Behind the Scenes with the founders of GoRafting and Far Out River Maps

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Hasta luego, soggy paper river maps and huhlooo a new digital app alternative with the FarOut App from GoRafting, a maker of river maps and guides for whitewater rafters.

Founded by raft guides and all-around adventurers Matt Volpert, Byron Roos-Collins and Augie Houlemard, GoRafting’s maps and guidebooks usher in a new era of river running navigation, with over 45 detailed guidebooks available on their website for free, 12 of which they also sell for offline download/use on the FarOut app, which they partnered with in 2021 as their exclusive provider of whitewater content, bringing river runners what FarOut has long provided for thru-hikers.

Go Rafting appA bit about the downloadable guidebooks:

  • The guidebooks can be downloaded on the FarOut app, allowing offline navigation, descriptions, photos, and more. Live location. Know your exact location, even without service.
  • Waypoint commenting.Read or leave comments on rapids and features getting the most up-to-date beta out there.
  • Multiple map views.Satellite, topo, or guidebook view.
  • Expanded waypoints.In-depth descriptions of rapids, camps, and more.
  • And typically lots of them. (Our Grand Canyon guidebook has over 200.)
  • Lifetime updates. Buy it once and receive updates free of charge, forever.
  • More map details here>>

Paddling Life checks in with the founders for a little more beta on the game-changing maps and apps.

Le Founders

Matt Volpert: Matt is the owner of Kern River Outfitters. He grew up in an outfitting family with operations in Idaho, Oregon, and California. He has been boating his entire life. He went to college at UCSB (all three of us did). If the Kern season wraps early, Matt generally heads out to guide on the Middle Fork of the Salmon with Idaho River Journeys, which he co-owns with his brother Skip. Matt has started spending his off-seasons in Costa Rica where he is positioning himself to help run an additional rafting/eco-tourism operation down there.

Byron Roos-Collins: Byron worked as a guide for seven years across several industries during and after UCSB. A lot of my guiding time was sea-kayaking on the Channel Islands and rafting on the Kern. His off-season focus has been big expeditions, including a trans-continental bike tour across Africa, and a month-long packrafting expedition on the headwaters of the Amazon in Peru. A return to Peru in 2023 is imminent. Byron currently works for a land trust in the Eastern Sierra and is a member of the Mono County Search and Rescue Team. Groover Bonus: Augie and Byron also own a hot sauce company together named Caldera.

Augie Houlemard: Augie also worked as a guide for many years during and after UCSB. He is the operations manager at Kern River Outfitters, where he still loves to guide and paddle in addition to keeping things running smoothly. Augie lives in Mammoth during the winter. He is ski instructing and working on various GoRafting projects. Prior to moving to Mammoth, Augie used to spend off-seasons in Ecuador on a permaculture farm, helping with operations and teaching permaculture lessons to visiting students.

In Their Own Words

“We founded GoRafting in 2020 after many discussions about how we could use our accumulated knowledge of rivers, guiding, and expeditions as a resource for the boating community. We started by writing a collection of guidebooks for the rivers that we know best, like the Kern, Colorado, Rogue, and Middle Fork of the Salmon. Our goal was to provide the most comprehensive and functional guidebooks available, for free on our website, and eventually also for purchase and offline download onto people’s mobile devices. We stuck to that model, and now have over 45 detailed guidebooks available on our website for free, 12 of which we also sell for offline download/use on the FarOut app. Once we ran out of rivers that we knew well enough to publish guidebooks for on our own, we turned to other sources to keep publishing. We have partnered with outfitters and employed off-season guides for help writing guidebooks on the rivers that they know best.

The partnership with FarOut was huge. In 2021, we signed a partnership as their exclusive provider of whitewater content. Their app, previously known as Guthook, has a longstanding reputation as the most popular and reliable guidebook app for thru-hikers. They had achieved in thru-hiking what we hoped to do with whitewater, and so partnering with them was very exciting for us. We are constantly working to expand our offerings on the FarOut app. Our ambition with the project is to keep expanding our offerings, making our website a one-stop shop for reliable boating information on rivers around the world.

Get FarOut app here

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