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Evan and I have been best friends since we first met in second grade, over fifteen years ago. Growing up with Evan has been an experience to say the least.

Evan is now known as one of the best kayakers in the world. He is always paddling at the top level and is able to analyze rapids and situations with a complete calmness and confidence. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to be on the water with Evan he adds a very special sense to the group dynamic.

First off his pure talent of reading water and hatred of getting out of his kayak makes it easy to just follow him down the river without concern or scouting. He loves to just charge it. Although, this makes runs go by way faster and makes it much more fun; this isn’t his best trait on the river. Evan’s ability to instill confidence in the people around him is what he brings most to the table. He can easily read the level or the feelings of the group without saying anything. He always knows where everyone is mentally at, if they think they can do the run, if they are nervous, if they know they got it. He takes their feeling and is able to put them in the best place to succeed whether that is right behind him cruising down the run or on shore. He is also aware of where everyone physically is in the group; always checking back making sure everyone is in eyesight and in a good, safe spot.

When stepping up to a big rapid it’s always good to have him around. Evan’s ability to see the water and being able to predict what it will do to you in unparalleled. He always know what each curler is going to do to your boat and how strong each hole is. It’s also a refreshing to know that he will do anything at any point to help you out of a bad spot.

Although rare, to me it’s an amazing thing to be around Evan when he is stepping up to something that he is nervous about. He can, on command bring everything he knows to the table at any time. To be able to look at any rapid and scout the right line is one thing; but to call upon all of your skill to make the line happen is completely different. Evan also is always considering the ability of his crew in terms of himself. Can they rescue me? Can they rescue me while keeping themselves safe? These are things that are in his mind when deciding whether to run something. When everything lines up he puts 100% trust in the people around him and can fully focus on the drop at hand.

Evan has quickly become one of the best kayakers in the world, but remember to be the best doesn’t just mean to run the biggest stuff with the best lines, it also means to be part of a team and bring everyone else around you up.

– Johnny Chase