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P e o P l e | I n d u S T r y | S a F e T y | v h F
newS From The PaddlInG world
Flotsam
&
Jetsam
photo
: Bryan
s
mith
PEoPLE By Bryan SmITh
up and Coming
PauL KutHE IS one oF The BeST younG PaddlerS anywhere
WHeN 25-yeAR-OLD Portland, Ore- that experience,” he says. “I knew that kayak- Working his way to full strength, he took
gon–based paddler Paul Kuthe enrolled in his ing had not caused his death. It was just an- his ACA whitewater certification and per-
first BCU sea kayak coaching course in 2006, other thing that brought us that much closer fected his technique. Throwing himself into it
he didn’t realize it would be the beginning of a together in his last few years of life. So I never fully, he decided he should take every stroke to
whole new discipline in his favourite sport. had any doubts about continuing to pursue its highest level. He had found a deeper con-
Born and raised in St. Louis, missouri, the sport. It made it all too clear to me that nection to the sport and a new lifestyle. He
Kuthe first wet his paddle at the age of five. life is too short and we should spend our years started teaching and never looked back.
Sitting fore of his father in a tandem canoe he wisely, really doing all we can to enjoy every Today Paul is a full-time kayaking coach,
honed his skills with a single blade before he day, as it may be our last.” filmmaker and photographer. He is pleased to
graduated to a Perception Dancer whitewater Paul continued paddling with the support have paddling as a lifestyle, a job and a hobby.
kayak at age 10. He, his father and uncle all of his uncle, John Kuthe. Then, at 19, he dislo- Next up, he says, “I hope to go on some
learned at the same time, so kayaking was a cated his shoulder playboating and questioned more tidal race and surfing expeditions, where
family outing. Over the next decade he turned if he should keep pushing himself in the sport. instead of racing around a rock or slogging
a childhood passion into a lifestyle. Depressed during the recovery, he needed to through as fast as possible, we take our time to
Paul’s path to becoming a world-class pad- break out of that “almost better” plateau. He enjoy a place, meet the locals and spend time
dler and coach had a few bumps along the figured a great way to do this was to get on the helping to improve their lives in some way.”
way, however. most notably when his father water daily, so he picked up sea kayaking. The challenges in his life have made Paul
suffered a deadly heart attack on the river. Paul’s Dancer has since morphed into a one of the more humble paddlers out there.
Kuthe witnessed the event but it didn’t turn British-built Tiderace Xcite, and his two- His talent and positive attitude have made
him off paddling. piece aluminum paddle into a carbon and him one to watch as a driving force for the
“It was traumatic, but I learned a lot from fibreglass Werner. future of sea kayaking.
10 aDvENturE KaYaK | Summer/Fall 2009
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