Window magazine: Western is home to some of the area's best whitewater kayakers

Submitted by gallagm7 on Fri, 07/12/2013 - 11:05am


Over spring break I traveled with a group of friends to take photos of them hucking their bodies off 40-plus-foot waterfalls.

The vacation turned out to be a non-stop adventure of day trips to waterfalls throughout southern Washington and northern Oregon. I got to watch a group of experienced, semi-professional kayakers, some of whom are at the forefront of their sport.

The group, including Western students Fred Norquist, Eric Parker, and brothers Todd and Brendan Wells, met and learned their skills at World Class Kayak Academy, a roaming high school that takes students to train in rivers and waterfalls around the globe. These days, they kayak Class V+ rivers in the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Chile.

They’re also leaders in their sport. Western student Todd Wells competed in the Whitewater Grand Prix and took fifth place, making him the fifth best kayaker in the world. And Norquist is a kayaker/videographer who is co-owner and producer of Substantial Media House, an online kayaking video series


Jasper Gibson is a sophomore at Western, planning to combine environmental journalism and outdoor adventure in a concentration at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. More of his work can be seen at

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