Karl Moser is what we like to call a super-stud. He’s one of the baddest freestyle kayakers on the West Coast, an award-winning film producer (Epicocity Project) and most recently, the organizer of Christmas for Africa, a campaign donating kayaking equipment to paddlers in Uganda. Paddling Life caught up with the 25-year-old Eugene, Ore. resident to learn more.
PL: What gave you the idea for the project?
KM: I went over to Uganda and Zambia in 2005 right after I graduated college. It was partially an excuse to avoid joining the real world, and partially the fulfillment of a childhood dream to recreate the first true freestyle video “Wicked Liquid.” Up to that point, I had spent plenty of time in a car traveling and kayaking, but this was my first cultural kayaking trip. I was immediately floored with how good the Ugandan paddlers were and how little gear they had. Most of their equipment is either used donations from traveling kayakers, or repaired gear that was left as trash.
PL: How long has it taken you to get Gear for Good up and running?
KM: When I came back I dedicated a segment of our video Mission: Epicocity to the Ugandan kayakers and I was amazed at how well it was received at film festivals. Earlier this year one of the Banff Film Festival organizers asked if there was more we could do with the story, and ever since then I’ve been working to get this project off the ground.
PL: When are you taking gear over and how are you getting it there?
KM: This has been the biggest hurtle to overcome. With the help of NRS and the Ugandan Tourism Board, I’m going to be packing an 18-wheeler sized container with as much gear as I can get my hands on, and shipping it via boat to Uganda. The container leaves November 1, and should take two months to reach the White Nile River. Since it will arrive around Christmas time we titled the project and the documentary “Christmas For Africa.”
PL: Why Uganda?
KMYou may have to go to Uganda to really understand the spirit of the kayakers there. First they learn to kayak on the White Nile River, which features some of the biggest playboating rapids in the world.
PL: Is it just you or are there more people involved?
KM:I would never have been able to get this project off the ground without the help of my co-producer Aaron Rettig and the boys from NRS (JD, Blake, and Luc) helping with the shipping logistics.
PL: What sponsors have donated?
KM: So far, NRS has provided full sets of paddling gear, Wavesport is donating a bunch of playboats, Astral Buoyancy is supplying us with lifejackets, and AT Paddles is donating 20 paddles to the Ugandan Kayak Club. It’s really refreshing to see companies supporting the project and helping out the Ugandan paddlers.
PL: What can people do to join the cause?
KM: People can help the project out by either donating gear or providing financial support through the Web site. Really even the little things that people can donate will help out big time. So go and check out the website ChristmasForAfrica.com
As told to Joe Carberry