The Whitewater Discussion Podcast

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May 1, 2020  

Paddling and leadership - Chris Brain

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Chris has been teaching paddling, leadership and safety for about 20 years and founded his own coaching business : Chris Brain coaching. Whether it is in a kayak, a canoe or a SUP, Chris has spent time loving and mastering them all. But beyond the scope of technique, he is passionate about the leadership and the soft skills attached to paddling whitewater. Committed to educating people and developing a culture of safety, Chris wrote a manual about the basics of safety and rescue and it is available for free, directly from his website.

In this episode we discuss paddling techniques as well as decision making and leadership.

I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation.

Chris is supported by :

Pyranha Kayaks, Palm equipment, Red Paddle Co, Go kayaking shop

Links for this episode :

Download Chris' "Safety and rescue essentials" manual

Book : Only fools and white horses by Skeath Colin

Book : Kayak by William Nealy 

Paddle education on Youtube

April 18, 2020  

“Boat don’t float !” with Mark Oates

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For this episode we are going south, all the way to Tasmania, Australia to chat with Mark Oates.

Mark has been paddling for about 25 years, and has taught kayaking and rafting. 10 years ago, He discovered packrafting and now runs paddling courses for packrafters as well. Some of you might already know Mark from the European packrafting meetups in 2019 where he ran outstanding paddling skills clinics.

We recorded this episode just about a year ago, a few weeks before he and his wife Jen flew to Europe for 3 months of paddling.

Even though I did not know him when we recorded this podcast, I’ve had since the opportunity to paddle with him quite a bit while he was over here in Europe and learned a lot from him.

In this episode, we talked about the different places to paddle in Europe, his job as an Outdoor educator, and he shares with us some tips on how to improve our paddling skills.

If you haven’t read his article about paddling skills yet, go check it out, it is very thorough and very well articulated. 

Useful links for this episode :

Mark's article about paddling=> here

WilderWheels Scooters=> here

Packrafting Tasmania=> here

The Wilderness society=> here

Mark giving us some tips while paddling the Ubaye river (French Alps) during the Packrafting meetup.  Photo by Harold.Z

Mark giving us some tips while paddling the Ubaye river (French Alps) during the Packrafting meetup.  Photo by Harold.Z



March 1, 2020  

Sierra Rescue International - Julie Munger.

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Julie Munger is the founder and CEO of Sierra Rescue International, a leader in the industry of swiftwater safety and rescue as well as first aid training. Sierra Rescue strives to deliver the most relevant and up to date classes to any river user, from raft guides to field biologists.

Julie has been boating for over 40 years and teaching rescue training for over 25. Her passion for teaching and training is obvious. I feel very fortunate that she took the time to discuss swiftwater safety and rescue with me.

Together, we discuss some of the industry standards and what every boater should think about and train for before getting on the river. Whether you are a seasoned raft guide, an experienced kayaker or just getting into packarafting, you might find some of her answers surprising, and will probably learn a lot throughout our conversation.

Sierra Rescue International is always happy to design a curriculum based around your needs, so feel free to reach out to them !

Photos : Sierra Rescue International.

Links for this episode :

Sierra Rescue International

"Whitewater and river rescue field guide" by Sierra Rescue (don't worry it's waterproof and probably fits into your PFD !)

January 11, 2020  

King of the Alps - European extreme kayaking championship

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King of the Alps is one of the biggest, most fun events of the season, and is also the European Extreme kayaking championship !

Whether you wanna become the king of the alps yourself or just wanna have a great time amongst paddlers (and locals !), King of the alps is the place to go.  From marathon racing to class V, as well as fun off the water competitions and parties, this event has something for everyone. 

In this episode of the Whitewater discussion podcast, we talk to Caroline one of the organisers of the event. Together we go through the event as it unfolds, and go behind the scenes. Caz explains us the different races, how safety is set and all the benefits this event brings to the valley.

King of the alps is supported by :

Level six

Spade kayak

Kober paddles

Exo kayak

Find out more about this event at :

All photos courtesy of King of the alps. 

Did we mention the "intimidator rapid ?"

Anybody missing ?

The "skate-yak" competition.

Pool rolling contest.


December 5, 2019  

The state of the industry with Corran Addison from Soul Kayak.

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This episode was recorded on November 29th, 2019

Corran Addison has been in the kayaking industry for decades and is the founder of Soul Kayak. 

A few months ago, Corran did a talk to raise awareness about the state of the kayaking industry, what is a stake, and what we can do to save it. Interesting in finding out more, I reached out to him to discuss the issue further. Corran was kind enough to dive into the topic again and hopefully, shade light on the road ahead us.

Make sure to check out Corran's written article and talk (link below) before listening to this episode.

Links for this episode :

Soul kayak :

Corran's article in "The paddler" (British magazine) : PDF version here 

Corran's talk about the state of the industry (from the Hammer factor podcast) : here

The hammer factor podcast : here

November 23, 2019  

Monica Morin Ep2 : risk assessment and the risky river matrix.

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We are back for another GREAT episode with Monica Morin !

If you haven't listened to the first episode, you can find it -> here 

In this second episode, we talk about mitigating risk, making informed decisions and the risky river matrix.

Enjoy !

 The risky river Matrix, pretty neat !

Backcountry paddling ? Oh yeah ! Photo : John Schauer


Links for this episode :

Swiftwater Safety Institute

Running Upper cherry creek in packrafts !

Luc Mehl's website

November 10, 2019  

Monica Morin Ep1 : Whitewater boating from Maine to Alaska.

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Monica started as a competitive swimmer at age 7 (even won an NCAA division 2 national title in the 200 butterfly !). After a commercial rafting trip decided she wanted to become a raft guide. Several years down the line now, she has made the outdoors her office working as a backcountry and river ranger for 14 years.

Monica has kayaked, rafted, packrafted (and sometimes swam !) in more places than most of us will in our life time. Whether she talks about raft guiding and kayaking in the lower 48 or packrafting in Alaska, her love for rivers and her dedication to our community is evident.

 In this first episode, we discuss her love for the outdoors and how she got into it, as well as her experience paddling in the U.S and internationally.

In episode two, we will use her knowledge and skill in the field to dive into risk assessment and safe boating.

Quick note : at the beginning of the episode Monica mentions a trip down the Kennicott being in Maine. As some of you might have guessed, she meant the Kennebeck in Maine. The Kennicott is also a wonderful place but is in Alaska... Sometimes...You just get too excited talking about the places you love... ;)

Enjoy the show !

Ain't nothing like the outdoors !

Monica ready to explore the backcountry. photo by Taylor Bracher

Arizona boating at its finest.

Episode 2 dropping off soon !

October 29, 2019  

Wild and scenic at heart with Zach from NorthWest rafting company.

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We are back !!

In this episode, we are talking with Zach owner of Northwest Rafting Company, Oregon.

Have you ever thought about going on a multi-day trip down some of the most pristine wild and scenic rivers of the American West ? Well, Zach does that for a living !

On top of being a passionate river guide, Zach is dedicated to sharing his experience and knowledge about various whitewater related topics through his podcast : the river talk Podcast and his youtube channel : Gear Garage. 

Since it is the first podcast I ever recorded, you can expect my questions to be pretty sporadic and inarticulated. However, in the middle of my nonsense, you will learn about the whitewater culture in Oregon, inflatable kayaks, the joys and struggles of international paddling, and the importance of wild and scenic rivers.  

If you are interested in going down some of the most unique waterways in Oregon and places like Bhutan, or, if you are just curious about his company, you can find out more about northwest rafting company here :

Useful links for this episode :

The river talk podcast :

Zach's Youtube channel : Gear Garage

The AIRE Backraft : Aire website

May 27, 2019  

For the love of water with Seon from Packraft Europe.

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on Stitcher => Here

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As well as being a great paddling buddy, Seon is a Whitewater safety instructor, a business owner, a dad, a river advocate and even a kite surfer. Unlike most of us, Seon learned to walk on a boat, which he latter learned to sail. His love of water also got him into whitewater kayaking and packrafting. 

Now married with two kids (and a third one on the way !), Seon and his wife Michaela opened Packraft Europe in 2018. To them, their business is a way to keep our rivers free flowing for future generations and sharing their love of water with the rest of the world.  

While on a paddling trip to Austria, I stopped over by their house to record this episode. Thanks for great time guys !

You can learn more about their mission statement on their website :

Some of the links we mentioned in this episode :


Seon, Michaela and their daughters 

Seon, Michaela and their two girls testing out the Alpackaraft Oryx.

April 22, 2019  

Swift water safety instructor Eric Riley


(episode recording on March 14th)

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on Stitcher => Here

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 It's out !

For the first episode we are talking river safety with Whitewater safety instructor Eric Riley from the Swiftwater Safety Institute (based out of Jackson, Wyoming)

I met Eric in 2016 on a 3 day rescue course in New-Zealand and decided to reconnect with him to kick off this podcast.

The Swiftwater safety institute has been training any river users from river guides, to private boaters,packrafters, all the way to various government agencies like the Navy Seals.

You can learn more about the SSI and their courses on their website :

In the episode we talked about the river life in Wyoming, how to stay safe on the river ? How can we prevent rescue situations ? Are you a class III boater ?What should I spend money on ? Should I say "go" or should I say "no" ? How is training Navy seals different ?What is the impact of packrafting in the Whitewater world ? How are the courses designed to meet specific needs ?

It's all in this episode.

Thanks for your time Eric !

Useful links for this episode :

Erik SSI



Photos courtesy of the swiftwater safety institute. 


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