KOKATAT Ambassador TEAM MEMBER | Expedition Whitewater

Johnny Chase

Age: 24 years old
HOMETOWN: Kernville, CA

"To be truly challenging in this life that we live should be based on a firm foundation of financial unrest. People fling their lives beneath the wheels of routine in the pursuit of security; but then asks the question of choice. What will it be? Bankruptcy of pocket? Or Bankruptcy of soul?" – Sterling Hayden

Johnny grew up in Kernville, California. While he started kayaking, in earnest, at the age of fourteen, his first time in a kayak was long before that. In 2005, he paddled a few rapids during a multi-day rafting trip and wrote kayaking off, thinking that it wasn’t for him. Five years later, Evan Moore took Johnny to Salida, Colorado, for the Fibark Whitewater Festival. After watching this event and meeting so many of the amazing people in the whitewater community, he decided to give kayaking another go.

Johnny running Big Boy Pants, Fantasy Falls - photo Nouria Newman
Johnny running Big Boy Pants, Fantasy Falls - photo Nouria Newman

When he returned from that trip, Tom Moore, Evan’s dad and owner of Sierra South, taught Johnny how to roll. It took three days before Johnny could roll, but after three days, he could not only roll every time, but hand roll every time. Evan and Spencer Josif then took Johnny under their wing and taught him everything else they thought he needed to know, which wasn’t much; paddle hard down the center and boof everything. In a few months, Johnny was running easy class V, and by his second year he was running some of the classic class V runs in southern California.

Cataracts, Kern River - photo Tomash Vojtech
Cataracts, Kern River - photo Tomash Vojtech
Cataracts
Cataracts

Before kayaking, Johnny didn’t really like to go outside. Now he was spending all his free time on the water and dreaming of traveling to remote areas of the world to kayak. During his first year of kayaking, he had dreams of running so many rivers that he never thought would be possible. He watched kayaking videos nonstop, never imaging he would one day paddle the same runs he once watched on a computer screen.

Johnny Chase on Scotts Drop - photo Evan Moore
Johnny Chase on Scotts Drop - photo Evan Moore

After nine years of kayaking he has completed many of his dreams as a kayaker. The biggest of those dreams being: running Metlako falls, competing in the North Fork Championship, and Royal Flushing on the North Fork of the American. All tasks he once thought to be impossible are now some of his favorite memories. The best part about these accomplishments for Johnny, was the fact that his lifelong best friend Evan Moore was right there with him for each step of the way.

Royal Gorge - photo Nouria Newman
Royal Gorge - photo Nouria Newman
Chucks Drop - photo Ben Stookesberry
Chucks Drop - photo Ben Stookesberry

He has now visited seven different countries running countless rivers in each, with no plans of stopping. Johnny is in his last year of college and graduates in the spring of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a focus in Hydrology. After graduation, he plans on traveling and kayaking the best rivers the world has to offer. Look for him out on the river!

Good Moprning Slide - photo Carson Lindsay
Good Morning Slide - photo Carson Lindsay
Kokatahi River, New Zealand - photo Carson Lindsay
Kokatahi River, New Zealand - photo Carson Lindsay

“My goals are to push myself to be the best I can possibly be. I want to push the limits of the sport and my body, and with that go to the most beautiful and remote corners of the world. Some of my goals as a kayaker are placing top 5 in the NFC, completing the Fantasy Flush, along with my biggest goal— to one day run the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Patagonia
Patagonia

Johnny Chase'S FAVORITE GEAR

PHOTO GALLERY