere I paddle here. Designing it as a deck and a belt tow was ingenious.

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
It is the same as above, although the stirrup is always with me in a PFD pocket and those ditty bags find a way into every paddle. The beaching bag carries everything needed for overnight trips.

Paddling motivations- why?
I don't know and in some ways I don't want to know. After all, there is a thin line between a hobby and a mental illness.

"Local Run"?
Paddling around Partridge Island off of Marquette. Bald Eagle's nest, rock outcroppings and the feeling of getting away from everything just 20 minutes from the car. If waves are running then there is surf, rough water and a rock garden to choose to play in.

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
Sponsored Ireland 2007, circumnavigation of Ireland.

Russell Farrow

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
BCU coach, ACA coach, Wilderness First Responder. I have a gold record on my wall and graduated college.

Hometown
The Free World.

Current Home
Clearwater, Florida

# years paddling
31

Sex
Male

First Craft Paddled?
Some sort of tandem folding kayak that the Boy Scouts had.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
Anything that responds to an edge.

Other craft?
Solo canoe, surf kayak, whitewater kayak, sailboat, surfboard.

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
Yes I do, usually something my band has recently written.

Favourite place to paddle?
There are lots of favorites, all for different reasons.

Fondest paddling memory?
There are so many fond memories. It would be hard to pick just one. Paddling in Baja for the first time on the Pacific side playing in the caves and rock gardens. Paddling the Outer Hebrides in Scotland with a good friend and just having the time of our lives. Shoving off the first day while paddling the coast of Labrador and that feeling of freedom I had. Sliding down the face of a green wave in my surf kayak and looking on both sides of my kayak to see dolphins surfing in the same wave. Cruising up the Weeki Wachee River in Florida and having the Manatees bump my kayak while scratching their backs on it. Like I said, so many fond memories!

Scariest paddling memory?
Easily the scariest was in Northern Labrador when in big seas and strong winds my right shoulder popped a tendon and I had to be towed a few miles to a beach. By the time we got to the beach we were all hypothermic and still 5 days from the nearest town. Fortunately all of our training took over and we all ended up safe and sound. A few days later we headed south again and made it to Nain (our pick up point and the northern most town on the east coast of Canada) safely.

What is your first paddling memory?
I can't remember that long ago, but it must have been fun.

Paddling Accomplishments?
I have paddled some really cool places with some really cool people.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
I seek to improve my form and stamina.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Pretend you're a 10 year old kid and your kayak is a big toy.

Other Water based activities?
Scuba diving, sailing, board sufing.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Mountain biking, gardening, camping, photography and video, playing guitar, and tinkering with old cars.

Reasons you Paddle?
The freedom I feel when I push off from shore.

Favourite North Water piece?
The Beaching Bag because it all fits in there!

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Sea Tec Tow system…seems like you've always got to tow someone.

Paddling motivations- why?
So many cool people and so many amazing places.

"Local Run"?
From Ft. DeSoto across the mouth of Tampa Bay to Anna Maria Island for lunch and then paddle back.

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
IR Vacation to Hell Expedition.

Ruth Gordon

Hometown
Burnstown, ON

Current Home
Reno, NV

# years paddling
12

Sex
Female

First Craft Paddled?
Dancer XS

Favourite Boat to paddle?
Jackson Kayak Star

Other craft?
Anything that floats

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
Heading downstream, I like the whistle game, but in the eddy I'm humming and on my own I sing (loudly).

Favourite place to paddle?
Anywhere, as long as it is on big waves.

Fondest paddling memory?
Warm summer evenings at push button with the Beachburg crew.

Scariest paddling memory?
Every swim I've ever had. It doesn't matter how big or small they were, all of them scared me.

What is your first paddling memory?
Surfing 101 with Ken Whiting. Sitting in the eddy at Angels Kiss and KW telling me how to ferry out to catch the wave.

Paddling Accomplishments?
Freestyle Kayaking World Champion, 2 x Canadian National Champ.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Creeking. I've spent so much time focused on freestyle, my river running skills need some love.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
You will only ever be as good as you think you are.

Other Water based activities?
Swimming, cliff jumping.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Mountain biking, playing with my dog, Frisbee golf, yoga, snowboarding.

Reasons you Paddle?
You see the world from a different perspective when you look at the shore from the water.

Favourite North Water piece?
Pig tail

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Wedge throw bag

Paddling motivations- why?
The drive to explore my limits: new rivers, new lines, new tricks. I’m constantly pushing my boundaries and learning how to deal with surprises. Kayaking is my expression.

"Local Run"?
The Ottawa River

Freya Hoffmeister

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
5 star rolling coach

Hometown
Husum, Germany

Current Home
The world, with Husum as a basecamp

# years paddling
13

Sex
Female

First Craft Paddled?
Feathercraft K1 folding kayak.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
Epic 18x

Other craft?
NDK Explorer, Epic V-10 sport surfski, my range of rolling kayaks, and anything that floats.

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
I sing loudly when I'm not paddling too hard or rolling around.

Favourite place to paddle?
The world is my playground.

Fondest paddling memory?
The time I paddled with my little boy only sitting in the back hatch, but little boys grow.

Scariest paddling memory?
I can't say paddling has scared me much. Maybe the crocodiles in my upcoming Australia circumnavigation?

What is your first paddling memory?
Just jumping in the boat and going!

Paddling Accomplishments?
Too many to mention.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Getting to know even more of the world's best coastlines!

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
If in doubt - stay out!

Other Water based activities?
Showering, water pistol shooting, singing in the rain.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Boat fiddling and repairing.

Reasons you Paddle?
To explore the world!

Favourite North Water piece?
My custom made "La Ninja" black tow belt.

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
The Underdeck Bag, Interior Mount Cockpit Bags, the Sea Tec Towline, and the paddle leash.

Paddling motivations- why?
I'm just restless.

"Local Run"?
There is nothing really exciting on my doorstep and that is why I need to see the world!

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
Iceland, New Zealand-South Island, Australia

Bill Layman

Paddling Accomplishments?
Well I guess paddling most of the major rivers of the central barrens .... Dubawnt, Kazan, Elk, Thelon, Thlewiaza, Hanbury and Coppermine. We've ended up in Baker Lake six times. Lynda and I have also paddled some nice rivers in the north of Saskatchewan like the Cree, the Porcupine and the Fond Du Lac. Last summer we left our front yard and paddled Lac la Ronge to the Churchill-Reindeer Rivers and then to north end of Reindeer Lake.

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
Honours Biology, 4 year Bachelor of Science

Hometown
La Ronge, Saskatchewan

Current Home
Same

# years paddling
25+

Sex
As often as my old age will allow

First Craft Paddled?
17' Grumman aluminum.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
17' Nova Craft Prospector made of Blue Steel

Other craft?
17' Nova Craft Prospector made of Royalex Lite

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
Lynda does all the singing.

Favourite place to paddle?
Anywhere on the tundra.

Fondest paddling memory?
Waking up to to a herd of many thousand caribou around our tent.

Scariest paddling memory?
Having a huge wave erupt from a boiling mid-river hole that appeared and swept right across the spray cover and almost ate us whole. This was at the last rapid before Kazan Falls which would certainly kill you if you swam. My older Dene Indian pals told me that when a river is nasty you should give it a gift, so one of my paddling gloves got chucked to the River Gods. I never did tell Lynda.

What is your first paddling memory?
So long ago I forget. All I know is that when I hit the water I feel like I belong there. I used to paddle Class III and IV whitewater in a kayak in BC and it always made me feel like I was dancing on the water.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
When I was learning to paddle the adage was "If you are upside down you screwed up and most time was spent avoiding holes". I need to spend more time playing in them, because there is no arguing that playing makes you a better paddler.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Don't ever ever ever swim on a barren lands river. Always take chocolate cakes and an Outback Oven.

Other Water based activities?
This is it, other than fishing.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
There are too many to list, but beer drinking is way up the list.

Reasons you Paddle?
It makes me feel alive and the stress of urban life dissolves.

Favourite North Water piece?
The Spray Cover, the Spray Cover .. The G*D D**N Spray cover!

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Same as above

Paddling motivations- why?
For me it is all about following in the footsteps of the Dene and Inuit who were there before us. Seeing caribou and muskox and wolves and moose is pretty darn cool as well.

Lynda Holland

Paddling Accomplishments?
Well I guess paddling most of the major rivers of the central barrens .... Dubawnt, Kazan, Elk, Thelon, Thlewiaza, Hanbury and Coppermine. We've ended up in Baker Lake six times. Lynda and I have also paddled some nice rivers in the north of Saskatchewan like the Cree, the Porcupine and the Fond Du Lac. Last summer we left our front yard and paddled Lac la Ronge to the Churchill-Reindeer Rivers and then to north end of Reindeer Lake.

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
BA (Honours English), B.Ed., M.Adult Ed. I have no formal paddling training. I have done several slide presentations on our travels and the stories and history of the land and its people.

Hometown
La Ronge, Saskatchewan

Current Home
Same

# years paddling
16

Sex
Female

First Craft Paddled?
17' Grumman aluminum.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
17' Nova Craft Prospector made of Blue Steel

Other craft?
17' Nova Craft Prospector made of Royalex Lite

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
I sing most of the time, usually 50's tunes, Dylan, and old classics. I wish I had a songbook sometimes. "Marching to Pretoria" and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" are portaging songs

Favourite place to paddle?
Anywhere - but the tundra is special

Fondest paddling memory?
Too many to list. Storm-stayed on the Thlewiaza with Bill bringing me coffee and apple pie in bed and seeing the unexpected - animals, beautiful landscape, old Dene camps.

Scariest paddling memory?
My terror tends to be short-lived but I did kind of freak when we swamped on the Porcupine River (Sask, CAN). I hate slippery rocks.

What is your first paddling memory?
I guess finally doing a roll in a kayak all by myself, at Otter Rapids in 1985. A natural athlete I'm not!

Paddling Accomplishments?
After 10 trips into the barrens we feel at home there. There is always excitement and new challenges but the feeling of belonging as well.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
I really need to be a better whitewater paddler. I'm not intuitive about water or paddling, and although I think I’m a fairly strong paddler overall, I do need to spend more time in rapids.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Take the Layman Shelter - kitchen tarp made by Cooke Custom Sewing - and lots of lard to keep you warm.

Other Water based activities?
Swimming - in the north when it's warm enough, and anytime in Mexico!

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Reading, research, gardening, cooking.

Reasons you Paddle?
I've been to places in a canoe that once seemed out of reach. The opportunity to be where the ancestors of the Dene, and Anglo-European explorers and adventurers have been is extraordinary

Favourite North Water piece?
I agree with Bill - the Spray Cover!

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Same as above

Paddling motivations- why?
Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before is my main motivation. Also the opportunity to push myself, to live a totally different life, to adapt to and accept whatever comes - a wonderful, strengthening experience.

Let us know what else you are thinking here?
Part of paddling the kind of trips we do is having the right gear. We've been lucky to find things that work and Bill is always searching out new things.

Jukka Linnonmaa

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
BCU 5-Star Sea / Trainee Coach Level 3 Sea. ACA Open Water Instructor (expired), Nordisk InstruktörLicens (Scandinavian Sea Kayaking Guide certification)

Hometown
Helsinki, Finland

Current Home
Järvenpää, Finland

# years paddling
34

Sex
Male

First Craft Paddled?
An ABS plastic tandem 'lake kayak' when I was 10.

Favourite Boat to paddle?
SKUK Explorer. I have several SKUK's in my fleet, but my favorite is one I got for free from Keirron Tastagh. It was so trashed at the time I had to put several kg's more mat and resin into it. Now it is pretty indestructible!

Other craft?
NDK Explorer, Epic V-10 sport surfski, my range of rolling kayaks, and anything that floats.

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
Not much - sometimes The Doors' "This is the End" plays in my head, though.

Favourite place to paddle?
Lake Superior, USA/Canada

Fondest paddling memory?
Seeing my teenage sons practice rolling in our club's pool sessions and quickly learn a much better looking roll than mine. Proud dad.

Scariest paddling memory?
When a friend of mine sent me an SMS at 4am, stating that they had encountered three storm fronts on a 70 km Gulf of Finland open water crossing. She had lost the two others in her group in the middle of the night, and was alone at their destination, not seeing anybody coming from the sea. All turned up safely at about 5:30 am when the Coast Guard was able to contact the two others who had been forced to land on other islands.

What is your first paddling memory?
Paddling on my parent's summer cottage lake with the plastic tandem. Playing a lot in and out of the water with it.

Paddling Accomplishments?
Several open water crossings leading groups in the Baltic/Gulf of Finland. Finland - Estonia & Finland - Sweden.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Paddling in big conditions and tides. We do not get tides on the Baltic, so it is always great fun.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Rolling is not getting yourself up, rather it is pulling the kayak under your torso with the lower body.

Other Water based activities?
Swimming.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Modifying and fixing kayaks. Cross-Country skiing and Karate, Jiu-Jitsu.

Reasons you Paddle?
Backpacks are heavy and I like camping in the wilderness. There are thousands of islands on the Finnish and Swedish coastlines. I also like the challenge of leading groups on the water and instructing people in paddling.

Favourite North Water piece?
Sea Tec Towline.

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Same as above

Paddling motivations- why?
It is somehow metaphysical - unity of paddler with the environment and water. Also good exercise and low impact to the Planet Gaia.

"Local Run"?
My most local run starts from my own backyard on Kerava River. 6 km upstream and then back - in a Sea Kayak. It keeps me in paddling shape.

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
I got some North Water gear as sponsor gift when I joined Sam Crowley on his Ireland circumnavigation last year. The stuff was good, so I am contemplating importing it to Finland

Peter Mather

Professionals / Educational Qualifications - Paddling & Non Paddling?
I am a Math teacher. I have a level I CRCA certificate and Swiftwater Rescue III certificate.

Hometown
Whitehorse, Yukon

Current Home
Whitehorse, Yukon

# years paddling
17

Sex
Male

First Craft Paddled?
Gross Grumman Aluminum tug

Favourite Boat to paddle?
Nova Craft Prospector

Other craft?
None

Sing hum or whistle a tune while you paddle?
I-Pod

Fondest paddling memory?
I spent two weeks on a solo canoe trip on the Wind River in 2002. It was sun and blue skies for a solid two weeks. Being on my own, I saw an abundance of wildlife. A week into my trip, I camped at a floodplain where I'd seen a curious blond wolf pup the year before. I hadn't even set up my tent, when a black wolf trotted along on the opposite river bank. That evening the curious blond wolf from the previous year stopped by camp. I howled at her, but unlike last year, she wouldn't howl back. I stayed at the site for 4 nights and she stopped every night, except the last one. As I paddled away in the morning, I mourned the fact that I wouldn't see her before I left. As I rounded a corner on the river, I spotted her in the grasses. She trotted off as I paddled away.

Scariest paddling memory?
Last summer, I paddled a short run the Lapie River in central Yukon with a group of six friends. We had just run the last of the difficult class III rapids, and were all feeling relieved that we had gotten through the difficult whitewater. Megan was lining her canoe on the top of the calm canyon below the rapid. She tripped on a tree root and fell 10 feet down the canyon landing head first on a sharp rock. She was cut and in shock. We bandaged her up and had to paddle out 7 kilometers to the highway, before getting her to the nearest community nursing station. She had no permanent damage, just some cuts, and we were all very relieved. Looking back on the incident, I'm struck by how often accidents happen in the calm after the dangerous adrenaline ride is done.

What is your first paddling memory?
I remember running a short rapid in Ontario with my father, Val. I was less than 6, and my dad brought us to his family cabin. He took us on a trip he did in his youth. There was a short whitewater rapid, probably a class I. My brother and I were pretty scared. We made it through it fine. We were overjoyed and talked about it for hours, although I don't think my mom was very impressed. I still remember the splashing of the whitewater.

Paddling Accomplishments?
I solo paddle my 16' Mad River Freedom down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The river is full of class III and IV whitewater so it was a bit hairy. Luckily I had some sucker friends in kayaks who constantly rescued me.

What do you seek to improve about your paddling?
Efficiency - I watch paddlers who make everything look so elegant and smooth. It's like a ballet or performance. When I paddle, the canoe seems choppy and sloppy.

Best tip every paddler should keep in mind?
Practice swimming in rivers and swamping your canoes. It will help to prepare for what to do when accidents occur.

Other Water based activities?
Fishing.

Non-water activities & Pastimes?
Soccer and Photography

Reasons you Paddle?
I like to get out and visit wild places, and the best way to do that is by canoe. The canoe provides me with a quiet, beautiful vehicle to explore with.

Favourite North Water piece?
Easy…the North Water Spray decks, I've been using them for 8 years and they are mandatory on all my whitewater trips. Great quality, easy to use, and they keep me upright in the big water.

Favourite place to paddle?
Snake River, Yukon Territory

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
North Water throw bag.

Paddling motivations- why?
I love the feeling of being on rivers. They are living and breathing life forms that fill my heart with a sense of peace. I go on extended canoe trips to capture wildlands with my photography. I want to share these places with people so that others will get out and explore. I hope to encourage us all to protect, respect and keep healthy our wildlands and our planet.

"Local Run"?
Takhini River - a short run from my cabin on Kusawa Lake. It's beautiful clean water with a short stretch of whitewater and a nice portage trail so we can run the rapids repeatedly.

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
North Water sponsors my current photography project on the Nahanni River. It is a book project to be completed in 2011.

Bryan Smith

Favourite North Water piece?
Sea Tec Tow Line

Most Used North Water piece(s)?
Sea Tec Provision Pack, Sea Tec Tow Line, Turtleback Deck Bag, Tie Downs, Pig Tail, and Canyon Liner

Paddling motivations- why?
Paddling brings me a number experiences in life that I'm extremely thankful for. Probably the most important part of paddling for me is the community of friends that I have developed all over the world. Paddlers seem to embrace paddlers and that community is unique, supportive, and keeps driving me to be involved in the sport. On the water I'm at home in the elements. The river and ocean constantly humble me, inspire me, and motivate me. I have always been involved with sports, but paddling stands out as the one activity that has it all. Adrenaline, reflection, community, inspiration!

"Local Run"?
Box Canyon of the Ashlu

Your Relationship / Event(s) / Expedition's) North Water Sponsored / Aided?
As an athlete for the past 5 years I have helped develop products along side North Water and tested their products on expeditions around the world. In 2007, I helped North Water produce the SCO' Paddling DVD with Steve Rogers from Bread and Butter Media. This season North Water is a major sponsor of the sea kayaking film I'm producing called Eastern Horizons.