Q AND A WITH KAYAK INSTRUCTOR CHEV DIXON

Photo by Lynda Shenkman IG @Kayakerlynda

WERNER PADDLES:  We welcome Chev Dixon to the Werner Paddles Touring Team.  Chev thanks for chatting with us.  How long have you been paddling?

CHEV DIXON: Sure! Thanks for bringing me on board… I have been paddling for 10 years.

WP:  Where did you grow up at and where did you learn to paddle?

CD: I grew up in Jamaica where I spilt my time between the capital Kingston and a parish in the mountains called Trelawney. I’m still learning how to paddle although my first exposure was in Yonkers, NY on the Hudson River in 2009. 

WP:  It looks like you get a lot of folks on the water who live in the big city.  Could you explain your mission to share the natural experience with your students?

CD: Yes, through the Hudson River Riders program I get to help people get out on the river and explore. My mission is to help as many underserved people as possible to get the opportunity to paddle. I want my students to understand that nature is for all of us and it is absolutely necessary for them to have that experience. It is good for the mind body and spirit.

Photo by Chuck Grimmett IG @cagrimmett

WP:  About how many folks have you shared paddling with over the past year?

CD: Roughly 1200 people over the past year. Through Hudson River Riders and my travels last year, I had many opportunities to share the sport. My favorite was teaching kayaking in Soufriere, Dominica to the local youth. They were really curious children eager to try something new.

Photo by Lynda Shenkman IG @Kayakerlynda

WP:  What is your favorite discipline within paddling?  And your favorite paddle and paddle powered craft for that job?

CD: I am definitely a sea kayaker dabbling between Greenland and Euro style paddling. I enjoy using Greenland paddles for rolling and the Werner Cyprus for touring. When I’m instructing I switch between the Cyprus and the Ikelos to demonstrate finesse and power. I switch the boats up a lot because different boats behave differently, but for day to day paddling, I like my Boreal Ellesmere.

WP:  Do you see the club and boathouse model as something that could be more widespread in the US to help expose more to quality boats and gear for kayak touring and standup? 

CD: Yes definitely, I think the boat club model helps because people get access to a variety of paddles and boats to learn the fundamentals without owning them. This experience will also help paddlers decide on which boat and paddles to choose.

Photo by Lynda Shenkman IG @Kayakerlynda

WP:  What do you have planned for 2020 with your paddling goals and travels?

CD: This year I want to paddle in Dominica again and take a few more west coast trips. My main goal is to continue fighting for diversity in paddle sports. Provide more opportunity for black and brown people to get outside and experience the peace the water offers. Majority of the people in paddle sports are white and as a result, communities of color get overlooked. Not saying we need to take access away from white people, but there should be better efforts of inclusion and access for others as well. For example, if a boathouse or club in a neighborhood where the majority are people of color, then the boathouse should reflect that community.

WP:  What genre of paddling have you wished to try that you haven’t been able to sample yet?

CD: I haven’t canoed much, so that’s where I need to get more experience. Now that I have a dog I want to canoe more for an easier fit for both of us.

Photo by Chuck Grimmett IG @cagrimmett

WP:  We have seen that you care a lot about our environment and choices that impact the future of our world, could you tell us about your views and actions around sustainability?

CD: Yes indeed, I believe I came from the earth so it is my duty to do everything to serve and protect it. Sustainability starts with the self, so individually, we have the power to take control of our impact. Also, collectively we have to become sustainable people in order to have a greater impact. Spend more time in nature and incorporate activities that inspire people to be more conscious about the earth. We also have to empower each other so that we have strong leaders with the ability to covey information in an unbiased, simple and effective way. The word sustainability means something different for everyone and we have to share information in a language that others can understand.

WP:  Great to have you on the team and we are glad your out there spreading the message about how fun paddling can be, and how wonderful it is to adventure in the outdoors!