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

Chile Week of Rivers – For Beginner Intermediate & Advanced Kayakers

Multiple Dates Available
Designed for groups with diverse skills – two groups go to intermediate and advanced rivers daily. Beginners and intermediates can safely learn while advanced chargers can lap waterfalls and get their boof on. Celebrate nightly around the fire.

Keeners & Families Chile Holidays

Multiple WEEKS Available
The perfect vacation for Keeners to safely learn creeking and river running skills, and for families to have a menu of multi-adventures within Chile’s blessed Lakes and Volcanos District. Watch your Keener stick their first waterfall.

Rolls & Rivers for Beginner Kayakers

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

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.

Rio Fuy +PLUS Pucon

Multiple WEEKS Available
Guaranteed blue waterfalls, slides, and boofs on world class creeks and rivers. Chile’s best two January kayaking destinations in one week promise epic kayaking on the the best rivers of your life. Solid combat roll required.

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.

Claro +PLUS Rio Nuble

Nov 14 – 20, 2020
Five sections within 66,000,000 year old basalt canyon milled and carved the world’s best waterfall anomaly. Sections range in skills and all promise best whitewater experiences of lifetime. As good as kayaking gets.

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Our Scheduled Chile Kayak Trips

Keeners & Families Chile Holidays

Keeners & Families Chile Holidays

Multiple WEEKS Available
The perfect vacation for Keeners to safely learn creeking and river running skills, and for families to have a menu of multi-adventures within Chile’s blessed Lakes and Volcanos District. Watch your Keener stick their first waterfall.

read more
Rio Fuy +PLUS Pucon

Rio Fuy +PLUS Pucon

Multiple WEEKS Available
Guaranteed blue waterfalls, slides, and boofs on world class creeks and rivers. Chile’s best two January kayaking destinations in one week promise epic kayaking on the the best rivers of your life. Solid combat roll required.

read more
Pucon Classics Advanced (III to IV)

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.

read more