San Rafael, California
Kelly and Juliet grew up with similar childhoods in radically different spaces. Kelly was a self-described feral outdoor child in the mountains of Germany, where he found a love of rafting and the drive to compete. Juliet grew up with fitness in her DNA and played every sport under the sun until she found rowing in high school in Long Beach, CA. Both dove into rafting professionally, winning national titles and competing in whitewater world championships, until they ultimately met each other. After rafting, the two ventured into the world of CrossFit and fitness together. Since then, they’ve been together as entrepreneurs and pioneers. They founded San Francisco Crossfit in 2004, right when the CrossFit movement was in its early stages. With that as their main focus, they then started a mobility-focused workout program called The Ready State, with Kelly leading workouts that helped others find strength in movement. Of course, rafting and the outdoors are still a key part of their lives. They base out of Marin Country, where they can mountain bike, paddle, and hike almost 300 days a year. Kelly and Juliet are a powerhouse of well-being, and their efforts to teach fitness and mobility to the community have us hoping they save room for us on their next paddle.
What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning?
A. Coffee B. Coffee C. Get our kids off to school D. Workout or mountain bike.
Where is your favourite place to train?
We are huge fans of having a home gym, especially since we have kids. It’s so much easier to exercise when we just have to step outside our garage door, and we can get a good workout right there. We also live in Martin County (and pay for the expensive housing here) because we can mountain bike and paddle, and hike 325 days of the year. The scenery is unimaginably beautiful and never gets boring.
Tell us a favourite story from a day out in the wild.
Last year, Kelly was kayaking the Class V section of the North Fork of the American River called “Giant Gap.” He was paddling with a mix of experienced and inexperienced paddlers, and the section required an hour hike-in at the beginning. During the day, Kelly rode a Class V drop blind and had to make a radical move where he strained his triceps. They were on the river until dark and didn’t have a lot of time to eat. When Kelly finally got back to the car and picked up some In-N-Out, he realized his triceps were so strained he couldn’t get the fries into his mouth.
How do you up your game year after year?
We are no longer trying to up our game year after year. We are in the consistency and play-forever game.
If you could do anything better, what would it be?
We both wish we could sing better.
Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to?
We are lucky enough to have amazing friends who are athletes, entrepreneurs, and just plain good humans. We look up to them.
What haven’t you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
We’d like to make enough money to get back to our roots and live in a car. Except, in this case, it would be a nice Sprinter van.
What part of you, or what you do, reflects a spirit of restlessness?
We are entrepreneurs at our core because we are restless. We always like to be challenged and slightly outside our comfort zone, and that’s where we work and perform our best.
If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?
We hate social media. It’s 100% necessary as part of our business, though. We also love that it keeps us connected to and inspired by our friends.
What sound or noise do you love?
Clichè – but the sound of our kids making each other laugh. And we like the sound of money being delivered to our mailbox.
I am happiest when...
We are with our family playing outside in nature.
What would your day job be if you weren’t doing what you’re currently doing?
Kelly: Physical Therapist and Juliet: Judge
If you could bring anybody in the world with you to do what you love (dead or alive), who would it be?
We’d bring each other and our kids.
What does YETI mean to you?
YETI is literally the only brand that has transcended every phase of my life, from being a professional guide to being a mom to being a health and wellness entrepreneur. – Julliet Starrett YETI reminds me of what’s important: adventure, fellowship, and being outside. YETI products are a totem. – Kelly Starrett.
What does it mean to be built for the wild?
I once read a book about the first passage into the Olympic Mountain range, and the author described the team as “being of manly vim and vigor.” Our innate physiology is built for being outside – getting sun exposure, playing, and exploring. You can explain our biology through the lens of being outdoors.
How would you explain what YETI is to someone who didn’t know?
If you could distill down the dopest, coolest, most functional tools that make the outdoors more enjoyable into an essence – that’s YETI.
What is the YETI product that you cannot do without?
Juliet: I’m basically never without my mint-green Rambler® Tumbler. Also, I got my first Tundra® 125 Hard Cooler in 2008 and specially built my raft frame to fit it, so that thing will be with us for life.
What, if any, other YETI products do you use?
We’re really into coffee, so we use Rambler® Mugs on the daily. We also love the LoadOut® Bucket. And basically everything else YETI makes.
How has any YETI product changed what you do or how you do it?
We drink a lot more water thanks to our big huge Rambler® Drinkware. It changed how awesome our dinner can be on day 5 of a river trip in hot weather. When we pull out hot coffee in the middle of a gnarly river run, everyone is jealous.