Age: 22 | Catalonia, Spain
Known For: Throwing freestyle tricks off major waterfalls
This Year: Serrasolses has taken the boating world by storm. After firing up Mexico’s major whitewater, he moved on to run a first and only descent of Patagonia’s Salto de la Puma, one of the most technical 100-plus footers ever run.
What’s Next: Serrasolses wants to step up his big water running and expedition paddling skills. He hopes to hit the classic runs of the Pacific Northwest and B.C.
Age: 26 | Ontario, Canada
Known For: Big-water play, and the first descent of Site Zed
This Year: Marr made the first complete descent of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, including a solo run of the last un-run rapid-Site Zed. Enough said.
What’s Next: Firing up the North Fork Championshipsin Idaho.
Age: 19 | Rock Island, Tennessee
Known For: All-around boating prodigy.
This Year: At only 19, Jackson has become a force to be reckoned with in every whitewater discipline. Though best known as a high-amplitude freestyler, Jackson proved his extreme-racing chops with a convincing title defense at the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix. He’s a fixture on the U.S. freestyle team and paddled more laps during the Green Race than anyone else-C1, OC1, Longboat, Duo and Switchback. That’s right, he ran Gorilla backwards. On purpose.
What’s Next: With his second consecutive Whitewater Grand Prix victory, Dane has moved back to the freestyle track-making it to the U.S. Freestyle Team for the K1, C-1 and squirt divisions where he will compete in September.
More on Dane: Story + Video
Age: 32 | Pau, France
Known For: Speed, and a charming accent.
This Year: Won second consecutive Whitewater World Series and placed second at Chile Whitewater Grand Prix with fractured ribs.
What’s Next: After breaking his back in December 2010 on the Alseseca’s "Tomata One" waterfall, Deguil returned to paddling with a passion and dedication few can equal.
This Year’s Goal: A third consecutive Whitewater World Series title.
More on Eric: Website
Age: 24 | Bozeman, Montana
Known For: Pushing the boundaries of both whitewater and film
This Year: Garcia is all about the vertical missions and producing amazing whitewater videos. With Sturges and Ortiz, Garcia ran the first top-to-bottom descent of the world’s steepest river, the Rio Santo Domingo in Chiapas, Mexico. When he’s not running expedition missions, Garcia is charging the steep creek races, recently winning the Little White Salmon Downriver Mens Race. He also co founded Substantial Media house, whose mission is to run the biggest whitewater in the world and share those adventures with the boating community.
What’s Next: Garcia is looking forward to pushing his racing skills and putting up some good results in the big events this summer.
More on Evan: Website
Age: 19 | Location: Chattanooga, TN
Known For: Hunting down the Southeastern first descents
This Year: His main gig has been hitting the big Southeastern US whitewater, which include a tandem run of Cane Creek Falls with Pat Keller (80 ft.), three runs in one season of Desoto Falls (20ft. to 70 ft.), First descent of Daniels Creek Falls (60 ft.), Greeter Falls (50 ft.), Foster Falls (65 ft.).
What’s Next: After having a stellar year, Jennings plans to take whitewater a step further with extreme races, slalom, and steeper creeking-and of course finding more waterfalls and hidden first descents.
More on Hunt: Website
Age: 23 | Atlanta, Georgia
Known For: Clean lines and strong recovery
This Year: Levinson, the 2012 CKAwards Paddler of the Year, charged hard in the racing scene, placing top 10 for the Austria’s Sickline, Green Race, and the Whitewater Grand Prix. Then in March, Levinson broke his back running a classic Class V+ North Carolina run. After just two months of recovery, Levinson was back in the game competing in the Ottawa XL.
More on Isaac: Website
Age: 18 | Fairfax, VA
Known For: Charging with the big dogs of kayaking in his C-1
This Year: Poffenberger won the Green Race in both open boat and C-1, won the U.S. Freestyle Team Trials in OC-1, and earned a C-1 team spot as well. When he’s not racing, Poffenberger keeps busy resetting the C-1 highest waterfall record over and over-including DeSoto Falls, Sahalie Falls and the current record, 101-foot Metlako Falls.
What’s Next: Training for the Green Race, lots of creeking and bigger waterfalls.
More on Jordan: Website
Age: 25 | Mexico City, Mexico
Known For: Love of verticality
This Year: Ortiz had already made his name when he became the second boater to attempt 189-ft. Palouse Falls in Washington state in May 2012. In August he was on Peru’s Rio Mantaro, helping West Hansen’s through some of the burliest whitewater on his historic Amazon Express source-to-sea. In March, he joined Sturges and Garcia on the first top-to-bottom descent of the world’s steepest river, the Rio Santo Domingo in Chiapas, Mexico.
Age: 36 | North Vancouver, BC
Known For: Surfing major ocean swells in his sea kayak
This Year: Gloag’s major project has been working with The Hurricane Riders, a group of paddlers dedicated to chasing rough waters and pushing the edge of sea kayak performance. Gloag reached that goal in February when he caught one of the biggest surfs in his life and in sea kayaking.
What’s Next: Gloag’s been focused on building the sea kayaking community, so he plans to teach at as many symposia as possible-kicking off with the Bay of Fundy Sea Kayak Symposium in September. There’s also rumor of a film in the works with The Hurricane Riders showcasing B.C. sea kayak surfing.
Age: 28 | White Salmon, WA
Known For: Pushing whitewater boundaries and making music creation
This Year: After competing in the Whitewater Grand Prix in Chile Sturges orchestrated the first top-to-bottom descent of the world’s steepest river, the Rio Santo Domingo in Chiapas, Mexico.
What’s Next: More paddling, and turning 16 terabytes of footage into the next big paddling movie, with backing from Red Bull Media House.
More on Rush: Website