A Paddler- Twenty Questions with Aquabatics Ambassador Odin Pryor

Odin was born and raised in Canmore, AB.  Luckily enough to have been brought up in an extremely adventurous and active family. After trying his luck at several different warm weather sports (i.e. biking, unicycling, etc) He settled on whitewater kayaking. He was extremely fortunate to have access to several years amazing coaching though the Bow Valley Kayak Club and Aquabatics.         

Roadtrips throughout Canada and the US are his happy place.  Now at the old age of 17 he is pursuing his passion for the sport of kayaking. We are honored to present twenty questions with Aquabatics Ambassador Odin, check them out below. 

1. Who the heck are yeah?

Odin Pryor, Whitewater enthusiast

2. Where yeah from?
Born and raised in Canmore, Still living here for now.

 

Warm sunny festival days! Photo: Kyle Gorenko


3. When did you start paddling?
My family had an old Coleman canoe that we would take camping when I was maybe 5 till I was 10. My passion really started when I was 12 and took a beginner kayak course with the Bow Valley Kayak Club.

4. What are you looking forward to this upcoming season as an Aquabatics Ambassador? Getting out on the river as much as possible, sharing the stoke and getting more people out on the water.

5. Why kayak when there’s so many other ways to get on the water?
The stability, and the sense that the water is around you instead of being on top floating. Paddle boarding and canoeing I don't feel as connected with the water as it feels like I am constantly being thrown around. I found that the flow and rhythm was easier for me to find as a beginner in a kayak over other options.

6. Do you remember what your first kayak was? Colour?
The first boat I purchased was a Dagger nomad after the redesign, It was orange and blue but if we're getting technical Blaze was the name given to it by Dagger.

7. If you could build the perfect kayak what would it look like?
Fast and stable but without attention can still get you in some trouble, the boat shouldn't do all of the work for you. A good teaching platform that could take someone from class 2+ all the way to class 5.

8. Where’s your favorite place to paddle, well one your comfortable sharing with the world anyway?
The Jordan river, an amazing class 4+ creek situated just outside of Revelstoke. It's a great section to learn on as every rapid is walk-able and you can start the run below the more daunting rapids.

9. What's the longest commute you’ve made for a weekend of paddling?
7 hours one way, for 2 ½ days of paddling on the Thompson river. It was definitely worth it, we managed to catch great flows for the infamous Frog wave. In terms of the most driving in a weekend to go kayaking, I drove just shy of 2000km in 3 days during the Three River Rendezvous last season, making the great choice of heading to Fernie everyday to paddle the Elk and Bull rivers.

10. Do you enjoy paddling competitions? Why?
Depends on the competition, I don't generally compete in anything except creek races. It's not that I don't enjoy them, they just aren’t my strengths. I do however quite enjoy creek races, I’m not particularly quick on course but the challenge against myself is enough to keep me stoked to go and try to beat my previous time.

11. How are you pushing yourself on the water?
Progression with free fall and setting a good angle for different waterfall heights.

12. What are your paddling strengths? Areas for improvement?
Safety organization, the biggest part of paddling with a group is knowing you can rely on your team to help you if you get yourself into a situation that you might not want to be in. This isn’t just one person's job, it is a group effort to ensure everyone's safety. As for an area for improvement I would like to get more confident running taller waterfalls such as Leap of faith on the Elk river.


13. What would you say your worst bail was?
Back in 2017 on Overlander falls on the Fraser river. For those that dont know Overlander falls is a 30ft waterfall with a reconnect in the middle, the idea is to boof the top of the falls and land on the reconnect that auto boofs you into the pool below. After the first lap of the run myself and several friends where all super stoked that we had just ran the tallest waterfall we had ran to date. Second lap comes around and at about 5:00 pm we start to one by one drop into Overlander falls, as my turn to drop in comes around all I can think about is nailing my boof stroke and not pitoning on the reconnect. Well i'm sure by now you all know what happened, I hit my boof stroke, lent backwards due to bad form and my nose dove. Luckily I didn't swim, however I couldn't feel my legs at first then the shock wore off and any weight put on my leg was excruciating, I had to be carried out of the river for a late night trip to Jasper hospital. I was incredibly lucky to have not broken my ankle. The injury ended up being a compressed growth plate, nothing too serious and time has healed it since.

14. What’s your dream run or trip?
I am currently planning my dream trip of North America for the approaching season. Spending some time down in the Pacific NorthWest area along with California, British Columbia and Alberta. I'm sure these plans may change with water levels but with 4 months on my hands to paddle as much as my heart desires there is no reason to have a strict plan. I would also love to spend some time paddling in Chile at some point.

15. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen while paddling?
Just outside skookumchuck is a great little creek, with a very iconic rock formation that resembles a skull. Definitely one of the cooler things I've seen that won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

16. What’s the best advice you would give to someone brand new to whitewater?
Enjoy the learning and don't push yourself too far too early, I've had friends scare themselves very early on and not come boating again.

17. If you could go paddling with anyone in the world past or present who would it be? That's a difficult question… As long as they have a good attitude and are stoked to be out on the river they are always welcome to join for paddle.

18. Is there anything you would change about the sport?
Not that I can think of, the community is super tight and wherever you go traveling kayakers always seem to be super friendly and welcoming.

19. If you had to pick your favorite tree what would it be and why?
Not exactly a tree but if choosing devil's club as my favorite gets us to be nicer to each other then that would be great.

20. Is there anything I missed you wanted to add?
Just a huge thanks to Aquabatics for taking myself and group of rowdy group of 14 year olds on and coaching us though probably one of the more important areas for learning in the whitewater world. If it wasn't for the 3 years of coaching from them I wouldn't be remotely close to being the kayaker I am today.

Thanks again Odin for answering our questions we definitely look forward to the upcoming season with you on the team. Please check out Odins and other ambassador blogs here. 

 Check out his socials 

Facebook @Odin Pryor and Insta @Odin.pryor

Questions By Andy W. Answered by Odin P