Kirk’s dad cultivated a deep respect and appreciation in him for wild places and adventures when he was just a boy, where they spent lots of time exploring the mountains and rivers of the world. In 2000, Kirk started paddling whitewater regularly with a core group of like-minded friends. He’s been a hopeless river-soul ever since, having worn holes through more boats than pairs of shoes in the years since.
Kirk started as a playboater, then discovered the adrenaline-infused realm of creek-boating, but can also be found in canoes, rafts, or any other type of boat that best fits the occasion. He’s trained hard in racing over the years, and has won several races both in his division and outright. He loves to travel to new areas to descend unfamiliar rivers and creeks, where teamwork and self-sufficiency are critical. Over the years, he’s paddled in several different countries, and extensively throughout much of the US, where he’s most enjoyed the multi-day creeking expeditions of the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, and the verdant, magical gorges of the Northwest and British Columbia. He’s lead numerous first descents throughout the US, particularly in the Southeast, where he feels truly at home.
His love for the Southern Appalachians and his desire to share the wonderful paddling opportunities has lead him to write a comprehensive whitewater guide titled, Whitewater of the Southern Appalachians, which he hopes will inspire future paddlers to get out there and experience the magic that is in our backyards.
Kirk knew Jeff West for many years until his untimely passing, and always identified in Jeff the purest of passion, not only in his smile but in the way Jeff actually lived his life. Ace still carries that spirit, which essentially distills down to the goal of sharing what we are passionate about. Kirk’s joined Ace to do just that, to share his passion for paddling and all it means to him— and to give others the skills, knowledge, resources, and inspiration to maximize their happiness through whitewater paddling. He plans on learning as much as his students. So awaken your sense of adventure and “let’s grow together!”