Our Whitewater Gang
Aniol is a true explorer, living on the limit and redefining what is possible. The Spaniard spends more time in his kayak than in the sack, building up massive endurance giving him the ability to outrun the bulls and most on the river. Known for his big water prowess, Aniol repped the Gangsta to the top of the podium at the 2016 Sickline Championships after a season of lapping the Stikine. When coffee isn’t enough to get your buzz on, Aniol’s daily Instagram updates will wake you up and fire you up to get on the water.
If we ranked paddlers by style points alone Evan Garcia would be a top contender for the greatest to ever do it. EG first made his splash on the scene as a grom world freestyle champion back in 2007. He has gone on to push boundaries as a big waterfall huckster, an accomplished expedition paddler, and a strong downriver racer. EG’s competence and smoothness on the river has become the stuff of river legend and has been documented over the years in his infamous “Bomb Flow” series as well as in starring roles in too many kayak movies to count. EG can be found crushing laps on Tumwater in the new home base of Leavenworth, Washington. EG is also the Waka dealer for the USA.
Sven is built for kayaking. Genetically engineered by his parents and the Swiss Government, Sven was kicked out of the cradle into the water. Sven is a powerhouse, styling rapids many thought would never be run. Freestyle diving was also programmed into Sven’s DNA, making portaging rapids just as much fun as running them. If you want to go paddling with Sven, you better be on your game.
Pierce is a humble and friendly Canadian you can probably find down by the river gypsying from his van. His parents taught him how to roll when he was 9 and padding’s been his priority ever since. Over the years young Pierce has turned into a confident and well rounded boater that you may expect from a boy who grew up in BC. The kid is technically sound on steep creeks, comfortable in rowdy big water, and doesn’t mind a burly hike in to earn his strokes for a mission. As much as Pierce loves challenging whitewater, he’s just as stoked to go for some chill laps with everyone for some class fun boating! We’re stoked to see where he takes his progression in the coming years!
Ryan McAvoy is a passionate paddler based out of the Southeastern United States. He thrives on steep, technical creeks and is known for exploring new runs in the southeast. He has numerous first descents and is not afraid to do a little bush whacking. Whether he is chasing a first descent in his backyard or sliding down some of the steepest creeks in the states, there is always something exciting on his social media.
A native of Villaret de Nial (a small village in between Val d’Isère and Tignes) Nouria began kayaking at the age of 5 on the calm Isere River. Despite spending several years primarily racing slalom (an Olympic discipline) she continued to kayak freestyle and extreme kayaking alongside her career as a top athlete and her political science studies in Toulouse. After achieving the title of vice world champion in 2013, she struggled to make a comeback after injury in 2015 and decided to press the reset button! She gave up her Olympic dream and the artificial white water stadiums to go back to her first love: the river. Today, at the age of 28, she travels with her kayak in search of not only white water but also human adventures: discovering new cultures, exploring, broadening her mind, sharing and meeting people across the globe.
When you first meet Shimizu he is the quiet and calm guy in the corner. But don’t get fooled the kid is a freaking ninja. When he goes all out he is unstoppable and his kayaking is nothing but calm and quiet. It combines engagement, style and his progression is exponential, because James only picked up kayaking in recent years ! We told you he was a freaking ninja!
Like Waka Kayaks itself, Zack is straight out of Okere Falls. Growing up with the Kaituna River playground literally at the bottom of his garden, Zack spent most of his childhood days on this river. Morning race laps, slalom, creeking and freestyle cliff diving with the rest of the Okere Falls whanau, Zack is a river boy at heart. This year has seen Zack pushing his river exploration in NZ wilderness, perfecting the skills of carrying his boat a long way in the dark. Now in Europe for the season Zack is continuing his search for big water and freefall, as well as racing for the NZ team in the slalom world cups. Always a friendly smile and highly social, follow Zack on Instagram and keep up with his latest Billy The Kid adventures on his YouTube.
Scott Lindgren is one of the greatest whitewater kayakers in history. He’s been on most of the greatest expeditions ever done. From the legendary first descent of the Tsang-po, the Royal Gorge and one of the highest descents of the Stikine, just to name a few…
He’s the first person to complete the four rivers coming out of Mt. Kailash – Sutlej, Indus, Tsang-Po and Karnali. He’s a living legend in the kayaking world . We are honoured to have him representing Waka kayaks.
Benny Marr is a lover not a fighter when it comes to kayaking. After a few years in a Canadian canoe with his old man, Benny started kayaking at the age of nine and never looked back. The mostly self-taught paddler has used his style and skills gained from days of freestyle on the Ottawa to become one of the best whitewater paddlers anywhere in the world. Though he jumps around from boat to boat, we’re stoked to know that when the shit gets rowdy, Benny rocks a Waka, claiming the OG is perfect for his size and how he likes to paddle. Though he has been a long-time fan of the Tuna, “I think the OG will give me powers to run what I didn’t think was possible,” says Benny. When not on the water, Benny will be sure to make you a cup of tea and have a chat.
Quirin, is one of those guys that everyone likes. A happy, stoked-on-life dude that you can find dotted around the alps with his boys lapping up a gnarly section of whitewater or with his young son Emil hitting some flat water. He is a soul boater, gnarl runner and kayak instructor all in one.
Stoked to have you on the team Quitschie.
Czech slalom superstar and movie star Vavra Hradilek may not know how to swim, but it certainly hasn’t slowed him down on the water. Outside the concrete-ditch, the Olympic Silver medalist loves paddling the Waka Gangsta, because “it’s smooth, fast, and responsive.” The solidly-built celebrity has a heart of gold: he will be sure to welcome fellow paddlers warmly at his barge turned bar in his hometown of Prague.
I was born in Sort (a little town in the Catalan Pyrenees) in 1993. At the age of 4 my parents introduced me to this wonderful sport, KAYAKING, and I’ve never stop practicing, it comes to be my lifestyle. I have competed in Slalom, Freestyle and Creek but now I’m traveling around the world discovering new rivers, new waterfalls and SHARING the sport I love with the rest of the people and show what we are able to do with kayaks.
We are excited to welcome Evan Moore to Team Waka Kayaks. Evan is a powerhouse paddler out of Kernville, California with a unique style and passion for the sport of kayaking. Born into a whitewater family Evan has been around rivers his whole life. After high school Evan put his paddling on the sidelines to play college Football until he realized his path was to follow the river. Since the day he put down his jersey and picked up his paddle Evan has been on a World wide tear of the biggest and baddest whitewater he can find. Evan carries himself in a very professional and focused manor and is among the top young paddlers in the game. His specialty is pushing the highest water descents of popular class 5 rivers which is a true display of skill and progression in our sport. We are stoked to add such a driven and passionate paddler to our team and look forward to watching his career continue to blow up.
Meeting Bernie amongst the crowd lingering on the shore of the infamous former sickline course or catching him on one of the earliest spring days on his beloved Corsica, you will quickly get a sense that he’s earned his status as Tyrolian white-water guru. Always wearing a big smile when on the water, his love for kayaking is mixed with a great ability to analyse movements, so he’ll be able to give you just the right advice to style that line or do the trick you’ve dreamed of. In fact, he turned his love for teaching into a very successful kayaking business, which offers camps from Norway to Corsica, all along the Alps and even overseas! As a bonus, he can also supply you with all the good stuff to keep you afloat selling kayaks and paddling equipment. But he doesn’t stop there. Always keen to push his limits, he transformed his trusted OG into a C1, running it down the Wellerbrücke after just a few months of practicing as a one armed bandit. Now the shape-shifting capability of the Steeze has him dreaming of a C1/K1 version with a transforming paddle… so that allen key will come in handy for sure!
Mix a solid slalom technical background with the willingness to run hard committing rapids, a little bit of craziness, true love for all sorts of adventures in the mountains, and that’s pretty much Matthias. The guy who started paragliding and headed straight to the highest peak of the Dolomites to launch his first big flight. That’s just to give you an idea because he paddles way harder than he paraglides.
Named by her dad with a firm hope that she would love paddling, River has not disappointed him. She is an Okere Falls kid to the core, having grown up with the Kaituna river on her doorstep. Happiest amongst nature on beautiful rivers she is at ease in her Waka creek boats. Her favourite boats are the Steeze on big water and the GOAT for Kaituna laps with the Okere crew. She also likes to train her fair share of slalom kayaking and is a keen racer. Her first taste of overseas creeking in 2022 rewarded her with 2nd place at the Extreme Sports Veko World Championships in Voss as well as a super fun time… apart from the missed flight!
If you don’t know the name, you must not be a kayaker. Rush has paddled more whitewater around the world and produced more whitewater content in the past 20 years than anyone else in the game. We’ve all watched Rush transition from a wild young freestyle world champion making Young Gun Productions films, to a full blown legend of our sport making the highest quality whitewater documentaries. Living in White Salmon Washington Rush is part of the Gorge crew paddling almost 200 days in a calendar year. Inspiration and true love for the sport can be felt in watching Rush’s films and while spending time on the river with him. We are proud that Rush has decided to join Team Waka while continuing to push his whitewater career to new places!
Maike is a young whitewater paddler from Germany. Like many of our team paddlers Maike grew up in a kayaking family, spending nearly every weekend and holiday on family paddling trips. She still spends most of her time on the river always searching out the stoutest runs, exploring new places. Relatively new to racing, Maike claimed an impressive 2nd place at the OETZ trophy – Extreme Kayak World Championship 2021. It is very easy to be misled by her incredibly friendly and calm nature, BEWARE, when sitting in a kayak she turns into a weapon! We are excited to see where kayaking takes Maike this coming season.
Pedro has burst onto the kayaking scene in a flurry of first descents, expeditions and a strong paddling style that is hard to mistake. Pedro hails from the Maipo River Valley where he paddles class V daily in-between running his brewery Jauria and making trips into the farthest reaches of the Andes to find more hidden waterfalls to run. Pedro’s social media is overflowing with epic kayaking content, so go check out his channels and see the cutting edge of kayaking in Chile.
Laura grew up in a kayak family and spent most of her childhood vacations at the Soca valley. The family moved to Augsburg when she was a child, and she later decided to study there to further enjoy the benefits of the Eiskanal. Kayaking was always the one sport that gave her the most joy. When in a kayak, it’s hard for her to not be happy. 2021 Laura decided to participate at the World Championship in Ötz because it’s one of the rivers she calls home. So all the greater was the joy when she managed to win the race. Laura discovered, that she really likes racing and is trying to compete in all races that cross her kayaking journey. She likes to travel and to explore new rivers all over the globe. That is why she started working for Worldclass Kayak Academy last autumn. Here she can combine her love for kayaking and traveling with passing on her passion for the sport to the next generation.
Growing up with the Kaituna on your doorstep is a common theme for some talented young paddlers. George is one of these Kaituna locals and has been paddling as long as he has been walking. He has had a big few years of racing and running stouts, though he is a home boy at heart. He loves his local runs and crafting new tricks on his home features alongside his best mates.
© 2021 Waka Kayaks, Okere Falls, New Zealand