Video: Friend’s Week at Otter Bar Lodge

Inside the off-the-grid, secluded kayaking school in Northern California

World renowned whitewater kayaker and filmmaker, Rush Sturges, grew up a little differently than most kids. Now 31 years old, Sturges spent his childhood on a remote piece of land in Forks of the Salmon, California, where his parents, Peter and Christy, own and operate one of the world’s premier schools for kayak instruction: Otter Bar Lodge. The younger Sturges learned to paddle on the Salmon and Klamath rivers from professional kayaking instructors like Reg Lake, who helped the business gain a reputation for excellence that remains today with week-long lessons and a 1:4 instructor-to-student ratio.

Peter remarks, "When I started kayaking the Klamath in the mid-1970s, I paddled rapids that were too hard too soon, and I swam every time. I decided that shouldn't happen to anybody else." In 1981, Peter bought the 40 acres of land that now make up Otter Bar. He’s been developing the lodge and the business ever since. Today, it still operates off-the-grid, relying on solar, wind, and micro-hydro for energy.

Rush returned to Otter Bar with a crew of the world’s best paddlers this past spring to make a film showcasing the place where he grew up in this latest video by River Roots.

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