The Bull Riding Cancer Surviving Kayaker

Above: Randy Sparrow hanging out in Chile’s Rio San Pedro clear blue water during Pucon Classics Trip.

Like many retreat kayakers Randy introduced himself at the NOC Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF) and later signed up for a dreamy Chile kayak trip. Sadly, Randy cancelled due to a bout with skin cancer diagnosis. This wasn’t Randy’s first rodeo with cancer as 8 years earlier he fought off colon cancer. That’s when Randy got introduced to one of kayaking’s greatest programs. The First Descents non-profit for cancer patients that uses kayaking and rivers therapeutically. Randy was surprised when more than a year later we reached out to inform his Chile kayak trip deposit was transferrable as trip credits. And he soon signed up for two weeks of fulfilling his kayaking goals.

Randy’s introduction to whitewater was as entertaining as his younger bull riding days. Seeking an instructional class Randy reached NOC’s front line Jae Jackson. Jae asked about Randy’s level of kayaking experience, “Well, I’ve paddled some II’s and III’s and a III+ or two.” What Randy left out was the fact his kayaking experience was actually in a sit on top crafted for flat water. Which we speculate his class III experience may have been a windy day on an Arkansas lake. Jae aligned Randy with a class II to III whitewater clinic. After the first day of classes instructor Casey Jones asked, “So Randy. How many times have you paddled that boat?” Randy pondered for an honest response, “Other than today?” Casey nodded as if to say you can tell me, “Once.”

Randy offered to go into a less skilled class but Casey insisted to see how the clinic went. By the end of the clinic Randy was hitting multiple rolls, paddling class III, and best of all was hooked on kayaking. Randy laughs, “I’ve been staying in my boat and Casey has had to put up with me ever since.”

 

Above: Randy Sparrow plants a boof stroke on the Lower Palguin waterfall (Pucon Classics Trips). // Randy Sparrow bull riding.

Three years and having survived cancer later Randy spent two weeks paddling in the heart of Chile’s best whitewater. The first few days were dusting off the cob webs a bit, and by the end of the trip Randy was running waterfalls and class IV. Excited for a new season of kayaking with a whole new level of kayak skills and confidence. We salute Randy Sparrow for representing everything we love about rivers. KEEP KAYAKING.

Scheduled

Chile Kayak Trips

Kathy Zerkle and Friends Chile Birthday Party

Happy birthday Kathy. Over the years nurse/ranger/psychotherapist Kathy Zerkle has mended more broken river bodies and minds than all of us put together. It is with great pleasure that Pucon Kayak Retreat offers Kathy & friends a birthday week of retreat Chilean river style amongst her besties.

CUSTOM TRIP-JAHRivers Class IV Tour of Chile

Jay Hicks invites friends to his dream Chile kayak trip of waterfalls, basalt canyons, and Chile blue water rivers fest spectacular. Join Jay as Chile provides the goods and PKR provides everything else.

Pucon Multi-Sport Adventures

FEB 5 – 12
Pucon’s best multi-sport adventures travelers choose from raft, horse, hot springs, wine tasting, volcanos and glaciers while living riverside.

Best Chile Adventure Study Abroad Semester

JAN 3 – APR 15
Students earn 16 to 19 credits in BUS management, OUT recreation, sustainability, marketing and internships. Tour Patagonia threatened rivers, meet Chilean students, learn business management, and explore Chile.

Students Kayak Chile Waterfalls + Rescue Certification

DEC 18 – JAN 2
Students kayak Chile waterfalls, rivers plus earn swift water rescue certification. We’ll throw in a vertical canyon extraction scenario just to give students the best rescue training in kayaking. Check out our Holiday Trip Gifting options… you’ve earned it.

Huilo Huilo Plus Pucon Multi-Sport

JAN 18 – 25
Choose from Pucon and Huilo Huilo Biological Reserves best adventures and comfort activities. Riverside lodging, and reliving your failures and summits with friends and warm fire. Is this real life.

Custom Murton & Friends Claro + Pucon Creek Week

Murton & Friends Claro & Pucon Creek Week trip is a CUSTOM request combining the best of the Claro PLUS and Pucon Creek Week. Making for two weeks of dream kayaking with 10 UK boater friends.

Hughes Family Goes to Patagonia

Hughes Family Goes to Patagonia! It is with pride retreat owner David Hughes announces the Hughes Family Goes to Patagonia trip. This page serves as a guide and checklist for the Hughes Family Patagonia Vacation Plan. Trip will focus on mellow activities, back yard...

Week of Rivers Chile Kayaking Trip

Multiple Dates. FOR Beginner-Intermediate-Advanced Kayakers
For clubs & groups with a range of skills: beginner – intermediate – advanced kayakers. Beginners and intermediates can safely learn while advanced kayakers can challenge their skills with separate rivers and instructors. Celebrate nightly around the fire.

Beginner Whitewater Kayak Chile Trips

Multiple Dates Available
For beginner and wannabe whitewater kayakers. Equipment, rivers, fun adventures, and challenges included. Bring a friend or meet new ones while you learn to kayak Chile rivers.

Fuy 50 Foot Waterfall Canyon PLUS Pucon

FEB 20 – 27, 2021
Expert kayakers can now run Chile’s cleanest 50 foot waterfall and Pucon’s best whitewater.

Fuy Plus Pucon Rivers

JAN 18 – 25
Advance Kayak Chile’s best January whitewater destinations with the Fuy blue waterfalls and Pucon rivers and basalt canyons. Rio Fuy offers multiple sections from mellow to advanced within the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve. With Pucon’s diverse river options this is as good as kayaking gets.

Pucon Classics Advanced (III to IV)

Multiple WEEKS Available
MOST POPULAR. Want to up your kayaking game with the safety of world class coaches on rapids that will challenge and excite you? Trip guarantees blue rivers, waterfalls, slides, and boofing all on world class creeking and big rivers.

Pucon Classics Intermediate (II to III+)

Multiple Dates Available
Fifteen river sections for intermediate kayakers ready to up their game learning rapid navigation, self-scouting, piercing eddies, boofing, edge control, and explore Chile’s beautiful rivers. Bring a friend or bond with new ones during your daily challenges.

Pucon Creek Week (IV to V)

Multiple Dates Available
Chile’s best whitewater kayaking within Pucón’s basalt canyons. High speed rapids, big water, huck and plug waterfalls… Boof right. Boof left. Everywhere a boof.

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Our Scheduled Chile Kayak Trips

Kathy Zerkle and Friends Chile Birthday Party

Happy birthday Kathy. Over the years nurse/ranger/psychotherapist Kathy Zerkle has mended more broken river bodies and minds than all of us put together. It is with great pleasure that Pucon Kayak Retreat offers Kathy & friends a birthday week of retreat Chilean river style amongst her besties.

read more
Pucon Multi-Sport Adventures

Pucon Multi-Sport Adventures

FEB 5 – 12
Pucon’s best multi-sport adventures travelers choose from raft, horse, hot springs, wine tasting, volcanos and glaciers while living riverside.

read more
Best Chile Adventure Study Abroad Semester

Best Chile Adventure Study Abroad Semester

JAN 3 – APR 15
Students earn 16 to 19 credits in BUS management, OUT recreation, sustainability, marketing and internships. Tour Patagonia threatened rivers, meet Chilean students, learn business management, and explore Chile.

read more
Students Kayak Chile Waterfalls + Rescue Certification

Students Kayak Chile Waterfalls + Rescue Certification

DEC 18 – JAN 2
Students kayak Chile waterfalls, rivers plus earn swift water rescue certification. We’ll throw in a vertical canyon extraction scenario just to give students the best rescue training in kayaking. Check out our Holiday Trip Gifting options… you’ve earned it.

read more
Huilo Huilo Plus Pucon Multi-Sport

Huilo Huilo Plus Pucon Multi-Sport

JAN 18 – 25
Choose from Pucon and Huilo Huilo Biological Reserves best adventures and comfort activities. Riverside lodging, and reliving your failures and summits with friends and warm fire. Is this real life.

read more