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Bryan Hansel is a busy guy working in the outdoor industry. He is a professional photographer and kayak guide living in the small, quirky tourist town of Grand Marais, Minnesota which is on the northshore of Lake Superior. He tells the world about his adventures by writing for several outdoor magazines and through his blog, paddlinglight.com. After guiding for several years, this year he decided to start North Shore Expeditions which offers both day tours and multi-day kayak trips on Lake Superior. 1) How long have you been in business and what got you started?I've been working as a pro photog for about eight years now. I learned photography in high school in the late 80s and decided that it would be worthwhile to turn a hobby into a job when I moved to Grand Marais. North Shore Expeditions is a new company that grows out of the private guiding and instruction that I do. I decided that I wanted a fleet of kayaks to get more people on the water, so I turned it into its own company. I've been guiding and instructing kayaking since 2006. Back then I was looking for a fun summer job to get out and meet a bunch of people. I loved it so much that I decided that I wanted to make it a career choice. Basically, I live in a typical, small, tourist town with limited opportunities for meaningful employment and most of the available jobs have low wages. In order to make anything close to what I made in the corporate sporting goods world, I have to piece together income by wearing a bunch of different hats. Plus I moved here, so I could do what I love doing. 2) What’s the best part of your job?I love teaching photography workshops and kayaking, and introducing people to the outdoors. Seeing a smile on someone's face after they realize that they just made a great photo or after they learn their first rescue makes it all worth it. I remember one student who struggled with a self rescue. She almost gave up,…
I just heard the shocking news posted on Sea Kayaker Magazine’s Facebook page that Tsunami Ranger founder, Eric Soares has died: This morning we got the sad news from Michael Powers that Eric Soares passed away yesterday following a skiing accident atLake Tahoe. Eric was well known around the world for the extreme coastal kayaking he did with the Tsunami Rangers and for his many contributions to the kayaking community. He wrote several articles for Sea Kayaker on surf, safety and teamwork. In his most recent article for us, “A Change of Heart” (SK August 2008), Eric wrote of surviving an aortic dissection and the changes that brought to his life. While his physical heart was flawed, his true heart was not. Eric had extraordinary and infectious energy. He never took himself too seriously and you couldn’t help but follow suit when in his presence. We will miss him. Our deep condolences go out to his wife Nancy, his family and his Tsunami Rangers brothers and sisters. I can’t state how huge of a loss this is to the kayaking community. Eric along with Michael Powers started the Tsunami Rangers back in the mid-80’s and pretty much single handily invented rough water sea kayaking. Long before I had the skills to get out in rough water myself, I loved reading his book, Extreme Sea Kayaking. Eric also was a regular contributor to the paddling blog world via the tsunamirangers.com website. His articles covered a wide range of topics that were always well written and drawn from his extensive experience. I’m going to miss his regular updates... Sad day indeed... Update #1: John Lull posted a comment over on Eric's last blog post about what happened. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Update #2: Moulton Avery emailed me with the following update: He must have fallen and damaged his aorta.  He was skiing at Tahoe and emailed me from Stanford Hospital saying he was scheduled for another aorta operation next week.  He said:  "c'est la vie.  I'm upbeat". I was worried, but he was such a dear and wonderful man and…
Legendary Canadian canoeist and adventurer, Don Starkell passed away this past weekend after a battle with cancer. He was 79. He was best remembered for his amazing 19,000 kilometre paddle with his son Dana from Winnipeg to the mouth of the Amazon River. From the Winnipeg Free Press: "Orphaned as a child, Don overcame his insecurities through paddling a canoe during the great floods of Winnipeg of 1950," family spokesperson, Chris Forde wrote. "A divorce from his wife changed the course of Don's life so he decided to give his boys an adventure they'd never forget - to paddle a canoe from Winnipeg to the Amazon River." Doug Gibson, who edited and published the story for McClelland & Stewart under the title, Paddle to the Amazon, said he had trouble believing that his old pal’s adventurous life was over. "To me, Don always seemed super-human, and thus, immortal, too." Gibson said. Both The Mundane Adventures of Bryan and Canoe & Kayak Magazine have excellent posts today on Don’s life. Now I’m hoping even more that the documentary on his famous adventure I highlighted last week gets funding on Kickstarter. Photo Credit: Don Starkell
Kevin Bacon and his wife of 23 years, Kyra Sedgewick went out canoeing while on holidays in Hawaii yesterday. Photo credits: Splash News
  Robert Downey Jr. and family were vacationing in Hawaii this past weekend and decided to go out kayaking for the afternoon. Some people might notice that the rental company failed to provide the family with lifejackets but by the looks of the large number of photos posted of the family outing, there were at least 30 photographers lining the banks of the river the whole time.   Photo Credit: Splash News
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