Team Name: Viz Reporter
Team members: Matt Pruis
Hometown: Ellensburg, WA (ironically, a really windy town)
Race vessel: 19′ Seaward Quest, kevlar kayak
Human propulsion: the only thing he’s got
Whoever justified climbing a mountain “because it’s there” clearly never met Team Viz Reporter. A mountain summit is a natural goal, and a visible justification for optional misery of thousands of feet of up, horrible, and dangerous. If the goal is to get to the top of Everest there’s no other way to do it than to walk your ass to the top, plant a flag, and get down before the weather kills you. It’s both an accomplishment and a metaphor for the human condition–Yadda, yadda, yadda, we get it. Because it’s there.
There are a million ways to get to the R2AK “summit” of Ketchikan…well, two if you don’t count planes, ferries and every other boat with a motor. Our two options: use the wind or use your arms. The key difference between R2AK and “because it’s there”? For sure there are easier ways to get to “Ketchikan Everest” than bicep, tricep, core core for 750 miles of kayak drudgery without a sail. There’s wind, tons of it, at least sometimes, and to walk away from that much potential free propulsion “because it’s there”? Well, that’s Team Viz Reporter, who seems to be a special kind of bonkers.
Team Viz Reporter is going to paddle a kayak from the Lower 48 to K-Town, wind be damned.
We might have started the race as a riddle of human vs. wind, and “whatever you want” vs. the inside passage, but if the first two years was a cage match between sail and human power, right about now sails would be wearing the serving-platter sized belt of a pro-wrestling championship and human power would still be selling Thin Mints outside of the grocery store a few boxes short of a merit badge.
Wind vs. human? No contest.
Team Viz Reporter looked at the odds and chose a paddle, a 19 foot F.U. to prevailing wisdom, past races, and elemental power. There’s only been one kayak to complete the R2AK (Team Mike, 2015) and he had a downwind sail he coasted on for 3 days of free miles. Team Viz? Not hearing it, Matt signed up to shovel water. Wind or no, he’s going to paddle, all 750 miles of it. Why, because it’s there, and mountains are for pansies.
Welcome to R2AK Team Viz Reporter, we have no idea why you’re doing it, but we love that you are.