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.
Evan “EG” Garcia breaks the mold when it comes to kayaking. He may be the best paddler out there on the water, but he would never tell you. It’s easy to run hard rapids without looking after your mates, but EG makes sure he and the crew are safe so everyone has a good day. He takes calculated risks, and doesn’t turn his brain off for big rapids. He has impeccable technique and makes running the shit look too easy. Based in White Salmon, Washington, Evan is our dealer for the USA, helping Waka junkies across the ocean get their fix.
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.
Hardcore paddlers, really nice people.
Ryan “Baby Bird” Lucas is known for running big rapids, and having big crashes. Ryan learned to paddle on the Kaituna before leaving the nest to head overseas at age 19. He quickly made a reputation for himself on and off the water with his ballsy style, on water successes, and his off water antics. He is trying to be safe, but is still learning how to paddle on the edge without tipping over. If something goes wrong, Ryan’s a good person to have around, as he will do anything to rescue you if you’re in a bad spot.
Jamie may not be as outwardly competitive and aggressive as brother and Waka co-founder Sam, but he’s just as talented. His smooth style on the water comes from days skipping school to paddle the Kaituna, where he can still be found when not in his adopted home of Norway. Norway may have less sun, but there is no shortage of water, and of course, Jamie’s Norwegian mistress. Constantly on the taper program when it comes to training having recently started a family, Jamie still makes the podium, proof that sometimes less is more.
Zack started paddling on the Kaituna, wagging preschool in favour of lessons on the river. The truant was strongly influenced by slalom, but is growing into a true Gangsta punk. Zack is constantly proving he is getting big enough to fit the Gangsta and hang with the boys. When not focused on competing for team New Zealand or increasing his Instagram followers, Zack can be found showing off his considerable skills in a creekboat. Zack is still a teenager learning the balance between staying safe and looking good, so feel free to impart some knowledge and school this youngster.
Ciarán may claim he is French, but his love of the colour green gives away his Irish blood. A multi-faceted paddler, Ciarán competes in slalom, but atones for sins with missions around the world in search of creeks and big water. A talented photographer and cinematographer, Ciarán puts bread on the table with his company 12 productions. Ciarán once spent the night in NZ’s west coast bush with his shoulder out of his socket, waiting more than 12 hours for a helicopter rescue with no-one but Johan for warmth. Little has been said about that night, but we trust Ciarán will snuggle a buddy in need.
Benny Marr is a lover not a fighter, especially when it comes to women- oops, we mean 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 with his boys or hitting eddies and doing rock spins with his mum on some grade 3 fun boating. He is a soul boater, gnarl runner and kayak instructor all in one. Stoked to have you on the team Quiche.
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 (Did we mention he also flies planes?) has a taste for the finer things in life and a heart of gold: he will be sure to welcome fellow paddlers warmly at his barge turned bar in his hometown of Prague.
“At the age of 21, Edward, better known as Shredward, has grown into a strong and confident paddler over the last few years and is charging at the top of the game on the West Coast of Canada. Best known for his passionate approach to whitewater, the friendly giant has lived out of a little Subaru on the side of the river since he was 18 and has poured blood, sweat, and tears into his paddling to get to where he is now. When it comes to kayaks, the OG is his vessel of choice, constantly stating he doesn’t know how a boat design could get any better for running the shit.”
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.
© 2018 Waka Kayaks, Okere Falls, New Zealand