I’ll always remember my first impressions of the
Wesser paddling scene from 1986 and ’87, when my
mother and step-dad moved to a little house on
Silvermine Rd. There was a group of incredible boaters
that were setting the stage for the freestyle and
creeking revolutions later on. These folks were known
as “The Gods” back then.
The founding rulers of the sport, names like Tom Visnius, Tom Decuir (Grace Under Pressure), and Becky Weiss were larger than life to a
12-year-old kid, and to all of NOC’s clientele. The
greatest presence was the NOC head of instruction, and
pioneering badass of kayaking, Ken Kastorff. He knew
and developed the roll like no one else. He flew to
warm places in the winter that had Toucans. He did
every conceivable move on any given river and bullied
anyone that was around him until they were twice as
good as they were before. He strutted around barrel
chested and growling, pensive, and confident, all at
once, all the time. Sick. One day Ken passed me at the
raft room and my friend crooned “You’re my idol!”
making fun of me. Idol? Always.
When I moved back to the gorge I ran into my stepdad
and Ken at the same time. Bob said: “Ken is starting
a rafting company.” I thought: “Why would he want to
Three years later I was working at Endless River
Adventures; and understood why when we got on the
Reventazon in Costa Rica. At Endless River Adventures
the excellence that Ken brought to NOC was exemplified
and flourished with no boundaries. Ken and Doug
Geiger gave me the no nonsense training that allowed
me to become the best guide and instructor that I
I’ve considered myself the master of
“Kastorff anatomically correct kayak technique”, an
arrogant philosophy I developed as my instruction
translated into results for clients year after year.
They taught me more than I would have ever learned by
buying instruction certifications from paddling
organizations. Ken and Doug’s theory led to my
directional-rolling instruction program, which teaches
folks how to roll consistently like “those rodeo guys”
Everything I achieved in boating I owe to Ken.
Thanks Ken. Idol? Always.