Paddling Life sits down for a question and answer session with longtime Pyranha and White Salmon, Wash., paddler Dave Fusilli, an ageless wonder still getting after it (and sometime washing his paddling gear) year after year.
We ask Fusilli about whitewater kayak designs, the health of the industry, how Pyranha is able to continue to push innovation, get some insights on how the latest Pyranha kayak the Scorch came to be, and more. We also learn what it means to be shrig, scorch and swul. Check the Q&A and vid…
PaddlingLife: How many years have you been paddling?
I learned to roll a kayak at age 7. I paddled on and off as a kid, but around the age of 18 I became a full addict.
PaddlingLife: Did your dad teach you?
Yeah, my dad taught me in my earlier years, but I did paddle with my mom as well. I think Dad did a little more of the teaching though.
PaddlingLife: Where’d you grow up paddling?
I grew up in the small town of Clarion, Pennsylvania. It’s in Northwestern PA, kind of in between Pittsburgh and Erie. It’s a very rural area, which I like. The first section of water I paddled was called Mill Creek. It’s an easy Class II just over the hill from my parents’ house. I think I would have been 8 years old. We also did a lot of trips over to Slippery Rock Creek. It was about an hour away and ran quite often. It’s actually a really cool gorge about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. Then the real big trips were to the Youghiogheny, a big rafting river about 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh.
I ended up raft guiding for several years there when I was in college. The Yough is really where I became a better kayaker. I had some great yinzer mentors there at that time. They helped push me to that Class V level that I craved. Thanks Yinz! Big kiss!
Watch early Mill Creek video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_uXNwewxjM&t=1s
PaddlingLife: What are some of your biggest paddling accomplishments?
PaddlingLife: How does paddling out West differ from paddling in the East?
PaddlingLife: How do you like the White Salmon area?
PaddlingLife: What’s your take on today’s kayaking scene?
PaddlingLife: What do you like most about paddling?
I love the exploration, the unknown, the head game it can create, the scenery, the workout, the smell (in most places, sometimes not so much), the adrenaline, the focus, the simplicity, the water in general, and the most powerful and important part of kayaking…the community. I love yinz guys.