[The following story originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of C&K.]
Compiled by Chris Gragtmans
Gerd Serrasolses (older brother): Growing up in the Catalonia region of Spain, without any whitewater or other paddlers, we would watch VHS videos like Full Circle again and again, and dream about going to those places one day.
Tino Specht: Aniol spent all of his money on a plane ticket, and had a budget of $500 for the next six months. I met him on the banks of the Ottawa River, and he told me that his goal was to distill his lifestyle down to its most basic form: Kayak all day, eat when necessary. He had a secret camp in the woods near McCoy's, and I'd often see him paddle out at 8 a.m., and finally paddle back in as the sun was setting.
Jared Seiler: Aniol first came to Pucon, Chile, a few years ago, and in spite of his primarily freestyle roots, one of the first things he told us was, "Gerd said that I had to run everything." And that's what he did: He ran absolutely everything in the area.
Rafa Ortiz: I met Aniol in Mexico two years ago, and as soon as we got on the water I put my hat down with respect. His lines were impeccable and his cool head was so inspiring. That trip culminated with our successful descents of 129-foot Big Banana Falls, and to this day I continue to look up to him.
Patrick Camblin: By the end of the 2011 Quebec Whitewater Grand Prix, it was clear to me that Aniol Serrasolses was one of the most talented kayakers I'd ever seen. His boat control on steep, technical whitewater was unmatched at the WWGP, and he lapped intimidating sections confidently—styling the lines and making everything look easy.
Evan Garcia: This season he started out in Mexico on fire. Then he moved on to the four stoutest drops in Patagonia, including a first descent of Salto de la Puma, the most technical 100-plus footer ever run. Lastly, he changed the world's vision about what's really possible in a kayak during his recent trip to Norway, throwing freestyle tricks off some of the rowdiest drops in the country. Aniol is the world's most progressive paddler. Period.
Aniol: I have always loved the sensation of falling. I love it when you commit, get in your boat, paddle towards the drop, and reach the point where there's no turning back. Then you're flying and nothing else in the world matters—everything happens fast, but the two or three seconds in the air are the most incredible sensation I have ever felt. I live to experience that moment over and over.