Over the past decade Tao has held three world records, won the pre-World Championships, Asian Cup, and Japanese Open. Tao has also been the most decorated US extreme racer over the past 5 years, including having had an undefeated season. Tao has even been called by Sports Illustrated, “the most famous kayaker on the planet.”Currently is training for a project were he will be attempting to surf the biggest wave that has ever been surfed in a kayak. Check-out Tao's greatest hits: http://vimeo.com/17006825?ab
Hometown: White Salmon, Washington
Native of Colorado and kayaker for 12 years, Ross understands the importance of instruction to grow the sport and has dedicated his time to teaching, so far the last 6 years as an ACA certified instructor, done instructional workshops for various media groups including Men's Health, New York Times, Denver Post, Allure Magazine, and various others.
Graduating from Northern Michigan University spring 2011, then leading a 6 month fundraising campaign for First Descents. First Descents is a nonprofit cancer camp using kayaking and adventure sports to heal young adults with cancer of the emotional effects it brings. Ross will be on the road kayaking 50,000 vertical feet to raise $50,000 dollars under the Team First Descents 50/50 Vertical Challenge.
World Class paddler, currently based for the spring in Jackson Wyoming for some of this place's incredible skiing and keeping in touch with the core of US paddling. His recent success is Halo Effect', well received and winning awards wherever it's screened. Halo Effect has won Best Whitewater Film at the REEL festival, next comes the 10 stop tour expected up to 35 000 premiere attendees. This film is not for sale as a DVD so it's out come is through festival screenings. After this year Steve will release it as a free download. Broadcast rights for TV, to be viewed on NBC Universal sports here in the US and plans in the works to have it Air in German Europe as well as Norway and Iceland. Steve Fisher and Stohlquist have long worked together over the last decade with similar objectives of excellence.
Began Kayaking In: 2003
Hometown: Williston, ND
Natalie enjoys V+ creek-boating and surfing big waves. She and her partner Leif Anderson from Fort Collins, Colorado are regular competitors in freestyle events. Natalie's enthusiasm for kayaking has taken her to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, the Pacific Northwest, Uganda, and the Northwest Territories. She is currently pursuing informal science education for K-12 and home-schoolers and holds a BA degree in Geology from Humboldt State University and an MS degree in Fluvial Geomorphology from Colorado State University.
Hometown: Ft. Collins, Colorado
Balancing a paddling career with the pursuit of a PhD in theoretical physics, Leif is in his kayak whenever and wherever possible, including the middle of the Colorado winter...so he demands the very best paddling gear possible.
Titles: 2010 Eddyflower Vertical challenge 3rd place (team Leif and Natalie), 2010 Glenwood Ender 1st, 2010 Gunninson festival 1,2,3 in boatercross, big trick, and rodeo.
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado
Mike is one of the best instructors, known best for his excellent Swift Water Rescue Workshops where he puts SW gear to the test. If you are interested in learning the essential skills necessary to conduct a white water rescue, Mike runs two day workshops to teach you what's needed to be safe while on the water. These “Swift Water Rescue Workshops” are sponsored by Northeast PA Kayak School and are always a very educational and fun time.
Samatha Brunner Ruppelt
Adventurous paddler, 25 years old, skydiver and traveler, Sammie well represents the ladies side of today's contemporary kayaking scene. Willing to leap tall waterfalls at a single bound, super-paddler Sammie brings us incredible action photography/video-graphy from wherever she and husband Boyd roam. Presently finishing a bachelors degree, she is a great contributor locally to new paddlers.
Hometown: Lakeland, TN
Besides his carreer as a teacher, Boyd is a 27 year old skydiver and professional whitewater kayaker, sponsored by Keen, Gaia Paddlesports, Jackson Kayak, Zeal Optics, Stohlquist WaterWare, Snap Dragon Designs, Werner Paddles and Freestyle Watches. For more info on me and what I'm up too click on my website below.
Hometown: Lakeland, TN
Paddling has been my passion ever since my dad took me out on Cottonwood Lake in my very own custom built Colorado RiverMachine that warm summer day in '81. I still can recall the days in the backyard (river's there) counting down the Numbers on the Arkansas River in masterpiece riverrunners like the Hydra Dragonfly and Seda Master (pink) with my prototype Stohlquist Max Vest pfd, secured with a bungie cord (predecessor to the "Cinch-Strap"). Thankfully, the sport has come a long way since then. I can truly appreciate the advancements in the gear. Now-a-days, when I am not studying my tail off (med-school), my tail end is usually in a boat. For my river missions, I never leave home without my Stohlquist bodyPOD drysuit, Descent PFD, CaveMAN booties, Pyranha kayaks, Werner paddle and my Sweets helmet.
Hometown: Buena Vista, Colorado