Blog posts in Kayaking

Shoshone kayak run

Here is a video of my first attempt at running the Colorado River in Glen Canyon. Things go pretty well...at first! I did make it through with no flips or swims on later runs. But alas no video of that. Trust me!

Ultimate Water Radio Challenge

I am incredibly frustrated. I’ve been training hard for over a year, preparing myself physically and mentally, so I can kayak the Grand Canyon. No blind person has ever done this before. And it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever attempted. But I’m being held back by technology or, more specifically, the lack thereof. Imagine sitting in a boat with your eyes closed while riding an avalanche. The chaotic power is immense and the loud roar drowns out everything else.

Kayak Training, part 2

I swallowed a lot of pride, not to mention a lot of river water, on my first visit to the National Whitewater Center. But a few weeks later, I returned for more. On that first trip, the very first rapid, called Entrance Exam, spanked me hard and I never made it past the first third of the Channel. So I was a bit apprehensive about returning to Charlotte for five days of whitewater training on the same man-made river.

Kayak Training

Recently, I have been focusing my training on whitewater kayaking, which is easily the scariest, most intense thing I have ever attempted. To maximize our training time, my partner and guide, Rob Raker, and I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, home to the United States National Whitewater Center. We have great rivers in Colorado but what makes the NWC unique is the world’s largest pumped whitewater park. This incredible man-made facility, which opened in 2006, offers consistent water flows and rapids so it is ideal for practicing technique.

Hong Kong Adventure

Recently I was asked to speak in Hong Kong and had a few extra days to play. So my friend Rob Raker traveled with me for some truly exotic climbing. We met another friend, Stuart Sharpless who owns Paradigm Consulting, which is a diverse company involved in corporate team building, adventure films, and managing the top adventure athletes in Asia. Stuart was a wonderful host who showed us some of the highlights of Hong Kong.

Kickstarting "Out Living It"

My good friend Michael Brown isn't slowing down. As many of you know, he is the award-winning producer who created "Farther Than The Eye Can See," the film about my Everest climb, and most recently "High Ground," the film about our Soldiers To Summits expedition that premiered last month. Soon, Michael's next project "Out Living It" will make its world premier at the Aspen Shortsfest. This new film follows young cancer survivors on a week-long kayaking camp run by the great organization First Descents.

Running the Sacred Monkey River

In January, I reunited with my friends from Expedition Impossible, the Modern Gypsies, for an exciting whitewater kayaking adventure in southern Mexico. As you may recall, Taylor Filasky, Eric Bach, and John Post won the month-long adventure race in Morocco while my team, No Limits, came in second place. I hate losing but, if I must, I’m happy it was to people I truly like. Joining us on this paddling trip were some other good friends including Rob Raker, Chris Weigand, Skyler Williams, and my little brother Eddie.

Wha'SUP!

It's winter, so it must be time to think about summer! One of the coolest new toys I got last year was a pair of stand up paddle (SUP) boards from Tower Boards. We didn't get them until the fall so I haven't played too much but have lately been thinking about what fun they'll be this year! Here's a photo with me and my friend Rob Raker on the maiden cruise.

Quad Amputee Kayaking

I often speak about using adversity as a fuel to create greatness. There are many examples of this that I describe in my book, The Adversity Advantage, but I'd like to share yet one more. My friend and kayak instructor, Chris Wiegand, recently started teaching a new student how to kayak. Why is that remarkable? Well five years ago, Mark Mathers was a healthy college student and martial arts instructor--very fit, very active. One day, he woke up with a sore throat and feeling a little nauseous.

Rolling with the Interior Secretary

Right before Christmas, I was kayaking with my friend and kayak coach Chris Wiegand in Confluence Park in front of the REI in Denver. This is the park Chris helped design, along with the Golden kayak park. It was a chilly December day and Chris had guided me successfully down the course twice with only one wave hitting me broadside and forcing me to do my first real (non-practice) eskimo roll. I rode a couple wave trains upsidedown and facing upstream and when I popped back up, some other paddlers along with us started applauding, along with some river-side spectators.

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