Pat Keller is having a moment.
The 28-year-old pro kayaker is known for his waterfall first descents (he bagged Linville Falls and the 100-foot Ozone Falls) as well as being a repeat winner of the coveted Green Race. But this past year, he took it up a notch, winning the Great Falls Race and the inaugural Rey del Rio Waterfall World Championships in the Mexican state of Chiapas. There, he battled the world’s top boaters over three back to back waterfalls—a 25-footer, a 55-footer and a 35-footer—in a single run judged on style and line choice. Later in the year, he pulled a third place finish at The Green Race, just three months after breaking his collar bone.
The cherry on top of all that success? Keller just left his day job in the finance world to work full time at Liquid Logic, where he’s helped design a new high performance river runner.
“I’ve known the owners for as long as I’ve been in a kayak. [Owner] Shane Benedict was one of my instructors when I was 12, 13 years old,” Keller says. “To be amongst their ranks now is a dream come true.”
LIQUID LOGIC BRAAAAP
We blended creek boat ease with the rocker profile of the play boat, and then mixed in a little bit of Olympic style slalom boats, which are designed to go really fast. It’s a high performance, all around river runner. Really fast, really zippy, really comfortable, but I can also play in it and have a good time. MSRP to be determined; liquidlogickayaks.com
The boat is where you connect with the water, but the paddle is your motor. This foam core, carbon fiber paddle is really light weight but really durable. I like it because it allows for a little bit of buoyancy, and acts as an outrigger. $350; wernerpaddles.com
When you spend so much time running creeks, the rescue PFD is key. We all set safety for each other, and have a military-style sense of duty to our boating partners. This is the top of the line rescue PFD, with all kinds of safety features—reinforced shoulders, knife tab, rope, and storage. $249; astraldesigns.com
When you’re running big stuff like waterfalls, you don’t want that skirt to pop. The Lucky Charm is built really well. It’s as bomber as a spray skirt gets. $235; immersionresearch.com
I don’t leave home without this bag. The Ocoee is the perfect size for day trips, and it also doubles as a man purse if you have to cruise through an airport. They also make the Chatuga, my go-to for overnight paddling trips. $105 for the Ocoee; drybags.com