Paddler Profile: Kalob Grady

Kalob Grady is a fixture on the Ottawa River and very well known in Ontario in the white water community. Kalob has competed in and won the Canadian Junior National Championships and represented Canada at the World Freestyle Kayaking Championships, where he finished sixth. In 2017, Kalob placed 3rd at UNLEASHEDxUganda

Kalob is starting to work towards a professional career off the water. Studying at St. Lawrence Collage as a student in the school of Business, with a focus on Marketing. He hopes to merge his Marketing studies with his Kayaking career to be able to pursue his passion for life.

Kalob is a team member with: MEC, Jackson Kayaks and Kokatat.

Kalob Grady

What part of Ontario are you from and how did that contribute to your love of kayaking?

I am from the small village of LaPasse, Ontario. A town located on the banks of the Ottawa River and just minutes upstream of the famous whitewater section. Growing up here, especially in an outdoors and water focused family meant it was only a matter of time before I started pursuing the sport of kayaking. My parents and early coaches did a great job at keeping kayaking fun until I wanted to push my comfort levels on my own terms. They were extremely supportive at the beginning, driving to the put-in, meeting me and my friends at the takeout, always finding time to drive us the awaiting warm and safe waters of the Ottawa. Growing up on this river with its World-renowned surf waves, high volume style and reasonably consequence free rapids has been extremely beneficial in my development as a kayaker. Being able to push limits, and make mistakes in a safe way has been a huge factor in developing skills I now use all rivers all over the World. The Ottawa River is, and always will be my home, and it is 100% responsible for my addiction to the sport of kayaking!

What is the most underrated white water run in Ontario?

Kalob setting up to run the falls

The Blakeny Rapids on the Missisippi River are the most underrated rapids in Ontario. These rapids start flowing in the early early season from snow melt and are often a great warm up to the cold air and water before all the massive Stakeout waves begin to form. With many different channels, and lines, it’s a great place to bust out the long boat and send some laps! Sidenote: I am confident that there are undiscovered sections of whitewater in Northern Ontario that have not been paddled, or seen that could have incredible potential!

Tell us more about World Class Academy.

Currently, I am working as the head coach and environmental science teacher for a high school called World Class Academy. World Class is a fully accredited, Kayaking focused private high school based out of White Salmon, Washington. We are a travelling school that chases the best whitewater in the world while maintaining a focus on academics. The goals of the program are: Academics, Athletics, and Character. We are developing the next generation of educated kayakers that are prepared for success in postsecondary education. We also aim to foster the kids passion for the world's natural spaces. The kids get to explore and discover many amazing locations from the various kayaking trips provided by the school.

As a student of business, how has that helped your career in kayaking?

It’s an easy concept to grasp that kayaking at the top level isn’t possible forever. However, my dream is to stay active in the kayaking and the outdoors industry. Attending business school trais me in the the skill sets to transition into the behind the scenes aspect of the sport with a company, as I slow down on the water. Full disclosure, I haven’t finished business school yet, and don’t plan on slowing down in the sport anytime soon, but the things I have been able to study/learn are applicable to a lot of things in such a small sport. I have chosen to specialize in marketing, so knowing what is going on with sales/budgets/campaigns is really awesome, I’m not just in the dark when talking to business people or team managers.

Finally, surfing or dropping?

Ahh, great question. Honestly, it depends on the day, the month, the season. I’ve noticed that as I finish a season at home on the Ottawa, I am ready to get after some tall waterfalls or challenging whitewater. After a few weeks of being scared, and stepping up my game, it is nice to go on a relaxing trip, more river running and lifestyle based trips. This lets gives my body time to recover from the impacts and stresses of waterfalls. That only lasts for so long before I get the urge to hit big waves and get after some freestyle hustle. Restarting the cycle.

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