Who's Who at Kern River Festival '95

Tom Johnson is still kayaking at 76. A resident of Kernville, some might call him the father of modern kayaks. Tom was featured in "Legends of Paddling" in the October '94 issue of Paddler Magazine. In the early forties, Tom began experimenting with fiberglass laminated boats. He is credited with making the first rotationally molded kayak to be mass produced. Tom began his whitewater racing career at age 45, winning National championships in three different classes: whitewater K-1 in 1967, OC-2 Slalom in 1976, and C-2 Masters Slalom in 1980. 31 years ago the first whitewater races in California were started on the Kern by Tom.


Many excellent kayakers at all levels participated in the Festival. These are a few of the people that we know participated.

Donna Casey

Current women's world champion in Surf Kayaking, she is a highly qualified kayak instructor and a winner of many women's whitewater rodeos. Donna holds a degree in studio art and design and is owner designer of Current Trends a company making of accessory items for the adventure sports market.

Dan Gavere

This Colorado kayaker began paddling at the age of 9 in an open canoe. In 1993, he placed second in Freestyle competition at the Kayaking World Championships. A professional photographer, many of his photos are seen in catalogs, magazines and calendars. Dan is participating in the Festival as part of the Prijon Team.

Katharine Haines and daughter, Jessica

A science teacher at Camp Owen Juvenile Facility in Kernville, Katherine began kayaking at 32. Today, she is one of California's top women kayakers. During the summer, she teaches both co-ed and womens kayak classes at Sierra South. Last summer, Katherine and daughter Jessica loaded their kayaks and took a road trip through Colorado. They paddled five rivers including the Arkansas and Piedra. Jessica, now 13, began kayaking at age seven. Although this will be her first competition on the Kern River, she has competed and placed in events on the Stanislaus, the Mokelumne and the American.

Arnd Schaeftlein

This German Paddler has made first descents on many rivers in New Zealand and Chile. A member of the Prijon Team, Arnd competed and placed in Rodeos and Slaloms world-wide last year.

Bernd Sommer

While growing up in Germany, he was a ranking junior in the whitewater slalom. Bernd has paddled with Arnd on numerous first descents. As a member of the Prijon Team, he has participated in events around the world. In 1994, Bernd placed first in the Whitewater Rodeo Preworlds.

Brent Reitz

A resident of Pacific Grove, Brent has been a member of the US Whitewater Team for the past eight years.

Kim Sprague

A member of the U.S. Surf Kayak Team, he participated in the World Meet in Scotland in 1993. Kim is with Perception. He will be bringing some junior kayakers from the American River.

Team Santa Barbara will be competing with some excellent boaters. Mark Olsen of Paddle Sports, located on State Street, is leading the sit-on-top workshop for the media. Mark has placed in many ocean surf sit-on-top events. Also, look for members of teams sponsored by New Wave and Impex. These guys make it look so easy!
Kern FestivalDownriverRodeoSlalom

[Kern Festival] [Downriver] [Rodeo] [Slalom]

Preston's Kayak Page
Preston Holmes (Feedback)