New Wave – Evan Moore Interviewed by Rush Sturges
By Rush Sturges/ River Roots. (Originally published in KS#60, Winter 2016/17)
California has been responsible for producing some of the top talent in whitewater kayaking. From the Knapp Brothers to Charlie Center, the steep creeks and technical rivers have shaped and molded some of the greatest paddlers of all time. This summer, 20-year-old Evan Moore started turning heads with a portage-less descent of the South Yuba River. In addition, he ran every rapid on the Stikine, placed top 10 at the North Fork Championship, and ran the Middle Kings at juicy flows. I caught up with Evan on his way to the Sickline World Championships in Austria.
How was growing up on the Kern River? Did your folks get you into paddling?
Growing up on the Kern allowed me to progress quickly as a young kid. My dad owning Sierra South, a kayak shop, kayak school, and raft outpost helped too. My dad is an OG (original gangster) Cali boater who pioneered some classics such as the Forks of the Kern. From the time I was 11 he would drive me 25 miles up the Kern everyday before work and drop me off and say “see you after work.” Paddling that much everyday was huge for my progression.
Did the Keeners program play a significant role in your progression as well?
Getting to paddle a river like the Ottawa with top coaches was unbelievable. The one skill I thank Keeners for the most is making me comfortable in a variety of situations that you might be put in as a kayaker. Keeners was a huge part of my progression as a kayaker.
I heard you also play football? Any other interests you are pursuing?
Right now I am working towards a Business Degree online through Sacramento State College. I also just decided to hang up my football cleats in January and focus full time on paddling. I played 2 seasons in Sacramento and felt like I was missing something in my life. I had never put all my focus on kayaking and I felt it was a time in my life where I needed a change. I haven’t looked back since.
Seems like you can smash at freestyle as well. Any interest in competing at the Grand Prix this upcoming spring?
I am looking forward to the Grand Prix this upcoming spring! Hopefully I will get an invite and get to head back to the Ottawa Valley! It was home for me for so many summers and I would be stoked to be able to compete in such a rad event!
This summer you were able to hit a lot of the California classics. Which one was your favorite and why?
Wow, that’s a tough one for me! It’s between Yuba Gap and Middle Kings but I think Middle Kings gets the edge on this one. It’s everything you imagine when thinking about California kayaking. Big hike, big rapids, incredible scenery, it’s the top of the list when it comes to difficult and committing whitewater. I was lucky enough to have an all-star crew for our trip. Flows were pretty juicy and scary but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
What’s scarier…Class VI or girl drama?
Haha, this is a great question! Just depends on the girl…
Who is the most legendary ‘old school’ kayaker of all time?
Well I’ve been fortunate to get to know and paddle with Scott Lindgren this year. He’s definitely a person I look up to. Also have to give a shout out to Halestorm.
Hell yah. Those guys are oooooooold. Especially Hale. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made on the river?
My biggest mistake on the river happened on my home river at flood stage. Many of the normal put-ins were washed out and I made a terrible decision to put in above a nasty strainer and ended up being pushed into it and was stuck there for a while. Luckily I had good people around me to help out, but it was an eye opener for me as a young kid, to be aware of my surroundings.
You have two weeks to live. What river or drop do you fire up?
San Rafael Falls in Ecuador.
Sponsor shout outs?
Shout out to Jackson Kayak, Immersion Research, Werner, Astral, Sierra South and Torryd!