There’s been a glut of these posts lately, but we are always so excited to talk to our paddlers we just can’t help it! This week we have had the tremendous pleasure to have Kenny Howell come visit us and share some of his wisdom on Epic, on surfskiing, and on life in general. I had a chat with him to find out what makes him so passionate about paddling.

Kenny racing at the Gorge Festival in 2015

Deep Cove Kayak: Hello Kenny! How’s your trip to North Vancouver going so far?

Kenny Howell: I’m having a great time – I love coming and hanging out with you guys, meeting paddlers and talking to people about surfskiing.

DCK: Where is it exactly you’ve come from??

KH: I live in a little seaside town just south of San Francisco called Montara, where I can paddle every day. My training buddy John Dixon lives just round the corner and we head out most days. In the summer we might head to San Francisco Bay, but in the winter we have more fun in the ocean just out from where we live.

DCK: And how did you get into paddling in the first place?

KH: I actually went on a 10 day kayaking trip in Baja with a family friend when I was 17 and just got hooked! After taking Wilderness Education in college I went back and worked for the same guy for 10 years back down in Baja. Then I managed a paddling school for the largest paddlesport retailer in California…and now I’m into my second year of my dream job working for Epic!

DCK: What is it about Epic that you are so invested in?

KH: I actually won an Epic kayak back in 2005 in a raffle would you believe, at the US Surfski Champs. Greg Barton saw how excited I was and asked me to get more involved, so I became an Epic expert. What I love about Epic is that they are always pushing the cutting edge, they’re never comfortable with the status quo. In the last couple of years we’ve brought out the V7 and V5 plastic surfskis, which are changing the way people can paddle, and most recently the V8 Pro [which Amy did a blog post on a couple weeks ago here] which I have been so excited about for bridging the gap between the more stable V8 and less so V10 Sport. And there are plenty more ideas in the bag!

Kenny racing in last year's Tuesday Night Race in Deep Cove

DCK: We know that you are an excellent paddler and teacher – what words of wisdom do you have for someone just starting out in surfski paddling?

KH: For a beginner, the best advice I can give is that you need to be stable on the ski – to improve your stability you just need to spend time in the boat and in due course your stability will get stronger and your speed will improve.

Kenny teaching surfski on the beach in Deep Cove

DCK: And for some of our more seasoned paddlers?

KH: Everyone needs a tune up every now and then. Take advantage of the fantastic paddlers who race in TNR and talk to them, train with them and watch who you admire. One of the great things about surfskiing is that you never stop learning, and that there’s always something new to try.

Thanks so much Kenny! Safe travels and we’ll hopefully see you again soon.