Catching Up (And Life lessons) With Big Water Dave


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Recently, Paddling Life staffers had the chance to kayak Colorado’s Cross Mountain of the Yampa with none other than Big Water Dave, a 65-year-old veteran paddler and big water pioneer, from the Sierras of California to the Appalachians. We couldn’t help but ask a few questions of the wise whitewater sage, whose answers provided an enlightening look into the psyche of a big water boater.

PL: So how was the Stikine?

Big Water Dave: Could’ve been bigger

PL: How about the Devil’s Canyon of the Susitna?

Big Water Dave: A bit boney

PL: Hmmm…and Turnback Canyon of the Alsek?

Big Water Dave: Could’ve used a few more CFS

PL: Closer to home, the North Fork Payette at flood?

Big Water Dave: A tad low

PL: Let’s move down south…how about your forays on the Futaleafu?

Big Water Dave: Kinda scrapey

PL: And the Bio Bio?

Big Water Dave: A little boney

PL: How about that handpaddle trip down China’s Yangtzee?

Big Water Dave: Kinda low

PL: Africa’s Zambezi?

Big Water Dave: Could’ve used a bit more push.

PL: And the Congo?

Big Water Dave: Maybe a few hundred thou’ more.

PL: OK, let’s move onto more normal life issues…uh, how was your chicken dinner last night?

Big Water Dave: A little boney.

PL: And lunch? 

Big Water Dave: Could’ve been a little meatier

PL: We heard you got a raise at work…are you excited about that?

Big Water Dave: Could’ve been a little bigger

PL: Hmmm…let’s move onto personal hygiene. Looks like you shaved your beard a bit recently? How’d that go?

Big Water Dave: A little scrapey

PL: Hmmm…what do you think about today’s interest rates?

Big Water Dave: Kinda low

PL: Uh, OK…let’s try pop culture; what do you think about, uh, Taylor Swift’s new hairstyle? 

Big Water Dave: Could use a little more flow.

On a recent paddle of the Elk river, co

Elk River, CO

“It could use another 200 cfs.”- Big Water Dave




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