Emmett de Maynadier is a Colorado College sophomore, an avid whitewater enthusiast, and the Outdoor Recreation Committee’s (ORC) newly-appointed Whitewater Raft Coordinator. Already the Whitewater Kayak Coordinator, de Maynadier now addresses all things river-recreation-related at CC, including planning whitewater trips and events, overseeing the ORC’s whitewater gear inventory, and organizing other ways for students to get involved.
How does it feel to be at the helm of CC’s whitewater program? Is it unusual for a student to coordinate both the kayak and raft programs?
It’s great! Last year these two positions were combined, so this isn’t the first time someone has held both positions. There’s a lot of overlap as far as ORC events, gear management, and some of our trips.
For students who are new to whitewater paddle-sports, what are the big distinctions between becoming involved in either rafting or kayaking?
Whitewater kayaking is more difficult to become proficient at than riding on a raft because you are responsible for piloting your own boat, as opposed to being guided down rapids by a more experienced person. If you’re interested in rafting, you can sign up for any of the trips we run. If you’re interested in whitewater kayaking, as you should be, it’s best to start by attending the weekly kayak roll sessions and then progress from there.
What’s your vision for the raft and kayak programs?
I’d like to leave CC with a sustainable program that allows students to enter school with no whitewater experience and be leading trips by the time they’re upperclassmen, so that they can pass on the knowledge they’ve gained. We’re almost there, but there’s still more to be done.
What will you do to accomplish that?
There needs to be a better bridge between trips for beginners and leader training trips. I’d like to create more opportunities for students to progress their skills beyond the novice level. And in general, I hope to see participation continue to grow, as it has greatly in the past year and half. In order to make that possible, I want more trips to go out, which is difficult to accomplish because the prime whitewater season here is so short. However, even when the rivers aren’t at their best flows, we still have roll sessions at the pool, as well as new clinics for other whitewater-related skills that will hopefully begin to happen this winter. I have also been in touch with other schools that would like to hold a race event, so that boaters from each school can compete and get to know each other. We’re trying for a kayak race at Waterton Canyon this spring.
Where do you get the motivation for doing all this?
When I came to CC, I had very little whitewater experience but a lot of kayaking stoke. It takes the right combination of mental and physical ability to run a rapid well, and I love continuing to improve my skills in order to run more difficult rapids well, as well as run easier rapids perfectly. I went on a lot of personal kayak trips during my first year and worked out of my kayak throughout the following summer, and that has gotten me to a level where I can be leading trips at CC. The opportunities I had to progress my paddling have been an important part of my experience at CC, and I hope to provide them to other students.
What would you say to a student interested in getting involved with the whitewater program?
CC boaters are friendly and are always looking to add new faces to our community! Come to roll sessions in the pool every Monday night at 8 p.m., join the Facebook group CCRAYAK, and in general don’t be afraid to reach out to current members of the whitewater community. We have a beginner kayak series every spring, and get in touch with me and I help you get out on personal trips, which right now are the best bridge between being beginner and more advanced trips. There’s always substantial Sundays, which are open-to-all kayak movie screenings held in the common area of third floor Mathias East every Sunday at 9:30 p.m.