Dirt Bag Paddlers and DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE (The World’s Best FREE Whitewater Publication) is proud to present the winners of the 2015 World’s Best Paddlers and The ALL-WALLACE TEAM awards, honoring the very best individual boating seasons in the pros and regular everyday dirtbag ranks last year.
The 2015 World’s Best Paddlers award winners were selected by a special panel of qualified judges headed by DBP Admin Aaron Erdrich. Each category’s nominees were evaluated based on various race finishes, difficulty of runs paddled, and innovation in the sport. All selected athletes had extraordinary years, and we are very pleased to celebrate their achievements and enjoy their photos and video as they continue to entertain us.
PRO KAYAK MEN- Dane Jackson
PRO KAYAK WOMEN- Adriene Levknecht
RAFTING- Dan McCain & Jeff Compton
OPEN BOAT- Bob Wiggins
SUP- Corran Addison
Dane pretty much dominated at most every endeavor he attempted last year, so that was the easiest selection ever. Has anyone ever dominated the scene so thoroughly in a given period before? Probably… But it sure is special to watch! Adriene sealed the deal with her record winning run in The Green Race. Dan and Jeff routinely ran laps on the Little White Salmon and NF Payette. Bob had an epic cross-country adventure. Corran returned with a vengeance, proving whitewater SUP was for real, running stouts up in Canada. All these athletes are amazing!
Editor in Chief Mike Toughill also selected 25 paddlers from around the world to be elected to the ALL-WALLACE TEAM. These people would be narrowed down to a Top Ten list using the popular vote of our Facebook community; this finalist group would then compete for the six slots on the Team, with the top vote getter on our Instagram feed being named Team Captain and elevated to Dirt Bag of the Year. Here are the 25 nominees, selected for their adventures Dirtbagging across the globe in 2015.
DBP ALL-WALLACE TEAM
Nominee #1 MARCELO GALIZIO
Kayaker, River Guide, Surfer; Brazil
Marcelo paddled and competed all over the USA, sending many stouts, after starting out the year styling first D’s and big drops in his native land with homie Jake Greenbaum. And he did it living on the road and Dirtbaggin.
Nominee #2 PETER ELY
Kayaker, River Guide; USA
Peter got after it on all the SE classics, culminating with a broken back band Wallace in Gorilla for The Green Race… Or was it when he got lost for hours with Chris Baer after a Toxaway lap? When you play “What the Chance” while paddling the Grand Canyon, well then you’re living the dream and getting nominated.
Nominee #3 KANG HO
Kayaker; South Korea.
Kang went big in his homeland and also in Chile this year, playing on world class rivers, reppin the lifestyle, making lifelong friends, and generally Dirtbaggin it up! When you’re scoring hits in multiple hemispheres you’re WINNING!
Nominee #4 DANIEL YOUNG
Rafter, Kayaker, River Guide, DJ; USA
When you work the rivers of the SE all summer long, after paddling and working in Equador, when you’re just out for another good day R-1ing the Green, and when you’re so cool that you style the Upper Gauley all day and rock the house DJing from the main stage at Gauley Fest at the DBP DIRTBAG DJ DANCEPARTY…. Then you’re a true DB. The shorts just add to it.
Nominee #5 SERKAN KONYA
Kayaker, River Guide; Turkey
Serkan spent his year paddling and playing on three continents- Europe, Asia while in his native country, and Africa, wrapping up this epic year on the Zambezi. If that’s not All-Wallace then what is?
Nominee #6 MARIE-EVE BÔCHAMP
This Boof Sister travels all over the Western Hemisphere spreading love and winning dirtbag battles with that winning smile. She sends more Class V by breakfast than most single bladers do all damn week! And that’s a fact.
Nominee #7 BHUPI SINGH RANA
Kayaker, Raft Guide, Rescue Instructor; India
Bhupi not only split his year between sending stout runs when he was living at his home in the States and running IRF rescue courses when back in India, he managed to score some India 1st D’s, compete in a couple kayak competitions, AND organize & host Ganga Kayak Festival. And get married! That’s a full year!
Nominee #8 OLLIE EL-GAMEL
Kayaker, Raft Guide, Videographer; New Zealand
Ollie started and ended the year sending stouts in his native New Zealand, and spent the North American summer months in Canada working on the Ottawa and running HONEY BADGER MEDIA HOUSE all while attending University. Not bad, dirtbag!
Nominee #9 TRAVIS OVERSTREET
Canoes of all sort, Videographer; USA
Virginia native “Krazy” spent the year getting after Class V throughout the SE, and scored lots of creeky runs with all the rain in 2015. When not paddling for Fall Line and ZapPaddles, he’s working on the next Local Yocal Productions edit, and teaching the love of whitewater to his young family and instructing others new to the sport.
Nominee #10 PRISCILLA MACY
Kayaker, IK, Raft, Safety boater; USA
This PNW DBQ sent stouts, safety boated at major events when not competing, and repped the lifestyle all up and down the West Coast. A major cherry on the season was the descent of the upper Merced that she accomplished with Jacob Cruser. Cheers!
Nominee #11 RYAN WATERHOUSE
Raft Guide, Class V Rubber Pusher; USA
Spent the rafting season as always in the state of Maine, and also boated many of the mid-Atlantic/WV classics, as well as yet another Grand Canyon run. Epitomizes living out of the ride and chasing the dream. Coffee Brandy Cheers!
Nominee #12 LINC STALLINGS
Class V Rubber Pusher, Boat Man; USA
Linc simply put makes all the stoutest runs of the SE look chill. HE SENDS IT. And usually lands it! Add onto that a Grand Canyon run and you’ve got yourself the makings of ALL-WALLACE.
Nominee #13 AARON ERDRICH
Class V S-1, Raft Guide, Rubber Pusher; USA
Once again AE crushed competition at the events he entered, tops among them the Animal Race and the Lord of The Forks. He also chased the dream in his van, and based out of Kosir’s Rafting. AE as usual stomped his home turf of the upper Midwest, and also scored a high water Colorado tour, and an extended stay in WV and the SE. He ate stouts for brunch.
Nominee #14 JEFF COMPTON
Expert Rubber Pusher, River Guide; USA
The Comptonator spent the year crushing the Little White, Truss, and NF Payette… Need anything else? Didn’t think so.
Nominee #15 MIKE McVEY
Riverboard, Kayak, Videography; USA
This son of Maine took the young sport of whitewater riverboarding to new heights, literally, by sending the likes of Spirit Falls and Mauria Falls among many others. When you compete in the World Champs in Guatemala and play across the US, in Canada, and wrap up the year in New Zealand, you’re WINNING! Add in some sick videography from the wilds of Maine… And you’re All-Wallace material!
Nominee #16 TOM PATERSON
When you construct your own board and invent all of your own freestyle moves, all while playing the biggest, nastiest, most infamous holes and rivers in eastern Canada, well then you get on the All-Wallace short list nod. Cheers!
Nominee #17 ALEX VARGAS
When your season is spent in driving across the land, living out of your ride and paddling as much Class V as the heavens will water to run, and you remain low key and friendly and an ambassador to the rest of the world for our whitewater community… You’re on the list!
Nominee #18 CHRIS BAER
Kayaker, Raft Guide, Inner Tube; USA
When you travel all across the country competing and running the top runs, while living in the epitome of the Dirtbagmobile, when you get paid to guide Colorado in the summer and the Gauley in the Fall, when you spend weeks of the year full on Dirtbaggin Laos, and then top it off with another tube descent of the Upper Gauley for the Animal Race… Then you get nominated!
Nominee #19 SURJAN TAMANG
Kayaker, Raft Guide; Nepal
Surjan competed at various events in Asia, including the Ganga Kayak Fest in India, paddled the stouts of his homeland Nepal, and spent time working the rivers of Iceland. World Wide!
Nominee #20 TOM CLARE
Kayaker, Coach, Photographer; UK
Tom got after it across England, Wales, and Scotland, and spent a few weeks running missions in the French Alps. He took whitewater photos for raft outfitters, and got a chance to get a run lower Kisdon Force on the River Swale in Yorkshire. If you run an entire river backwards because you’re a wee bit too hungover to face the sun, then… You’re a Dirtbag!
Nominee #21 KELLY GLADEN
River guide, Raft, IK; USA
When you check out on the Upper Gauley, spend your entire year Wallacing merrily in the epic land of West By God, bong a bottle of whiskey, and get elected DBQ of WV…. Well if that’s not All-Wallace we aren’t sure what is!
Nominee #22 DALE #danewho GUARNIERE
Raft Guide, Kayaker, IK, River Manager; USA
This Dirtbag took his game to a Class V kayaking level, sending stouts throughout the Midwest and WV, and also operated Kosir’s Rapid Rafts in another banner season, to culminate his full recovery from a broken back and near death car wreck just three years ago. And his role in #danewho demands Dirtbag recognition. Props!
Nominee #23 MALCOLM LEE SMITH
This kid got next level Dirtbag, paddling serious Class V that culminated in an Upper Gauley run this last season. He wound up the year 2015 sending it with Dad in Mexico. Did we mention this little fella’s only 8 years old?!!?
Nominee #24 ANTHONY FLOYD
Raft guide, Rubber Pusher, OC-1; USA
This true dirtbag worked the raft season in the SE, and enjoyed as much free time as he could living out of his ride, paddling & partying, and oh yeah running with Teamscum! All in as low key a fashion as you can when you’re a straight up Class V stud!
Nominee #25 PAUL TEASDALE
Kayaker, River Guide, Media, Adventurer; ZIMBABWE
You’re pretty much awesome when you live and breathe on the Zambezi. When you capture those epic moments like Paul did, you ascend to the next level. When you wrap up the year dipping paddles into the waters of New Zealand, well then you’re a worthy candidate of the All-Wallace!
After tabulating we assembled the Top Ten and opened the Finals Voting. The voting marked the biggest community participation in our short history, as a few thousand votes were cast. DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE got a quick statement from the 2015 ALL-WALLACE TEAM members, and a batch of stickers and swag from Cascade Outfitters and Dirt Bag Paddlers is on its way to all of the winners.
Tom Clare from the UK was the overall most popular nominee. “I had an awesome 2015, and hopefully will have an even better 2016! I hope to continue to inspire people to take up paddling, and help current paddlers that I know push themselves to new levels. The Alll-Wallace Team shows how worldwide DBP is now, and hopefully this continues to expand this year! Thanks to everyone that voted for me or helped out by sharing the word, especially Immersion Research EU! One thing we all need to be aware of is caring for our rivers, so check out Waters of Wales and Save the River Conwy (Boo Hydro).”
Paul Teasdale of RAW Adrenaline and DBP also made the team with a strong international vote. “Being quite new to the Dirt Bag Paddlers community I was both shocked and honoured when I was nominated in the first place and didn’t think I would make it to the end…..Thanks to everyone for the votes, it really means a lot. Keep it real Dirt Bags!”
Malcolm Lee Smith is the youngest member of the Team, and is currently paddling in Mexico with Dad. “I have had so much fun in Mexico. I loved seeing the country from the car and running all the rivers and waterfalls. The most fun was spending time with the Mexican kids in the slalom clinic and getting to race with them and make new friends. Hide and Seek and Tag was really the most fun.”
Travis Overstreet had tremendous support in the voting. “Our lifestyle is that of dreams. We live our life one rapid at a time just looking for that next adrenaline fix. And in the middle of a rapid nothing else exists.”
We had an interesting ending in the voting when two of the nominees finished with the exact same vote tally, 203, for the final spor. So we named both Marie-eve Bôchamp and Dale Guarniere to the team and expanded to seven permanent spots. When asked her thoughts on winning, Mademoiselle Bôchamp replied, “Probably something to the extend of …’You can’t escape your roots. You can try to live a “normal” life, but the dirtbag in you will always surface, You will lose your job and next thing you know you will be in dbp team … a dirtbag again.’ And now … Let’s make 2016 as glorious as can be!” Dale’s reaction was totally dirtbag: “Ha holy shit!”
Aaron Erdrich’s photo on the Dirt Bag Paddlers’ Instagram Feed @DBP_4_LIFE https://www.instagram.com/dbp_4_life/ received the most likes, earning him the title of DB of the Year for the second year running, and Team Captain. He not only won his share of the swag, he won a “TOTALLY DIRTBAG” shirt from Rachel Elise Designs. “I am excited to be awarded again. I have continued to push the limits of rafting as well as trying to make a good reputable reputation for being a nice guy. I met a bunch of awesome dirtbags around the States. Some of my personal highlights were first descending new runs and continuing pushing the limits.”
Aaron’s top rank 2015 was rooted in his local area and paddling with his friends who make up one of the cores of DBP. “In spring in the Upper Peninsula, I got in several Black River runs, my favorite river. I also enjoyed taking several friends both kayaking and rafting down that gem of a river, which you can imagine is very rewarding. It’s been awesome watching my friends and boating partners constantly progressing. I like showing them new rivers and pushing their skills and my own setting safety.”
“Another highlight was raft racing in Colorado this summer at FIBark and The Royal Gorge festivals,” Aaron continued in classic dirtbag style. “Getting to race my friends Toni Lynn and Valerie, who are both bad ass rubber pushers, was awesome. Of course beating Toni Lynn and getting to talk Shit for the last year has been fun also. The Royal Gorge Fest was also a first, racing against some of the best Raft racing men from the United States rafting team. It was a big step up in competition from races like the Ocoee or Animal Race, where I have won a few times. These guys are the real deal and it was apparent that they were way more experienced in the rules and strategy of raft racing. I’m looking forward to competing against these guys at the Nationals this year in Oregon.” Consider the hat thrown in the ring!
A round of applause to all the nominees, the Winners, the World’s Best Paddlers, and the DB of The Year… 2015 was a year to remember!
The DBP Christmas Special was assembled by Aaron Erdrich from footage of dirtbags from all over the world! See the DB of the Year 2015 and friends in Wallace action!
Many thanks to our friends at Cascade Outfitters, who supplied some swag and stickers for ALL-WALLACE TEAM members. They can cover all your boating needs from park and play to multi-day gear.
Rachel Elise is a boater, author, and designer. Hook up some stylish gear from someone of the community! Totally Dirtbag!!