KOKATAT Ambassador TEAM MEMBER | Stand Up Paddle

Kevin Cullen

Age: 34 years old website

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Kevin has always been drawn to the water but it wasn’t until moving back home to the shores of Lake Erie outside of Buffalo, NY after having spent 5 years in Western Colorado and the California Desert that paddling and watersports started to take center stage.

Kevin is a passionate rock climber, but after moving home to pursue a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning and meeting his wife Christian Edie, who is also a rock/ice climber, the pair turned their focus to paddling. Mainly because there is so much more accessible paddling along the shores of Lake Erie than rock climbing, although in winter there is an amazing amount of ice climbing!

In 2013 they moved into a rural beach cottage on Lake Erie and were loaned two SUP’s from a friend for the summer, and they never looked back. “Paddling so close to where we both grew up but in places we had never seen or never knew existed gave us the sensation of being 5 years old exploring uncharted territory.”

The following year fate introduced them to a local whitewater paddler who opened their eyes to a world of whitewater rivers in their area. “The next time the water was high we got a phone call and our new friend had two creek boats waiting for us at the put-in, which was only 25 minutes from our little place on the beach.” On that trip they were introduced to the local whitewater paddling community, the Zoar Valley Paddling Club, and were blown away by how many whitewater paddlers were in the area, and how strong the scene was. Kevin was hooked as soon as his boat hit the water and quickly had a few dozen new best friends.

With a slight surfing background and having spent all summer exploring the lake shore by SUP, their next time on whitewater was on stand-up paddleboards! A few months later they headed to the Ottawa River where Christian took 1st place in women’s whitewater at the Ultimate SUP Challenge, and they were able to do a SUP descent of the Ottawa River while there – an unforgettable experience. Since then the two have been fortunate to SUP the Lower Gauley in WV, the Upper Kaituna in New Zealand, and are finding incredible micro creek SUP first descents in Western New York - many of which have only seen a few kayak descents.

In 2015 the duo also started SUP Erie Adventures - a SUP and kayak lesson, rental and guide service, to share the incredible recreational resources often underutilized in Western New York. “What I love most about the area is the diversity of conditions. In a single day we can do a downwind paddle, kite-surf, wind-surf, run whitewater, and often score a clean SUP surf session at sunset, all within 25 minutes of driving. In the winter you can throw ice-climbing into that mix and have the perfect multi-sport day.”

Kevin’s goal is to enjoy paddling, watersports, and all outdoor activities as much as possible while sharing the stoke with others.