NRS catalogs have always been a little bit different. We build them all in-house, and for many years the photos you saw alongside our products were taken on our own vacations. But our product line has grown and our catalog designs have evolved, making it harder to capture all the right products in the all the right ways while also manning boats, cooking meals, running shuttles and trying to enjoy our “time off.” So, by necessity, our photo operation has gotten a little more sophisticated. We have a staff photographer, the indefatigable Jacob Boling, and today’s shoots aren’t vacations, they’re work.
But we still have fun.
Fun is at the heart of who we are at NRS. We’re boaters, and we’re from Idaho, and if you’ve ever rowed the Salmon River in August or paddled the Lochsa in June, then you know what that means. We come from a culture that values hanging out, going hard and having lots of laughs.
That’s exactly what we did when shooting our Spring 2014 sun and immersion protection apparel in California. We didn’t hire models. Instead, we picked up a couple of buddies, Team NRS paddlers Erik Boomer and Tyler Bradt, along with their girlfriends, Sarah McNair-Landry and Tania Heater, and rallied to the Golden State. All four had recently returned from major expeditions—Erik and Sarah from Expedition Q, and Tyler and Tania from the Wizard’s Eye. We knew the only way to get genuine, fun photos was to go out and have a good time. After months spent battling Mother Nature, logistics and the media beast, this crew was ready to oblige.
We rented a hacienda on the beach (hey, it was cheaper than a hotel!) and a vintage Volkswagen camper (a bit spendier than a sedan, but sedans don’t come with stoves and refrigerators and snow globes). Then we called up more friends to join us.
Skip Armstrong and Blake Hendrix from Camp 4 Collective came and shot motion. Will Stauffer-Norris, of Remains of a River fame, showed up between stints in Hawaii and Costa Rica. Amber Valenti, Skip’s special lady and the leader of last year’s Nobody’s River Project expedition, happened to be nearby visiting family. Team NRS SUP athlete Nikki Gregg was in the area doing her winter training. And let us not forget the good people at Canoe & Kayak and SUP magazines, who mixed us martinis, dialed up Thai food, took us surfing, and even got some work done in the process, conducting on-camera interviews with Tyler, Boomer and Sarah in the hacienda courtyard.
In no particular order, here are some other fond memories from the trip.
1) Texting Skip to buy panty hose and eggs at the store, and Skip texting back “Done!” Then watching Tyler and Will reenact a rather odd Boomer family tradition. It’s all fun and games until someone takes out the lighting equipment.
2) Two of the most adventurous women we know swapping expedition stories over beers atop a Volkswagen bus.
3) Nights spent relaxing around fragrant juniper fires.
4) A car radio, a camera flash and a funky beat.
5) Grape shots from 40 yards, with one immaculate reception.
6) A pickle upside the face.
7) Eating a gallon of ice cream out of a fishbowl.
8) A professional athlete lobbing a football into a lady’s lunch. To be fair, Boomer isn’t as good at catching footballs as Tyler is at catching grapes.
9) Ball-point tattoos, eye-liner mustaches, and a failed attempt by Will to get the waitress’s number.
10) Sake bombs.
11) Tyler adding another first to a long list of impressive accomplishments: scrambling onto a rock.
12) The universal appreciation of tortilla-based meals among paddlers.
13) Lame jokes delivered as only Tyler can.
Check out the full gallery of behind-the-scenes images.