Whitewater kayaker Daniel DeLaVergne was one of Canoe & Kayak‘s best friends, so it brought our production to a halt when we learned Wednesday, March 8, that he was killed after being struck by a train near Asheville, North Carolina. He was 29.
Daniel was on an overnight trip to scout a location for a video shoot when he was hit in a railroad tunnel late Tuesday morning, March 7. He lost his arm and was airlifted to Missions Hospital in Asheville. He was pronounced dead the following morning.
A memorial was held Friday, March 10 at the Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company. The funeral was held in Tampa, Florida, his hometown, March 13. His family asked that donations be made to: Green River Access Fund, 765 Crest Rd., Flat Rock, NC 28773.
Daniel was well regarded for his boating talents. Last September he was part of a four-man team that ran the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River in British Columbia in 9 hours, 50 minutes. The feat landed Daniel, Tommy Hilleke, John Grace, and Tobin MacDermott on National Geographic Adventure's list of the 10 best adventurers of 2005. Only 40 kayakers had ever attempted this 50-mile stretch and took three days to complete it. Daniel was also one of six kayakers to complete the first descent of B.C.'s Mosley Creek. The 2004 7 Rivers Expedition he spearheaded in California’s High Sierra earned Paddler magazine’s Expedition of the Year award.
Those fortunate to cross paths with Daniel know there was much more to him than his whitewater achievements. He was co-founder and president of Penstock Productions, which produced Lunch Video Magazine and Kayak Journal DVDs and podcasts.
His creative and innovative thinking seemed always at full speed. We joked in the office that any time Daniel was talking about ideas and plans, you needed to have a pen and paper ready just to keep up with him. His knowledge of all things techie was as vast as his kayaking ability, too.
He worked with many companies in the industry, including Liquidlogic, Immersion Research, Werner, Thule, and Teva, and he reached many people with his enthusiasm, energy, and class. It was a cold and rainy Wednesday at our office in Kirkland, Washington–both inside and out. We will miss you, Daniel. You will always be our friend.