Having a solid crew for kayaking is crucial. There is a certain level of responsibility you have for others on the river when shit goes down so you want to make sure you surround yourself with athletes that want to get it done and will be there for you when mistakes happen.
I met Adrian Wigston at his brother Nick's wedding a few years ago. Nick is a living legend in Colorado and one of the best kayak and swift water rescue instructors on the planet. Nick and I have logged some serious road trip hours together and had countless special days on the river.
A few years ago I put on the Skykomish for a solo lap and ended up paddling with a guy named Sam Grafton. Sam's name is starting to get out there now but he is not a big self-promoter and is probably the hardest charger you have never heard of. Sam is not flashy, he is not about getting the perfect shot, and I don't think he even owns a dry suit. I'm not sure how you can live in Index, run the shit all year long and not own a dry suit, but Sam pulls it off. He is a soul boater to the core.
Thanks again to Dan Patrinellis for some of these sweet photos.