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Area kayaker poised to paddle globally

Joelle Milholm
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Ben Guska paddles a wave in British Columbia. The Glenwood High grad is sponsored by Wave Sport and has been named to their global team. (Luke Hopkins)
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Kayaking, kayaking and more kayaking.

That is what Ben Guska will be doing all summer.

The 20-year-old Glenwood Springs High School graduate was recently named to the Wave Sport Global team and will travel the United States, Canada and maybe even Africa from May through October. Guska was on the Wave Sport Regional team for three years prior to his promotion.

“When I first started with (Wave Sport) it was a regional, kind of the basic ” I still had to pay for my own boats and stuff. And this year they put me on their global team ” which is the highest part,” Guska said.

Guska, who has been kayaking since he was 15, is one of 12 members on the team who make a living kayaking and filming kayaking videos.

He will be one of the youngest kayakers on the squad, which will be spending a large portion of the summer taking runs in Colorado.

“Colorado is going to be sweet because they have a lot of water here,” Guska said. “Then in late May, we are going to travel around in a Wave Sport vehicle, and I’ll be touring with older athletes ” it’s kinda cool.”

Guska was happy to be back in Colorado, after spending the winter in Washington, D.C., where he was editing film for an upcoming video.

“We are always shooting video,” he said. “I am working on finishing it up now, and we are hoping to have out in winter.”

Outside of working on his video, Guska was involved with Team River Runners during his stint in D.C.

Sponsored by Wave Sport, Team River Runners is a program that gives injured war veterans the opportunity to kayak.

“It takes wounded soldiers from past wars and more from present like Iraq and Afghanistan, people who have amputated legs and arms. We even took out people who were blind ” there were two blind moms of soldiers we took out,” Guska said. “I went and helped out a few times and donated two of my boats to them, and Wave Sport donated a bunch of boats.”

Six to 10 of the Team River Runners members will be journeying to Colorado June 18-25 to run some of the rivers and creeks of the Rocky Mountains.

They will be kayaking in Shoshone, No Name, Grizzly Creek and South Canyon on the Colorado River near Glenwood to name a few, but will begin the trip in Salida.

“We are going to take them to Salida first because Salida has a play park, and all these guys have never seen a play park before. It’s got really good access for handicapped people. There is a boat ramp that goes right to the hole,” Guska said. “It is going to be sweet because there is really good boating here, tons of Class 1 to Class 6.”

For the remainder of the summer, Guska will be paddling in the waters of Gunnison, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Glenwood, Idaho and Reno, Nev., before heading to the World Cup events in Ottawa, New York and Tennessee in September.

A trip to Reno, Nev., will be the first stop for Guska on his summer kayaking tour; he plans to head there May 9.


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