Interview With Kayaker Fred Norquist

Last week I sat down with kayaker and film maker extraordinaire Fred Norquist of the Soul Gypsys. Fred is a hell of a kayaker and lives a pretty cool lifestyle when semester is not in at college. Spend a few minutes on his Vimeo Channel and you will see just how hard he pushes it when on the river. He’s been kayaking around the world and done several drops over 70ft… but I’ll let you read more about that below.

My questions are in bold and his answers are just below it.

Your Vimeo profile says you’re a kayaker, a skier and a film maker. Do you rank them in that order based on your passion alone? Which did you learn first?

Well I would say that it goes kayaking, film making, then skiing in terms of how passionate I am. I learned to ski first, my first time on skis I was about a year old.

You went to Chile on a two month kayaking adventure. How did that trip come about and what did you get out of it?

My trip to Chile came about when I graduated high school, I didn’t want to go to school right away so I called my buddy Evan Garcia(we went to world class kayak academy together) he invited me to go to Chile with him. I learned so much that trip, I was with some of the best kayakers in the world and they helped push my kayaking skills as well as my safety and awareness on the river. It was the most intense learning experience of my life for sure.

You’ve run several waterfalls over 70 ft. That is insane! Is their any particular drop that just scared the scrap out of you or you regret running?

I’ve run 3 waterfalls in the 70ft range. Middle Palguin in Chile (~70ft) scared me the most. It has a crazy boiling entrance with a technical seal launch into the water. I don’t regret any of them.

Your bio pic on Soul Gypsies shows you fanning a wad of cash. Looks like a bunch of singles to me.

Im rollin in hella 1 dollar bills all the time. The convergence of the gypsy/gangster is the new wave, you aint heard?

Tell me about the Gypsy-Mobile (video). That thing is a hass and I would never imagine it runs on waste vegetable oil.

The gypsy mobile is my best friend Jake’s rig. Its a 1988 retired ambulance with a 7.2 liter diesel engine, such a badass rig that he converted to run on WVO. He is still sorting out the kinks to get it running smoothly. It has full living capabilities to spend many a gypsy days in the woods.

You are attending college somewhere in the vast Pacific Northwest. What’s your major and do you plan on using it when you graduate?

I am going to school at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. I am majoring in video production. It’s the only thing i really like to do that can make me some money. I am actually sitting in psychology 101 right now, it sucks. If I cant sustain my kayak adventures just kayaking then I might as well make some cool videos to help me continue to live the gypsy life.

What advice can you give to the young kids out there who want to live the soul gypsy lifestyle?

My advice to younger kids out there trying to live the gypsy life… I would say follow your passion at all costs. Whether it means being broke or homeless, do something cool, and try to travel the world.

You’ve made a lot of videos – which one are you most proud of?

I’m not sure I can say which one I’m most proud of… they are all part of a process to progress my video shooting, editing, and overall production skills. Anson Fogel’s kayaking films inspire me to come up with new ways to shoot the sport I love so much.

Everyone watches LOST… so do you think the Man in Black is good or evil?

Apparently I’m out of the loop; I don’t watch Lost haha. I like to watch family guy, south park, weeds, and the office.

Where to next?

Staying in the PNW this summer kayaking as much as I can, working, then off to Chile in the fall for 3 months this time. I cant wait.

In addition to Soul Gyspys, you can also find Fred blogging at Roaring Fork Kayakers. Check him out in action:

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