DBP: What have you been up to recently?
Anton: Well I recently moved to Geneva, Switzerland with my girlfriend. We are both pretty busy with studies. Her at the graduate institute of Geneva and me trying to be a helicopter pilot. All good though because Geneva has a lot of mountains and a lot of world class rivers nearby so sure staying busy enough.
DBP: Everyone knows you paddle for Team Pyranha. What is your current kayak, and go-to paddle?
Anton: To be honest I prefer the Burn for everything except doing big flat landings and since I do a lot of that I mostly paddle a Shiva. That boat has served me well and we’ve been through a lot together. As for paddles I use both the Ty Warp Claw and Ty Warp Bite. I have been with Ty Warp from the very beginning of the company and have helped shape their paddles to perfection. And yes that is my own opinion. They don’t pay me any money so I am not obliged to say good things about them. Haha!
DBP: Anton, you’re known as a genuinely nice guy as well as a world class paddler. What got you into whitewater? And who do you credit with influencing you to be a good person?
Anton: I first started kayaking with my local kayak club when I was 8. From there I went the natural way and started coaching for the club, started working at a kayak school during the summers and when I finished school I started traveling the world with my kayak and finding jobs on different rivers helping me continue to travel and kayak. As for being a good person… Well I guess it all comes from the people I hang out with and everyone knows kayakers are the friendliest people on the planet and it rubs off.
DBP: You’ve traveled the world paddling the gnar. What is the most powerful rapid you’ve ever run? Was it scoutable? What sort of mental preparation did you go through prior to the run?
Anton: Well it’s hard to pick one specific rapid but first one that comes to mind is Flemmings fossen on the Rauma in Norway. I think a lot of what goes into that drop is the fact that you run 8 more class 5 rapids before you get down to it. As for the mental preparation it went something like a 45 min break, a few hot dogs and lots of nervous jokes flying around. Well that and double checking your line, your every stroke, your gear and going through it in your head one last time in the eddy before peeling out.
DBP: You’ve also dropped some serious stouts. What waterfall are you running on your perfect day?
Anton: I would say Middle Palguin in Chile but tragically it just collapsed and is no longer runnable so gonna go with the 50 footer on the middle Fuy in Chile. In all my years I have never come across such a clean and beautiful waterfall. Nice to be able to take the nervousness away and be able to focus 100% on a perfect line.
DBP: You have competed in some of the world’s top races as well, like the Green River Narrows, Whitewater Grand Prix, Adidas Sickline, and Nile River Festival’s Big Air and Endurance Race. What’s your favorite venue and why?
Anton: I’m gonna have to go with the Grand Prix. In most other events you race to win or have a fast and clean run. In the Grand Prix you have to put all your skills to the test to even make it to the bottom of the course. That excitement is just a completely different feeling and aspect of extreme racing.
DBP: Every true dirtbag lives the statement “We are all in between swims.” Where did your biggest Wallace go down? Did you lose any gear?
Anton: I think my biggest swim was probably while trying to raft Itanda falls on the White Nile. We flipped on the very first wave and had to swim through a few really big holes. One of them even ripped my shorts off and I had to ride the whole way home with my butt hanging out.
DBP: You’ve lived and worked in some incredible locations around the globe. Most of us dirtbags will never have the option to travel far from home. Can you describe for us what living and boating in Africa is like?
Anton: I lived in Uganda for a total of 4 years and it was totally awesome. Living in Africa is really easy going. No every day stress or worries. Just river, kayak, chill, drink beer and kayak more. Well with a little work in between but work is kayaking anyways so no problem.
DBP: And can you draw a picture of life and the river community in Nepal?
Anton: Nepal was the first destination outside of Europe I went kayaking in and it is still one of my favorites. When I was there we would have a base camp in Kathmandu or Pokhara and from there do one multi day trip after the other with a days rest every now and then. You catch local buses to and from the river so running shuttles is nothing you have to think about. For the amount of hours you spend on the river it truly is a kayaking paradise.
DBP: Ok, dream scenario time. Let’s say a major sponsor came through your door with a boat load of cash for your epic mission. No holds barred. Where are you going, and who’s making up your crew?
Anton: I spent a lot of time in Chile and also a lot of down time there when we did nothing but look for new rivers. I would sit on google earth for hours mapping out potential first D’s. In the end we only did a fraction of them and still on my computer I have over 100 new runs in Chile mapped out. If I had the cash I would gather my old Chile crew, rent a truck or maybe a float plane and start ticking them off. So anyone wanting to give me some cash I will show you the adventure of a lifetime in return.
DBP: We enjoyed the reporting gig you scored alongside Martina Wegman with Kayak Sessions at the PADDLEexpo in Germany. How was it getting in front of the camera in street clothes instead of a dry suit?
Anton: It was a lot of fun being at PADDLEexpo with so many good people and icons of our sport. It’s great to see the comraderie between the different companies and the incredible innovation that goes into our sport. As I said kayakers are the nicest people on the planet and getting a bunch of them together with new toys, good food and beer can never go wrong.
DBP: When someone googles “Anton Immler” there are links to missions all over the world with every top notch boater there is. Who is YOUR boating hero?
Anton: Wow I don’t even know the answer to that. I had so many when I was growing up but now I am close friends with all of them instead. It’s a small community and I think we are all each others heroes.
DBP: And speaking of googling you, how did you find yourself at the top of a massive drop in Chile… in a rubber dinghy?
Anton: Haha well… As with most of my silly and stupid stunts it started with me late night in the bar speaking the words “I have an idea!”.
DBP: Can you tell us about you and Steve Fischer tandem kayaking the 70′+ descent of the Middle Palguin? What goes through one’s mind when setting out to break a world record?
Anton: That one started in pretty much the same way as the dinghy run. The original idea was to run the upper Palguin in a tandem kayak but after we had done that we figured we may as well just keep going.
DBP: Its a little known fact that you also push rubber as a raft guide. We gotta ask… Out for a pure fun day on the river, is it rubber or hard boat?
Anton: That’s an easy one. Kayak for sure. Pushing rubber is still fun every now and then and doing it on the White Nile really helps your swim training.
DBP: I recall you were also getting a site started to give information on stretches all over the world. Can we get the link?
Anton: Yes last January I started up an online river guidebook where anyone can easily add rivers from anywhere in the world. It has been a success story so far and we have gotten lots of content. I have even myself found and run a bunch of new rivers close to me that I never even knew existed thanks to the site. You can find it yourself and start browsing and add your own rivers on: www.theriverguide.net
DBP: Thanks for taking a moment to answer our question, Anton. What does tomorrow bring for you? Good luck homie! Keep Livin’ the Dream!
Anton: No problem Mike and I’m happy to say that 2015 is gonna be the most exciting year yet for me. I have some really big and super secret plans in the works. Guess you are just gonna have to wait and see.