Being Erik Boomer
Erik Boomer is like an unassuming rock star, if that's even
possible. He's a ridiculously good boater but talking big isn't his
thing (think Slash-the G&R version). Going big is (try Roger Plant
with Jack Johnson's attitude). Canoekayak.com sat down with the
24-year-old Liquidlogic hucker to try and pry out some information.
Like his thoughts on being the first to run Washington's Outlet Falls
and escaping death in Minnesota. –Joe Carberry
Describe the Outlet Falls mission for us. You were the first one to nut up and run the drop.
The day was abnormally sunny for winter in Washington. By the time Nate
Herbeck called me and said he thought the level was good there was
about ten paddlers already poised at his house ready to support the
mission. After looking at a picture of the falls in the L.C.D. screen
of Nate's camera, I realized the level was optimum. This is the longest
that I've mentally kayaked a waterfall before actually running it.
Three years ago I post holed through the snow to scout this stouter.
I've returned about four times since and decided not to run it because
of insufficient flows. In one way I felt very prepared, on the other
hand, it was a big mental block to overcome. Ben Stookesberry and his
cohort, Devin Knight, showed up as I was getting dressed and brought
some good energy. One great thing about committing to a waterfall is
that you don't have to take the last step off the edge… you are thrown
over the lip by the current. This drop in particular had a hot lead-in
that forced you to put your mind and body into gear all the way up to
the lip. It was an epic ride; I have some mental snapshots that I won't
forget for a long time. The landing was initially soft but [then
turned] violent when the channel of water pile drove me deeper into the
pool. I lost my paddle and failed my handroll attempts – back to the
pool for me. Then Ben and L.J. Groth ran it and both had different, but
great lines. Everyone there was stoked and full of energy to have had
such an epic day.
Getting it all Out: Boomer drops Outlet Falls, Wash.
You seem pretty low profile, meaning you don't do much self promotion. We did see your spot in Twitch V “Pulse”
. You always seem to show up around the gnar. What's your philosophy
about pro boating? Are you trying to make a life out of it?
I've loved paddling longer than I have loved anything else in my
life. When I go kayaking I'm just doing what satisfies me and makes me
happy. I have dreamt of kayaking adventures since I first got into
paddling at nine-years-old. So every-time I go paddling I'm fulfilling
a childhood dream. Rodeos and competitions are great but definitely not
a dream of mine.
For me kayaking is about setting out on journeys with friends. Competitions can be great fun but I would rather put my money towards getting away from the crowds. My favorite paddling trips are multi-days with big drops.
What are your plans for the coming year?
I'm spending a few weeks in Minnesota/Ontario searching for big
drops this spring. I'm also looking forward to the White Salmon River
Festival May 29-31. Maybe B.C. early fall then onto nursing school for
two years which will keep me local. My home this winter has been the
"Beaverlodge", an old guide cabin on the White Salmon River. I went
without heat or water December-January. But, the WiFi still worked!
First Time's the Charm: Boomer firing up Mosier Falls
I paddle in the [Hood River] Gorge with a great local crew or
whoever shows up for the weekend. I just started running the truss with
two brothers from Trout Lake High School, Todd and Brendon Wells. I
always look forward to any of the LVM trips with the southeast crew
What are your thoughts on safety? Always carry a throw bag
and be confident in using it. Accidents happen when we least expect
them. Especially when scouting consider back up plans and be prepared
to use them. Always be accountable for yourself and paddle with people
you respect and trust. Paddle with at least three people. Focus on
making logical decisions, don't let emotions like fear or pride control
So on that note, we saw that YouTube clip from Herbeck's Toxic Waters where you got worked in a hole above that waterfall in Minnesota? What was going through your mind?
I was thinking that I really didn't want to swim on the first
drop of our Minnesota trip. I knew that the longer I held on the more
chances I would get to paddle out. By the time I was out of the hole I
was also out of breath. Regardless, I got a burst of energy after
battling out, and I decided to charge right off the next falls because
the hole was more forgiving and I had great safety.
The Crew After the Outlet Falls Mission