My history with whitewater kayaking is short compared to some people but, at the age of 26 I have already won the Green Race 6 times, 2011 Homestake Creek Race winner, bronze medalist in the 2013 Freestyle Worlds, 4th place in 2014 Freestyle World Cup, shaved my head and raised over $3,500 for First Descents and I was voted 2012 Canoe and Kayaks Female Paddler of the Year. There have been many other accomplishments in the short 8 years that I have been professional kayaking but the aforementioned are some of my highlights.
I did all of this with the help if Liquid Logic kayaks. I have been paddling Liquid Logic since the first play boat that I ever paddled, which was a Pocket Rocket when I was 16. I met Shane Benedict while I was going to World Class Kayak Academy and I immediately felt at ease with him on the river and I trusted him off the water. He has watched me grow from a rambunctious 16 year old to a rambunctious 26 year old. Shane and Liquid Logic Kayaks have helped me become the athlete, and person, that I am today and they have supported me through thick and thin.
5 years ago, almost to the day, I met a really cute red headed British boy while we were paddling Overflow, he was nice, respectful, and lovable. We started dating, I was living in Shane’s basement at the time. I thought it was awesome when Snowy came over to the house that he was hanging out with “the competition”. But Shane loved it, he was watching his little girl grow up. As the years went by, I moved out of Shane’s basement and Snowy and I moved in together, things were getting serious.
Last year, I was offered an amazing opportunity from First Descents, a non profit organization that teaches young adults to out live their diagnosis of cancer using a unique outdoor experience. With First Descents, I will be working as Lead Staff with First Descents and also be their main whitewater ambassador wearing First Descents gear and pushing the importance of their program to cancer survivors. All of the pieces of this big life puzzle started falling into place.
First Descents is partnered with Dagger Kayaks. My boyfriend is the designer for Dagger Kayaks. Dagger Kayaks is based in Greenville SC, where Snowy and I just bought our first house, and where I work for Greenville County EMS.
I did not leave Liquid Logic because of any one reason, I went to Dagger to further myself as a professional athlete, an ambassador to whitewater kayaking, and my (hopefully) future husband works for them. I had to ask Shane for permission to paddle Dagger Kayaks. Shane told me he felt like he was giving his daughter away to an amazing man.
I am so excited to see the future of Dagger Kayaks. Dagger is ever changing and creating new designs and I am honored and excited to play a part in new Dagger creations and innovations.
I look forward to what the next ten years of my career, and life, will bring. Maybe a wedding?? ;-)