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Inspiration For A Long Kayak Trip

November 2, 2011



As he maneuvers his kayak through a section of class 5 whitewater rapids, some of the most difficult in the world, Western Washington University junior Fred Norquist remains calm and collected. Up ahead looms a 40-foot waterfall, cascading down a narrow chute of rock into the pool below.

Without second thought, Norquist paddles through the rapids and launches off the waterfall. As he lands, his kayak submerges and he finds himself surrounded by cold rushing water.

A second later, he breaks the surface and takes a deep breath with a big smile on his face. Norquist lives for moments like these. Since he started kayaking nine years ago, Norquist has picked up multiple sponsors and a job producing videos for Bomb Flow Magazine.

Working with the magazine gives him the opportunity to travel and paddle throughout North and South America. Norquist said his first time kayaking was when he was 13, but it wasn’t until his freshman year of high school when he moved to Carbondale, Colo., that he started to really get into it.

He paddled consistently throughout high school and started picking up sponsors by sending video and photos of him kayaking to different companies. Some of his sponsors include Liquidlogic Kayaks, Smith Optics, Disidual Clothing and Immersion Research.

His junior year of high school, Norquist spent a semester traveling in Canada and Mexico with World Class Kayak Academy. According to the school’s website, the program allows students to earn high school credit while traveling and kayaking. Norquist’s experiences with World Class Kayak Academy opened up a world of travel and kayaking for him.

After graduating high school, he took a year off and went to Chile and Argentina to paddle. “I think that’s one of my favorite parts about this sport,” he said. “You get to travel and experience all of these beautiful rivers and places people don’t normally get to see.”

After returning from his first trip to South America, Norquist moved to Washington and decided to attend Western because of its proximity to year-round kayaking spots such as the Nooksack River.

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