Jean-Luc Robichaux living here on the banks of the Wenatchee River. I have a five-year-old Daughter named Satori and a 14 month old little boy and I couldn’t have done it without my wife Jennifer. We moved to this area to raise a family, paddle the Wenatchee, play in the snow, and enjoy the sunshine.
I started kayaking at the turn of the century. I’ve been around boats and the water since I was born. The first ten years were spent on my parents’ sailboat every weekend and vacation. So being on the water has been a huge part of my life in one form or another. Right out of High school I discovered snowboarding and that’s all I wanted to do. I found a job working swing shifts at a kayak manufacturing facility every morning in the winter I would check the snow, pack up my gear, drive to Mt. Baker ski area, ride all morning then go to work. Then in the summer mountain bike and paddle in the lakes and Bellingham bay. After four years I met an interesting man named Spike. He had a conversation about to different sports but during that conversation it sounded like we were talking about the same thing. I would talk about picking a line down the mountain and he would talk about pick a line down a river or making a section on a wave in the ocean. My interest had peak. This kayaking thing sounded pretty cool. A week later, I found myself buying a kayak and all the gear I needed to paddle down the river. I hadn’t even tried it yet but, there was a few other guys at work getting into it so, I was going for it. I learned to roll right away and the next weekend we were off to the river.
A few years went by and I found myself apprenticing to be a kayak designer. While everyone went on trips every weekend I would go to work to learn more about design. It didn’t matter what aspect of kayaking it was white-water, surf, sea kayaking or sit-on-tops. It was the dream job, building boats, experimenting with far out concepts; many of which never went anywhere. I met Billy Harris and Tiffany Manchester when we started developing the Chronic and the Vibe. Freestyle kayaking seemed to be taking off however the boat sales didn’t reflect. In 2006, I resigned because the whitewater program was dying. It was like having a family member on life support and knowing they weren’t going to make it.
Now I am a family man looking to the future and from where I am standing its my children and how they will get to participate in this incredible sport. I still enjoy designing boats in my garage that I think are interesting and different. I enjoy instructing for Leavenworth Mtn Sports and getting new people into the sport. In the winter its time for cross country skiing and my new found passion is Crossfit.
So, if you are in town and need some beta on where to go or would like to get your family started in kayaking stop by Leavenworth Mtn Sports.