Best of NRS, 2022


We’re going all in.

50 years ago, with an idea and $2,000 in the bank, Bill Parks went all in to create a company that he would want to work for and buy from. We’ve spent the last year reflecting on the successes and setbacks that got NRS to where it is today and celebrating the man who started it all and the people who continue to share his values.

A lot has changed in 50 years—hell, a lot has changed in just two. In 2020 and 2021, we learned the importance of having the outdoors as a safe space and welcomed many new people to enjoy it on their terms. Today, we’re stoked to see that the love for paddling and the outdoors is here to stay.

From the films that inspired us and the stories that challenged us to think differently to the product releases that will define the next generation, let’s look back on our favorite moments of 2022 before we go all in for the next 50 years.


Changing the Flow | A story spanning nearly a decade, Changing the Flow shows the world what can happen when women defy strict societal norms to find and create a life of their own. In Nepal, women are expected to do a lot of things: stay home to look after their husband, children and in-laws, work the fields, cook, clean and do the washing. What they aren’t expected to do? Raft Guide.

Brainwaves | Behind her Pit Vipers, Brooke hides an ongoing battle that few people know about. Between the still undiagnosed illness she contracted in Uganda and Post-Concussive Syndrome, depression constantly challenges Brooke’s fun-loving spirit. To celebrate this year’s Mental Health Awareness month, Brooke was ready to share her story with the world.

Josiah and the Bones | War stories are like clickbait, as a society, we want to ask the questions—click the headlines—but are we ready to hear the honest answers? Josiah Ching, a Hawaiian native and Iraq war veteran, is ready to tell his story. From shouldering the responsibility to do what it takes to survive, to shouldering the burden of then surviving, a soldier’s re-entry to the world they left behind is a lot to endure. Some can’t bear it. The lucky ones, like Josiah, find ways to cope. After the war, Josiah started fly fishing for bonefish and it saved his life.

My Home Run Season Three | My Home Run Season Three celebrates guides and the waters they call home. Just as NRS has evolved over the last 50 years to empower all adventures on the water, so has ‘The Guide.’

From your traditional raft guide leading guests down rapids to a mother teaching her kid to row; to stand-up paddle guides, fishing guides and paddlers who co-author guidebooks, My Home Run highlights them all. Crisscross the country with us to a flooded limestone mine in Kentucky and deep into the Adirondacks, to the iconic Snake River and the paddling mecca of the Pacific Northwest. Season three has something for all paddlers.

Watch the full series on YouTube.

Before I Die | Of all people with Alzheimer’s, less than 1% have the inherited form of the disease which triggers symptoms as early as the age of 30. Each child whose parent carries the gene has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene. If they inherit the gene, it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll develop the disease. Tristan Bussell doesn’t know when his memory will start to fade, he just knows that it will. When doctors confirmed that Tristan carried the gene for Early Onset Alzheimer’s, the same disease that killed his father, he shifted his focus to the present and set about turning dreams into goals.

A River Out of Time | One hundred and fifty years after John Wesley Powell’s historic descent of the Green and Colorado rivers, an unlikely crew of scientists, artists, educators, and river lovers repeated his journey on a trip that was simultaneously a celebration of modern river life and a critical look at how we interpret the Colorado River’s history and use its waters.


“Musings on Loss, Pain and Why We Paddle” | The death of a friend combined with a serious injury made Izzy Lidsky question why we paddle. The answer(s) came once she faced her grief. “I’m sure this is not the last injury I will endure, and while I hope Adam is the last close friend I lose on the river, I know that may not be realistic. It feels wrong to find a silver lining in someone’s untimely death and I hate the notion ‘they would have wanted this or that’ about our late friends.

I hear Adam’s voice in my head when I’m paddling and he’s always telling me to paddle harder or he’s laughing at me for flipping over on eddy lines. If ever my friends, the grounding feeling I get from the river, or pure joy are not enough, feeling a connection to Adam again is more than enough reason to keep kayaking.”

“I Was a Grand Canyon Internet Date” | Like most river runners, Shaina Maytum had always dreamed of rafting the Grand Canyon. Influenced by her desperate desire, she did two things. One, she wrote it down on a piece ‘wish paper’ and burnt it into being on New Year’s Eve. And two, she joined a Facebook group called “Grand Canyon River Trip Participants Needed.” Most of the posts fall into one of two categories: A permit holder with too few rowers, or a river rat who will do anything to get on a trip. So Shaina wrote her personal boating ad with the requisite comment about dishes and groover duty and left her fate to the Internet.

“A Funeral Flotilla on the Middle Fork” | By most accounts, this trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River would be your standard Idaho multiday. But for Tracy Ross, it would be the last trip she would take with her brother. They had been planning this trip together, but when he unexpectedly died before the launch, she decided to bring him along and find the perfect resting place.

“From the put-in, our group of 20 piled into duckies, paddle rafts, and onto the cooler tops in oar boats. The sun beamed down and the sky was cloudless. The water was an emerald green, warm enough to swim in. As we took off, I looked at my dad, who gave me a wistful smile. The journey to introduce Chris to my family’s favorite place in the world, and then leave him, had begun.”

“From the Ganga to the Futaleufú” | Busting the paddler’s glass ceiling in India wasn’t enough for Naina Adhikari. She dreamed of kayaking around the world. Comfortable with being uncomfortable, Naina reached out to her kayaking idol on social media. A single message began her first descent down the path of branded sponsorships until she found herself paddling beside her idol in Chile. On the Futaleufú, more than 16,000 kilometers from home she experienced a level of camaraderie and support she never knew existed.

“Autumnal Magic in the Owyhee River Canyonlands” | When there’s so much to explore in the Owyhee River Canyonlands, the river itself becomes the ‘side hike’ for Rob Lyon’s fall adventure. “I love fishing the Owyhee River in fall when the action is hot and the river is abandoned but for the birds, the fish and the four-leggeds—and us.”


GORE-TEX®️ Pro | After years of research and development—driven by professional athletes, guides and instructors—our new generation of technical outerwear is built with the most advanced, waterproof, breathable material ever made: GORE-TEX® Pro. This premium line of dry wear not only outperforms all others, it redefines what performance can be.

Spyn Fishing Semi-Dry Suit | Designed with adventure anglers in mind, the Spyn Fishing Semi-Dry Suit extends the fishing season for any angler willing to tough out the cold for the catch. This back-zip suit is constructed with EclipseLT fabric for dependable dryness, breathability and durability. Features a neoprene neck seal, which is a less restrictive alternative to latex that keeps most water out, giving recreational anglers a comfortable, dry seal.

Silkweight‘s Sustainability Story | In 2022, we released our beloved sun protection line, Silkweight, now constructed using 100% recycled material. The technical fabric enhances the body’s natural cooling process by wicking excess moisture and drying quickly while also providing UPF 50+ sun protection. We also introduced some new designs: the Vesi Hoodie, a multi-functional sun hoodie with integrated breathability holes and the quarter-zip Kosi Shirt.

Sawtooth Jackets | Born on the river but ready for the trails and the streets, the Sawtooth Jacket gives boaters a puffy they can call their own. Synthetic insulation combines with a rugged water-repellent shell to make even the coldest adventures a little cozier. The six-pocket design includes two exterior hand pockets, two interior mesh glove pockets, an exterior zippered chest pocket and an opposing side interior zippered pocket to stash everything you need pre-paddle, post-paddle, or without a paddle.

Slipstream Rafts | Purpose-built for adventure anglers, Slipstream rafts feature a streamlined design with deliberately placed d-rings, handles and valves to reduce weight and eliminate catch points. The smallest Slipstream is designed specifically to fit into most standard truck beds fully inflated, eliminating the hassle of trailers. While the larger Slipstream meets the gear-hauling needs of multiday cast-and-blasts.