Dr. Aqua on Tanya Shuman’s Retirement, one day descents and the best kayak porn music

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Let me be the first to welcome myself back. Dr. Aqua has a bad habit of trying to make a living: hence the absence of late. You’ll have to excuse him (me). I’ve actually had a bunch of requests for a new column. Not because people are dying to read my prose but because the subjects of my last one were ready for it to go away. All’s well that disappears. Take it up with me next time we’re on the water.

Right to the notables. I have some sad news to pass along. One of my favorite paddlers to look at is calling it quits. That’s right, Tanya Shuman has bid professional kayaking farewell. Shuman takes away an IR Big Gun Show Award, a national championship and has raised freestyle kayaking’s visibility as an athlete and photograher. Dr. Aqua got the exclusive from Shuman.

“I’ve been a professional kayaker for 10 years,” she says. “In any occupation, you reach a level where you’re ready to move on, grow. I’ve achieved everything that I’ve wanted to accomplish in the sport.

I don’t have a World Championship medal around my neck but my experiences and memories are worth more than gold. I’m not quitting kayaking, just the profession of the sport.”

But we can’t quit you Tanya. She admits that kayaking’s changing economics have made it difficult to stay “professional.” All you dirtbags hoping for sponsorship take note.

So what’s on tap now that she’s all growed up? “I’m going to teach high school,” she says. Praise be to the homeroom!

Shuman will definitely be a solid mentor for youngins’ – something we could always use more of. “I helped start River Angels to foster the growth and development of females in kayaking,” she says. “I hope to expand that as a teacher and be someone who girls can look up to instead of the Paris Hiltons’ and Britney Spears’ of the world.”

Amen sister. Paddling Life wishes you the best. Thanks for the big air and incredible images you’ve provided us leeches in the media. You da’ bomb!

Riverangels.com

While I’m handing out praise, how about a shout out to Ryan Casey. Dude is a stud. A month ago – when all the heavy hitters were on California’s Middle Kings (below) – Casey helped Dave Siomonaitis exit the gorge after he destroyed his wrist against a granite wall hucking a waterfall.


“Simo,” is a tough mofo for hiking with his wrist hanging off his arm like a noodle but Casey busted out 3,000 vertical feet to make sure his partner was safe then tromped back to the river, stomping the rest of the run. Exposure isn’t a problem for these two. Both are Stikine veterans.

That was quite the trip. Prior to Dave’s wrist rearrangement, Tommy Hilleke took a nasty swim after seal launching and missing a boof stroke on the following hydraulic. Two days after taking off, Hilleke mustered enough moxie to run the river in one day with his long-time paddling partner John Grace. The duo started hiking around 9 p.m., June 18 and finished at nearly five the next afternoon, busting out a trip that usually takes four to six days in less than 24 hours.

Hilleke and Grace are both ridiculous. In a good way. They’ve finished the Stikine, Middle Kings and Upper Cherry in single day assaults and can now coin a term for their own sport. What say you Tommy and John (not to be confused with Tommy John or the subsequent Tommy John shoulder surgery)?

Marayaking? Speedyaking? “Ultra” extreme boating?

For more on their trip click here.

To close out this installment, I’d like to pay tribute to the best music in videos I’ve found on the net. Everyone’s a cinematographer these days but not everyone can arrange a musical. The kayaking didn’t have to be stellar (it is) but the music needs to make you want to get up and shake your booties.

This from Head Cammin’ the Nile.

Todd Gillman and the Range Life crew do videos up right, tunes included.

I’m thinking this is a collection of Kiwi and Aussie clips.

Norway?

The Frenchies don’t just boat. They listen to really great American rap music too.

Since my dumb ass can’t identify every song and moviemaker, send me a list and I’ll send you a drybag. Email me through the Paddling Life editors.