What you do?
I am a river boarder.
How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been doing this for four years in the river and probably 15 years in the ocean .
What got you into river boarding?
I first got into it growing up on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands and body boarding at Sandy Beach and my local break in Kailua.
What’s your fondest memory?
Some of my fondest memories of body boarding are being solo in the river and being hailed on so hard I was able to hear the hail bounce off my helmet as the river rushed toward me.
My scariest memory has been this year, when the river reached 6,500 cfs. (Now) I truly understand the power of the hydraulics of a river. I used to boast that I would go out in any size of the river. After that I am not so sure.
What does it teach you ?
The river always reminds me that nature is in control. It also teaches me to be present, and always remember safety first.
How has it enhanced your life?
It’s pushed me to my mental and physical limit- I am more fit now at 49 then I feel like I was at 30. It has pushed me so far beyond my fear limit that I am proud of myself for jumping in when I felt afraid. (Some) people think it’s lame? I will gladly hand my gear to anybody and tell them to jump in and get after it.
If someone wants to get into river boarding, what should they do?
Gear is everything in river boarding. Without it you will not survive more than 10 minutes. Also, you have to be a really good swimmer. My advice to someone: if you don’t know how to swim, don’t even think about it, until you know how to swim.
What’s the hardest thing about what you do?
The hardest part about river boarding is usually jumping in. No matter what, it’s cold. We are submerged, so no matter when you get in – whether it’s late March or late August – it seems chilly to me (of course I’m biased, growing up in Hawaii). River boarding pushes me beyond my physical strength’s capability – I can only ride to a certain point – the wave always keeps going, whether I can or not. I always physically train prior to the river boarding season just to prepare myself.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
The best part about river boarding is just getting lost in the middle of the river and watching the volumes of water rush toward you. It’s mesmerizing – nothing like it.
Where is your favorite place to river board?
I’ve only been to a handful of rivers in Colorado, but love my backyard: the Animas River in Durango, Colorado.