Reg Lake: 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award
KNOWN FOR: Pioneering runs of classic California rivers including the San Joaquin, Middle Fork of the Kings, and the South Fork of the Merced, and his ongoing work as a cutting-edge sea kayak designer.
For Reg Lake, expeditions were a way of life in the early '80s as he and his paddling buddies raced around California's High Sierra, blazing first descents of the most difficult and committing steep creeks in North America.
An airplane machinist by trade, Lake enjoyed working with his hands. But the first time he put his paws on a kayak paddle, in 1970, the then 26-year-old decided "this was it." Two years later, Lake quit his job with United Airlines and opened a paddling shop outside of San Francisco. Plastic kayaks had just hit sales racks when he started paddling with other big names like Doug Tompkins, Royal Robbins, and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. Together, they knocked off these remote and daunting Sierra Nevada gems. Lake refers to the early '80s as a golden age of paddling, when "exploration was part of what kayaking was." —Continue reading about Reg Lake
—Unfiltered: Reg Lake, from our May 2013 issue.