Ken Hoeve

Gypsum, Colorado

The rapids don't freeze, but if they did, Ken would ride 'em like that, too. Ken is a man of the outdoors in every sense, getting out there in any way he can. Known best for running whitewater in a kayak or, less conventionally to others, a standup paddle board, he's not limited to the water. Snowboarding, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and motocross also occupy his hobbies, and he gets back to the water to fly fish when not boarding - but on a casual day he may do both at the same time. Ken lives to be outdoors, always taking on new challenges and inspiring others to do the same. While he's well on his way to nearly doing it all, he's yet to take-on the river with God - and if God's not available - Bob Marley.
Where is your favourite place to kayak?
On the river. And there are so many choices throughout the year. But I spend most of my time on the Eagle and Colorado Rivers.
Tell us a favourite story from a day out.
One of the more memorable times was kayaking on the upper section of Pauley Creek in California. A friend and I spent the day hiking up with our boats and saw so many signs of bears in the area. Scat, eaten berries, etc. We reached the put-in and put on. About half way down we came across a mother and her cubs drinking out of the river. The surprised mom ran into the river after us, snarling and standing on her hind legs while the cubs ran up a nearby tree. One of the scarier moments on the river and it had nothing to do with the rapids.
How do you up your game year after year?
I'm always looking for new things to try. It's way better to be a pioneer than to do the same thing others have already accomplished.
Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to?
Steven Nyman, Shane Dorian, Carter Andrews, and my wife and kids.
What haven't you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
To paddle the Stikine River. It's massive and remote. Only a handful of paddlers do it every year. It's been on my bucket list ever since I picked up a paddle.
If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?
Yes, definitely. The danger of it. While I love the feeling it gives me it's also scary as hell sometimes. Being in the middle of nowhere on a heavy river is as invigorating as it is terrifying. But for myself the benefits of travel, adventure and exercise always win out over fear.