Sponsorships are a little tricky for manufactures, but when Dan submitted his proposal, list of rivers, first descents planned and waterfalls dropped, we knew had found a talented athlete. One who was just crazy enough to push the edge and smart enough to do it as safely as possible.
So Dan, when did you first start rafting?
"I first started rafting when attending Montana State University in Bozeman, in my home state of Montana; I rented a raft from the university sporting shop and ran a class 3 big water section of the Yellowstone River. By the end of the first rapid, I knew I was hooked. I continued to raft and stumbled upon the Lochsa where I truly fell in love with whitewater. I convinced many of my unsuspecting friends to be guinea pigs and let me guide them down this Idaho classic."
What has kept you hooked?
"I decided after graduation to attend Dental school and Oregon seemed to be the best spot where I could still get out into the country and enjoy the outdoors; being a Montana kid and all this was important to me. I started doing quite a bit of rafting but it seemed like there were many rivers that were regularly rafted and soon we had been down most of the ones that were. I soon met a kayaker named Jacob Cruiser, and rafting changed completely for me. He liked to get away from the popular runs and head off the beaten path and convinced me to start going with him into places that had never been rafted (some for good reason). After these excursions, rafting has never been the same for me; rafting has taken me to some of the most unbelievable places with top-notch scenery; some places had only been seen by the few people who could kayak down them."
What is your favorite river?
"I have had the good fortune to run many rivers but there are definitely a few that stand out as my favorites. Eagle Creek in the Columbia Gorge will always stick out in my mind as this was one of our first creeking runs where we really got to see what was possible in a raft—running a 35 and 40 foot waterfall and somehow landing both of them in the boat. The Little White Salmon is also at the top of the list of favorites as it is possible to be on the river in an hour from Portland and everything ranging from the rapids to scenery are the top of the class. The North Fork of the Snoqualmie (Ernie’s Canyon) is one of the most challenging runs I have done as many of the top kayakers said it was impossible to raft as it is one of the hardest kayak runs in Washington. The Big Quilcene and the Carbon River are the most committing runs I have ever done as both had never been rafted and contained class V+ rapids with an inescapable gorge. The scenery on those two runs is amazing. Probably my all time favorite run is the North Fork of the Payette. The run has 15 miles of class V that never seem to let up. We got the opportunity to r2 the entire 15 miles and the whitewater was world class. Jacob’s Ladder on the NF is and will be for a long time one of the best rapids I have ever had the good fortune to run."
"My favorite beer is the one and only PBR!"
Chinook Falls, footage to come.
What is next for you in life, beside running AIRE?
I will soon be moving to Corvallis, Oregon as I have transferred into the Pharmacy School there and will also be out exploring the rivers near there.
You stoked to be an AIREhead?
I am especially excited to start rafting in an AIRE boat; working in a rafting shop has given me more opportunities to compare AIRE boats with others and I have concluded that they are truly the best boats on the market. I will always remember my first rafting experience in an AIRE on Eagle Creek; the raft was very stable going off the big falls and was easy to control in the tight technical sections. I look forward to many more experiences rafting with different AIRE rafts!
We are looking forward to the stories, photos and footage! Thanks Dan!
~Sheena and Dan