Ever been extreme kayaking? Neither have we.
18-year-old Infiltrater Albie Binkley is a competitive freestyle and extreme kayaker from Nashville, TN.
This week we stole him away from his boat for a few hours to find out what really goes down in the white water.
How old were you when you first got out onto the water?
I started kayaking at 15, when I moved to Rock Island, TN where the pavement didn’t cater to my love of skateboarding, but whitewater was available daily. My friend Jase Bouldin started taking me kayaking every evening after work and teaching me the fundamentals.
What does a typical day out on the water look like for you?
Now that I am working a fair amount, I get about 20 - 30 hours a week on the water. A typical day consists of getting on the river pretty early so that I have the full day to enjoy the whitewater, scenery, and who I’m with.
Where’s your favorite spot to paddle?
My favorite place to paddle is anywhere that my friends are, but if I had to narrow it down to a specific river, I would have to say the Caney Fork. While it is my home spot, it offers something for every discipline in paddling, which makes it unique.
Kayaking isn’t always an laid-back paddle down the river. Tell us what it’s really like on the water.
To me, kayaking is a nice, scenic paddle downstream with a little something extra. When I paddle downstream, I’m always looking for a navigable line, and paying attention to dangers or obstructions in the river. It’s fun to be creative when looking for new lines that provide different opportunities.
Tell us a little bit about your competitive accomplishments.
I just started competing this year, but I have a few that I’m proud of!
3rd Place: Men’s Expert Freestyle 69th Annual Fibark
3rd Place: Gore Canyon Freestyle Competition
6th Place: US National Freestyle Championships (First Competition)
Tellico River Vertical Mile – 22 laps on a 2 mile that drops 130 feet per mile, a total of 5,720 feet of gradient loss which would be a little over a mile
Who do you look up to?
I would say that I look up to Jase Bouldin, Mack Orear, Arch Slater, Clay Wright and more. I don’t look up to these people because of their skills; I look up to them because of their willingness to give me their time and insight when I first started kayaking. I think somebody who is willing to work with you and teach you is way more valuable then somebody who can do all the tricks.
Looking ahead…where do you see yourself in 5 years? Out on the water still?
I definitely see myself still paddling. I hope to paddle as long as I’m psychically able, and to continue sharing good will amongst everybody I meet on and off the water. Unfortunately it’s not really a sport that you can profit majorly from in a financial sense, but you gain awesome experiences and memories that you will carry for the rest of your life, and I find more value in that than money anyway.
We don’t know too many 18 year olds as dedicated to the white water as you. How does your hobby compare to that of other kids your age?
I think it’s an awesome way to stay active year round and constantly be outdoors. While not technically a team sport, it can’t be done alone so you open yourself up to meeting new awesome people who love paddling just as much as you do.
I am so thankful that I can kayak as much as I do, and see the beautiful places it takes me. I think it is something more people should definitely try.
Go-to Filtrate shades?
Definitely the Trader One’s. They provide a nice and crisp view, and have a comfortable fit under my helmet.
What does #BrandOfTheFree mean to you? What part does adventure play in your life?
Brand of the free means a life of adventure with no set plans, a life taking every opportunity, and constantly seeking good views and good times. I’m always ready to go on spontaneous adventures that produce long lasting memories.
Check out Albie’s kayaking adventures on Instagram @albiekayak.