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Meet Our Ambassadors, Part 1

Taking the time to learn more about the paddlers who make up our community of ambassadors has been such a rewarding experience. To be able to reach out to someone, asking them to share a window into their life- how they got into paddling and what it means for them to be an ambassador, opens up your eyes to the amazing community of paddlers that surrounds us. Their backgrounds and stories are all very diverse, but the one common element is the genuine passion that extends past the whitewater.

Bill Eades

One of the first ambassadors that I reached out to was Bill Eades. I could tell you all the cold hard facts about Bill- becoming an Impex Tech Rep (when they distributed Pyranha) in order to avoid being arrested for receiving stolen property, or setting up so many Pyranha dealers in the Midwest, that to this day, they still have a disproportionate amount of Pyranha kayaks in Missouri and Arkansas.

That’s simply not what stands out about him the most, or what people know him for best. Bill is greatly known for his love of whitewater, his skills on the water, and his adventures chasing rivers. In the ’90s, Bill paddled with Corran, Brad Ludden (when he was 16), B.J. and Katie, Dan Gavere, Ammen Jordan and EJ.  He struggled between getting past being a really good boater, to being better against trying to fulfil a demanding day job in science and engineering, and eventually gravitated towards the latter. Bill never stopped chasing the rivers, but now he was sharing that joy with the future generations of paddlers.

Besides teaching his own children, Nate and Natalie, Bill bought every small Recoil, Varun, and 4-20 that he could in order to get more kids paddling. Rachel Fly has paddled with Bill and his son Nate from her earliest beginnings and now has come full circle by being the Team Manager for Pyranha.

For the last 20+ years, Bill has branched out to so many younger paddlers that when he starts to tell his stories, it is almost like a who’s who list of today’s paddlers. Chances are if you know a paddler that started out young, most likely, you will find a common link with Bill. This is one of the true joys of whitewater- not only having the love of it for yourself, but being able to share it with others and watch them start the experience for themselves. As Bill says it best – “I am settled to sit back and watch all of the seeds grow.”

Bill has deep roots in his community- as president of the Missouri Whitewater Association, he has co-taught pool classes, led trips with younger paddlers, taught advanced technique clinics for 12-to-15-year-olds, and managed all of the electronics/timing/scoring for the oldest, continually run slalom event in the US- the Missouri Whitewater Championships. Since 1998, Bill has also been heavily involved in the National Paddling Film Festival, judging all of the professional films that are submitted. Once again, giving him the opportunity to “watch his seeds grow” as he sees many familiar faces throughout the films.

Bill’s love for whitewater and paddling keeps him chasing the rivers today. If you ever find yourself competing at the Missouri Whitewater Championships, you better bring your A-game, because the man to beat in the short boat division is Bill Eades.

Dominic Morrell

One of our newest ambassadors, Dominic Morrell, brings an incredible level of enthusiasm to the community. Dominic has been paddling since he was 4 years old, and now at the age of 13, he is fired up to be part of the ambassador community. In his own words, “I’m super stoked to be a Pyranha Kayaks ambassador, not only for the kayaks, but for the people as well.” It’s that same feeling that flows through the souls of our community, it’s the deeper feeling behind why we paddle.

As a new year of paddling has started for Dominic, he is already “super fired up” for a lot of rivers-paddling/racing the Green River Narrows, Moshier Spillway, Upper and Lower Blackwater, Hornbecks, and Van Campins are on the top of his list. Racing for a second time at Whitewater King of New York is also on the list year after making impressive times on his first race. There is definitely a lot on Dominic’s plate this year, and it is truly inspirational to watch him paddle and see what he brings to the table.

As Dominic says it best- “There is a lot on my bucket list to paddle this year, and I’m glad to move forward with Pyranha by taking their sick boats with me in all of these adventures!”

Morgan Cox

I wanted to finish up this set of bios with Morgan Cox- her love of whitewater started as a kid while taking annual summer family trips to raft the Ocoee River. During that time, her mom never expected what those family adventures would spark.

As I started to write this, I realized that it told a better story in Morgan’s words. Her words share a story that rings true throughout our community of ambassadors, a story that goes beyond the whitewater and into the heart of a paddler.

“When I was 20, a cute guy, who later became my husband, convinced me to go to Georgia State University’s raft guide school. A few weeks later, I was offered a summer job working for a small rafting company on the same river I had rafted as a kid. I never would’ve thought I’d become one of the smelly, bearded guys telling bad jokes in the back of a raft. By the end of my first summer guiding, I had fallen in love with whitewater and couldn’t imagine it only being a summer job. I dreamed of paddling year-round, navigating harder whitewater, and visiting more remote places. The obvious way to make this happen was to learn to kayak.

For many of us, I think being part of the whitewater community eventually becomes far more than paddling. Whitewater becomes less about the rapids (don’t get me wrong – I love the rapids) and more about the places you get to explore and the people you share those places with. I’m honored to also be a part of ACE Kayaking School, where I get to help spark the same love I have for this sport in people of all ages.

I have gotten to explore beautiful, wild, remote, and scenic rivers all over the world because of paddling and can’t wait to see where else it takes me and the new people it will allow me to share this life with.”

Thank you for taking this journey to meet our ambassadors and learn more about them. There are so many diverse stories, paths that are travelled, and adventures that drive them- Stay tuned for more!