I started paddling under the instruction of Roger Paris in 1979 on Colorado’s Roaring Fork river. Back then it was long, fiberglass boats, wool sweaters, and Ace helmets. If you saw another vehicle with a kayak traveling down I-70, both would pull over to see who the heck it was. A new paddling buddy or old friend would be encountered!
Because of Roger, I became interested in racing kayaks early on- an addiction I still can’t seem to shake. From 1984 to 1993 I spent much of my time training and racing wildwater kayaks with the U.S. Team. In summers, when not racing in Europe, I was exploring the rivers of the Western states, playboating, scouting first descents, and harnessing fears on tough runs.
Paddling has taken me from South America to Africa, while introducing me to some of the wildest characters and closest friends one could have.
These days, while I still get out for surf sessions behind the store and an occasional skill (read fear!) test on Vallecito Creek, more of my water time is spent with my wife, Janet, and son Wiley, on dory floats on the Animas and multi-day floats in the desert. We also enjoy stand-up-paddleboarding and family kayak runs together.
All of this adds to nearly 30 years of river running, with work directly in the Paddlesports industry since 1987- beginning with a start-up paddle manufacturer, to 8 years as the Rocky Mountain Rep for Perception, Kokatat, and others, to my current job as owner of 4CRS.
Running the store with a committed, experienced, enthusiastic staff of paddlers, and having such quality customers is a privilege that keeps this job motivating and rewarding for me.
I came to Colorado in 1991 from the Chicago area to attend college at CSU in Ft. Collins. Soon after arriving in Ft. Collins and seeing people paddling on the Poudre River I purchased a second hand Perception Dancer and gear. From this point on I was always kayaking or swimming. One of the things I love about paddling is the camaraderie and willingness of others to help a new paddler. I quickly made friends in the paddling community and learned how to roll and started exploring rivers around the West. After a season or two I was helping out at roll classes and fully dedicated to the paddling lifestyle.
After college I moved to Steamboat Springs and worked the graveyard shift at Wave Sport Kayaks, molding boats all night, and skiing and snowboarding all day. After Steamboat I got a job as General Manager at Down River Equipment in Denver. Three years in the city was enough for me and in 1999 I moved to Durango and started working at 4Corners. I had only been to Durango on one other occasion before moving here. I found the people to be some of the best anywhere, the mountains rugged and the rivers amazingly beautiful.
In 2009 I was in an accident in which I ended up losing my right hand. The paddling community and the people of Durango really showed their true colors and helped me through an incredibly difficult time. I spent 2010 re-learning how to paddle, with both a left hand control paddle and with hand paddles. I have been favoring my hand paddles, as I feel safer in more difficult water with them. I have a decent rowing set up for my raft and am still working on a good SUP set up. I have spent my life on the water and do not intend to let my injuries slow me down.
My wife Tina is an avid kayaker and SUP’er and we love the multi-day desert trips of the Southwest and enjoy getting up to Idaho for some of their classic rivers like the Selway and the MF Salmon.
Kayaks: Jackson Rockstar, Pyranha Machno, Jackson Karma RG
Raft: AIRE 160DD
Favorite Local Run: Vallecito
Favorite Multi-day: Grand
Paddling since: 1995
General Manager / Web & Marketing Director
I’ve been working at 4CRS since 2006 and manage all web content and marketing. I’m also a lead sales associate and raft package specialist. I was born and raised in Durango and have spent the years of my youth wandering the southwest, kayaking, rafting, skiing, mountain biking, and fishing among other things. When I’m not involved in the action, I’m photographing it from the best vantage I can attain.
My passion for paddling really lies in multi-day trips, preferably self-support kayaking, but I enjoy all aspects of paddling from play boating, to creeking, to flatwater, to rafting. On the rare occasion you might even catch me on a SUP. In the off season, you can find me on a mountain bike trail, or flying past you on a pair of skis.
Kayaks: Dagger Jitsu, Dagger Mamba, Dagger Katana
Raft: AIRE 143E
Favorite Local Run: Upper Animas
Favorite Multi-day: Salt
Paddling since: 2003
General Manager / Accounting
I grew up in the green mountains of Vermont and moved to Durango in 2001. I graduated from Prescott College with a degree in Environmental Studies: Education for Sustainability. I spend my spare time playing in the mountains and on the rivers with my family and friends and with what time I have left I am out advocating for environmental issues, protecting our public lands, and helping to protect our rivers.
I first went down the Animas back in 2002 in a canoe with my brother, Ryan, almost bailed in Corner Pocket, which led me to learn how to kayak. In 2003 my friend Stacy and I taught ourselves how to paddle while running the Animas every day. That summer was full of swimming and eddy hopping! I started working at 4CRS in 2008 and have worn many hats over the years. I am the general manager, buyer, accountant, and sales woman!
In recent years my husband, David and myself bought a raft and have been getting out into the desert to experience the beautiful canyons in the four corners area. In 2015, David and I welcomed our child, Tucker, into the world. Tucker’s first river trip was at the age of 7 months, so we look forward to getting back on the water this summer!
I am happy to say that throughout my adventures in Colorado, kayaking and rafting have become my favorite activities and I love being surrounded by the boating community and immersed in the deep canyons of the desert.
4CRS is my home away from home and my family. Paddle, Live, Love, Laugh!
Kayak: Jackson Fun
Raft: AIRE 143D
Favorite Multi-day: Cataract
Favorite Local Run: Rockwood
Paddling Since: 2002
Marketing & Sales
My first ever river trip was on the San Juan River in 2010. It was there that I was first exposed to kayaking. My friend was kayaking, while I took a ducky. After paddling through a small rapid, I quickly decided that I was hooked. And by hooked, I mean that I have completely dedicated my life to the sport. I’ve my summers living in my car and traveling throughout Colorado, paddling as much as possible. After graduating from Colorado State in December 2014, I left for my first international paddling trip in Mexico. Since then, I have continued to travel throughout the southwest, paddling in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, but have also taken trips back east, paddling many of the classics, such as the Upper Yough, Gauley, Green, Tallulah, Tellico, Ocoee, and Chattooga rivers. Kayaking has taken me to many amazing places and allowed me to meet some of the best people one could hope to meet.
Creek Boat: Pyranha Machno M
River Runner: RPM 4 life
Playboat: Dagger Ultrafuge
Favorite Runs: Vallecito, Numbers, Big Banana, Gauley, Rio Embudo
Paddling since: 2011
LIS “BEEFCAKE” MCLAUGHLIN
Sales & Warranties
My employment at 4CRS began in the spring of 2016 although, I have been a comrade of the shop’s as a river guide for our affiliate guide company, 4Corners Whitewater, for much longer. The river whispered her seductive fantasia in my ear as a wee lass merely 17 years of age. Upon the first rush of adrenaline amidst the chaos that is whitewater, I became a zealous apostle to the river god. In the shop, I operate primarily as a sales associate and warranty master, albeit, I often find myself doing a bit of everything.
Raft: Aire Sabertooth
Favorite Local Run: Rockwood
Favorite Multi-day: Arkansas
Paddling Since: 2010
I have been working at the shop since 2004. I grew up boating in Missouri and Arkansas. During the summers of college I began raft guiding on the Arkansas River. In the winter I enjoy snowmobile guiding for Snowmobile Adventures and skiing as many days as possible.
Play Boat: Rockstar
Creeker: Flying Squirrel 85
Raft: Jacks Daddy Cat
Favorite Local Run:Vallecito
Favorite Multi-day: Salt
Paddling Since: 1989