Rush Sturges portrait by Blake Gordon.

Rush Sturges portrait by Blake Gordon.

By Joe Carberry

The bean counters have run the numbers, and they tell us that extreme photos of whitewater kayakers dropping huge waterfalls and running Class V rapids doesn't help paddlesports grow, or make money.

We disagree. Give us more footage of kayakers catching huge air on waves and more boaters styling tough lines. As Steve Fisher says, give us more kids like Rush Sturges.

This 23-year-old California native and former World Freestyle champ has expanded the realm of whitewater video with his Young Guns Productions while simultaneously expanding what's possible in a kayak. Need proof? Sturges' front loop over a 30-foot New Zealand waterfall has become legendary YouTube fodder.

In these trying economic times, with the spotlight drifting ever further from whitewater athletes, fewer can afford to push the sport's limits. That's why we're thankful for Sturges, whose relentless passion makes us eager to see where he takes the sport next.

This story first appeared in the March 2009 issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine. Read more about Rush Sturges at, including Tyler William’s 2014 feature profile, The Athlete and the Artist.


Richard Bangs // Greg Barton // Tao Berman // Paul Caffyn // Graham Charles // Serge Corbin // Nigel Dennis // Dubside // Steve Fisher // Bob Foote // Dan Gavere // Alan Hamilton // Freya Hoffmeister // Mick Hopkinson // Nikki Kelly // Payson Kennedy // Rob Lesser // Anna Levesque // Martin Litton // Brad Ludden // The LVM/T-Dub Connection // Sean Morely // Nappy Napoleon // Michael Peake // Scott Shipley // Jim Snyder // Rush Sturges //