Eric is a textbook example of how a paddler evolves when they’re born from the womb straight into a boat. Thankfully, he is a huge supporter of the shop and everything paddling within the greater Edmonton area. From various Executive positions with his home club UAPS in Edmonton , to helping with numerous roles in the Alberta Whitewater Association. He’s a very easy-going gentleman, and his paddling passion is unrelenting. We as part of the paddling community in Edmonton and Alberta are thankful for him.
Enough of my rambling, here's twenty questions with Eric Lund.
Puppy snuggles river side, does it get any better!!
1. Who the heck are yeah?
2. Where yeah from?
Born and raised in Edmonton, but now hailing from Leduc.
3. When did you start paddling?
My dad had me in a canoe at 9 or 10 days old... It just kinda progressed from there.
4. If you had to pick one. Kayak or Canoe? Why?
Not a choice I can make... They're too different. Canoes are pretty much the best way to go if you're looking at a deep wilderness adventure somewhere in the Canadian Shield or some of the Northern Rivers. But canoes are kind of a pain in the ass in whitewater. Kayaking is so much easier to have success in whitewater, the amount of fun had seems to echo the success of the boater. The fact that most kayakers can roll early in their career sure helps, rolling an OC1 is a skill relegated to those folks that have suffered through multiple seasons of swimming along after their boat.
5. Do you remember what your first boat was? colour?
It was a scaled version of an early '80s or late '70s slalom boat. Plastic boats weren't really a thing yet and my old man sold boat building supplies out of our garage. Him and some friends built it. I remember it being VERY itchy from the fiberglass.
6. If you could build the perfect whitewater kayak what would it look like?
No idea. But I sure am liking some of the faster designs that have (re)emerged on the market. The Axiom I borrowed from you guys for a weekend last year was pretty fun. Whatever boat I designed I'd make sure it comes in Adult sizes... Like most adventure sports kayaking really caters to 5'9" 175lb folks... Those of us north of 200lbs sometimes are a bit cramped...
7. Where’s your favorite place to paddle, well one your comfortable sharing with the world anyway?
I've got a tonne of good memories on the Red Deer. So I'd have to go with there. I've been paddling it for 30yrs or more now... I've had a lot of firsts there.
More recently I'd say Skookumchuk Creek is a favorite for sure.
8. What's the longest commute you’ve made for a weekend of paddling?
Well, it was a bit more than just a weekend each time, but, Paddlefest up on the Slave is a decent jaunt in the truck. Edmonton boaters frequently day trip the Kan, and I've partook in my fair share of those... That works out to something like 7+ hrs of windshield time for a couple of hours of boating....
9. Do you enjoy paddling competitions? Why?
Not really something I've gotten too into. I've run safety at a couple... That's as close to wearing a bib as I usually get.
Launch in t-minus 3, 2, 1.....boofing his life away!
10. Creeking, playboating, or river running?
All of the above...
It just really depends on who I'm with and where we are boating, I guess. My happy place is probably in a lower volume class 3-4 River, cruising from boof to boof with a good bunch of friends.
11. How are you pushing yourself on the water?
Ha. I'm not. I probably put most of my effort into trying to get my friends and family out on the river with me. Sometimes that's teaching or running trips for my club UAPS, other times that means floating down the sneak lines of a class 2 with my 2 year old stuffed between my legs.
12. Any tricks or runs your currently trying to dial in?
I have an on again off again relationship with loops... Sometimes I can throw them at will, other days I'm the king of the face plant. So I'm always working on that one.
13. Do you do any type of winter training?
I hunt. Finding game and than packing it out takes up most of my fall and early winter. I follow a bird dog around until mid January, keeping up with him as he tears up the bush is a hell of a workout. A few years ago I would have said that I'm in the pool kayaking multiple times per week throughout the winter, nowadays I chase my kids around... I'm probably in better shape now than back when I hit the pool, toddlers are quick!
14. What’s your dream run or trip?
Dream trip is probably going back to the Spatzizi and Upper Stikine rivers by canoe. It's about 2 weeks of beautiful mountain rivers, great Dolly Varden fishing, and tonnes of other critters to check out.
My dream kayak run is pretty much a lower volume pool-drop creeky river. Good friends on the river and lots of food in camp when I get out of my boat. I've had a few days on the Sheep that probably meet the criteria.
15. What’s the best advice you would give to someone brand new to kayaking?
Take advantage of all the resources out there. Join a club. Get in the pool over the winter and get the basics dialed. It'll make your intro to rivers in the spring go much smoother. Sign up for some formal instruction, either thru a club or a course provider like Aquabatics. Having an experienced crew manage your first few trips on the river will go a long ways towards your longevity in the sport.
Follow the leader, Eric giving some sound river advice.
16. What’s you classify as your craziest on water experience?
A few years ago I was taking a playboating clinic up on the Slave. We were messing around at Pelican rapids, which is a big ass rapid with several thousand CMS of water and waves as large as 2 storey houses. Pelican also has these huge boils in the eddies on each side, basically a patch of water the size of a tennis court will just erupt 3ft upwards... seemingly randomly. One of the coaches had just finished explaining how important it was NOT to swim there. I was a tickle nervous. One of these boils sort of appeared directly in front of me and before I really knew it I disappeared down the seam. The Slave is kind of a tannin stained river at the best of times, not super clear, but I went deep enough it got dark. I had plenty of time to think about how I was more buoyant if I stayed in my boat. When I got spat back to the surface, I was no longer with my group and had very efficiently exited the eddy far further upstream than I ever would have achieved on my own. The next 5 minutes was a blur of trying to control a ferry paddling in the largest rapid I've been in and a lot of beatering. I didn't swim, I got to where I was supposed to go... That boil gobbling me up really stuck with me though.
17. If you could go paddling with anyone in the world past or present who would it be?
I'm pretty jacked to paddle with my kids. My older guy is almost 3 now and I've had him out a few times both in canoe and kayak. The little guy will be 1 in May, so he should be ready for some boating next season.
18. Is there anything you would change about sport?
Weird question. Nope, sport is okay by me.
More snack breaks maybe, that was my favourite part of kiddo soccer.
Eric is about to get up to something fun, I'd say.
19. Do you have a favorite type of Dinosaur? why?
I would have answered with something cool like a velociraptor. But my kid, who's helping me answer these says I have to say Triceratops.
20. Is there anything I missed you wanted to add?
I just want to send out a big thanks to the crew at Aquabatics for always supporting our club at UAPS and paddling in Alberta. We're pretty stoked to see you guys open up in Edmonton. And further a big thanks to the instructional staff at AQ and particularly Simon for helping me keep the beatering to a minimum over the years.
Big thanks to Eric for answering our questions!! If your interested in white water paddling within the Edmonton area with a great group of paddlers we strongly encourage you to check out UAPS. They have pool sessions and clinics throughout the winter and its a great place to connect with people for adventures throughout the season. You may even run into Eric.