If you are a paddler in the Southeast, you have probably seen Juliet around a river instructing or setting shuttle, recognizable in her signature white sunglasses and flipflops. As co-owner of Endless River Adventures on the Nantahala River, she has gained a reputation as an excellent instructor and international kayak guide. Juliet has done so much for the sport of paddling and river conservation, so I’m pleased to share more about her with you!
What is your nickname(s)? And how did you get it?
In Costa Rica and Ecuador, I get called “macha” a lot because of being blond, a kayaker, and female.
What do you do for work?
The easy answer is that I own Endless River Adventures, an outfitter on the Nantahala River…but being a kayak instructor and international guide really make it all great.
How many years have you been boating and how did you get started?
I started in the late 80’s in Washington, DC. It was a combination of having to belay a climber out at Great Falls and watching the paddlers down on the river having a lot more fun that me, and then a trip down the Upper Gauley, that sold me on kayaking.
Have you ever had a love affair with a boat? If so, what boat and why?
The EZG. It was just the best boat. The 42 put you in rock star status play boating, and the 50 was so fun to paddle.
What was your most challenging moment in kayaking?
Was probably the first day I arrived to paddle the Bio Bio River in Chile. That season I had done the fast track, going from the Nantahala to the Ocoee to the Gauley. But there I was looking at a rapid bigger than anything I had ever seen—a rapid I had to paddle the next day if I wanted to get back to basecamp. I was a bit overwhelmed!
What is your favorite WNC run or play spot?
Even after all these years, the Ocoee is still one of my favorite places to sneak off on a day off and just play.
What are your top two destinations that you have traveled to boat? And what made them special?
Working on the Futaleafu was amazing, and Costa Rica will always have a very special place in my heart, but Ecuador probably tops the list. It is the variety of runs and the culture that make it special.
What is your single favorite piece of boating gear?
My flip flops – handmade in Costa Rica. I have been wearing them for so many years that I have a permanent flip flop tan on my feet.
What one thing can you not live without?
Peanut butter and diet coke!
What do you see as the future of boating and why?
I am super committed to the kids-end of kayaking. I think the more kids get into kayaking, the more families will as well. I put a lot of hope on kayaking being a way to get people off their computers, away from the television, and outside where they remember what “nature” is and that they have a responsibility to protect it.
What is your paddling theme song?
I don’t really have one theme song. But where some paddlers use a song to get totally amped up, I always need something to kind of zen into the rapid.
To learn more about Juliet’s instruction and international trips, as well as ERA’s rafting trips, gear shop, and other services, visit the ERA website: www.endlessriveradventures.com
You can also meet Juliet this weekend, April 21, 2012, at the 8th Annual Nantahala Open–an event on the Nantahala Falls for paddlers of all skill levels and craft that challenges you to get creative and even a little crazy. http://endlessriveradventures.com/Nantahala_Open