News Update!  super-kayaker Whitney Lonsdale is taking a breather from running in a million different directions this summer, calling the Nantahala Gorge home for a few months. And sharing time on the river as ERA friend, instructor and guide again this summer.

The venue with which you have spent time with Whitney influences how you “categorize” her:  been a student at World Class with Whitney as your teacher and guide–then she is your hero; and who you want to be (or marry in the case of some of the boys at World Class!) when you graduate from High School.  Been on the river with her, whether Nepal, Ecuador, Idaho, China, Chile, the Green Narrows…. okay, okay enough with the list—it could go on for a long time. Anyways, in that capacity you think of her as a world class boater while coming across as kind of a little gal with a great smile when she steps out of her boat.  And then of course there are her movie credits. Last year when Whitney joined the ERA Team, we figured out that the best way to make her blush was to suggest to a paddler that they take their newly purchased copy of Johnny Utah and ask her to autograph it. Okay, she is an awesome teacher, editor, river guide,instructor…but a bit modest.

So we were psyched to hear Whitney would be able to park herself back in the Nantahala Gorge this summer for a time and spend some time with the ERA Staff, guests and friends.  Catching up with Whitney on her trip back to Asheville this past week, she had time for a couple of questions.

Hey Whitney—good to have you back!  What have you been up to since departing ERA last fall?
This past year I have been working part time with World Class Kayak Academy and The Traveling School.  Last fall I spent time with The Traveling School in South Africa and led a Women’s Trip in South Africa as well.  I also spent two weeks with World Class on the Zambezi and Nile Rivers.  I also took on the editor position for Kayak Session magazine last November.  I also worked on diversifying my outdoor pursuits this winter spending 6 weeks in Montana skiing in February and March.

Favorite new river you saw in your travels this winter?
Even with all the traveling I did, I did not add any new rivers to my list this winter. It might be the first year in a long time that I did not get to explore new river territory.

What is it about being on the river that has you fired up to be back?
After a year of not being on the water nearly as much as I am used to I can’t wait to get back to teaching kayaking this summer.  I look forward to everything about it.  Being outside in beautiful western NC, the daily sharing of excitement about kayaking, helping people improve their skills and get where they want to be with their paddling.  Not balancing the cash register every day [Explanation: Whitney “volunteered” to run the ERA front line for most of last summer—gaining life experiences in all sorts of areas, including learning to balance a business out at the end of the day!!]I have a renewed appreciation for the time I get to be paddling and I look forward to sharing that enthusiasm with folks.

Here at ERA we are obviously psyched Whitney will be here.
And the ladies of ERA can’t wait to spend time on the river with her!