Natalie’s journey into kayaking began in the summer of 2015 when she embarked on her first thrilling adventure down the Middle Ocoee in a raft. She was captivated by the whitewater with its unique blend of adrenaline, tranquility, and community. She watched wide-eyed as kayakers in their seemingly tiny plastic boats surfed, flipped, and laughed; she knew that was what she wanted to do. A year later, Natalie took to the rivers in a kayak and confirmed her suspicion that day on the Ocoee – She. Loved. Kayaking.
In the spring of 2020, Natalie took her first lessons with ACE Kayaking’s own Kirk Eddlemon. He furthered her passion by not only focusing on technical skills but also instilling a deep appreciation for safety, reverence for the natural world, and self-confidence.
Simply put, Natalie loves everything about kayaking: attempting to get the ideal combination of angle, edge, and speed for the illusive perfect S-turn; feeling the lift in the stomach when you hit a boof; watching the currents create transient whirlpools on eddy lines; being humbled by the river with the occasional beatdown or swim; scouting a rapid with friends, sharing in the intense feelings of excitement and nervousness; looking back at those same friends after finishing a rapid, smiling and laughing uncontrollably; building the self-confidence and technique so you can trust yourself and your skills.
Natalie loves giving back to the kayaking community by sharing her passion for the sport as an instructor. She likes to focus on not only technical skills, but also helping her students develop a sense of confidence, mindfulness, and respect for the river. She believes kayaking is a transformative experience that nurtures personal growth and a connection with nature.