Werner Paddles is honored to have an amazing team of paddlers representing us on and off the water. One of those paddlers is Sage Donnelly. We are very excited to have Sage as part of our team and I was lucky enough to get to ask Sage a handful of questions to get to know her. Here is what she had to share:
A little bit about Sage and her start in to paddling:
"My parents first put me in a topo duo when I was 2 years old! My dad would be in the back with me in the front and my mom would paddle along. When I was 5 I started running rivers in my own boat with my parents. It was always a super fun way to be with my family and my love for it grew very quickly. When I turned 7 I started competing in freestyle and then went on to competing in creek racing when I was 9. I then went on to compete on team USA in canoe and kayak slalom as well as freestyle and I have been a competitive creek racer since a young age."
"The Odachi for sure! I love the forward set blade, it feels like a slalom blade which means you get a lot of power and you get to go really fast because of it!"
Favorite Place to Have Paddled:
"High water north fork Payette river and fantasy falls are my favorite rivers so far!
Most Memorable Paddling Experience:
"Running big falls at high water on the south fork Payette river. The bottom hole is super gnarly and the drops above aren’t small either. It’s by far the highest consequence rapid I’ve run so far so putting down the exact line I wanted felt incredible!"
What do you always bring with you when paddling?
"Sugar snacks! I use dried fruit bars and juice boxes to prevent and treat low blood sugars (I’m Type One Diabetes) when I’m paddling so I always have them on me!"
What are you most excited about for the upcoming season?
"I’ve had a hard 2022, my springs started out with an injury and I’ve been sick ever since recovering from that. It’s made me pretty weak so I’m looking forward to my doctors appointment and figuring my health out this year and then going back to my postponed goals next year! Hoping to get on middle kings as well as some other Cali high sierra runs as well as some Canada runs and hopefully some first Ds!"
Do you hold any records?
"I hold the female flow record for big falls SF Payette and Selway Falls Selway River. I was also the 2015 Jr Women’s Freestyle World Champion and have been top ten in both freestyle world championships and slalom world cups several times. I also won 2021 North Fork Championships! I’ve won a few other things, but you should go kayaking instead of sitting on your computer reading about them;)"
What advice would you give to a beginner paddler?
"Take baby steps! You’re probably going to receive some pressure at some point to step up your kayaking… it’s not worth it. One of the best things my dad taught me was drill and nail every since ferry, eddy, surf, and boof on an easier section before you make the next step. It’ll help you avoid some scary situations and make your river time better:)"
What else should people know about you?
"I have type one diabetes as well as hypothyroid and celiac disease so all you immune compromised homies out there reach out! Whether you want to vent about your body, need some advice, or just want to say hi I love meeting you all!!!"
How to follow Sage:
Instagram @sagekayakFacebook: Sage Donnelly Athlete