We all get our start somewhere in the working world, and whitewater kayakers are no exception. Whether it’s a clever off-season strategy or a one-off gig to make ends meet, we polled the pros for their worst off-season jobs. Here’s what some of the world’s best do when they would rather be paddling.

“I have worked 15 years at the Octoberfest in Munich serving beer to very thirsty people. My work days were 14-hour shifts filled with beer farts, puke, loud music, drunk tourists and locals stumbling around each other (my tent takes 10,000 people) and once in a while having to drag somebody off to first-aid for injuries.
Fourteen days of craziness each year paid for all my plane tickets for the winters for 15 years though, so I consider it a winning situation.”

— Mariann Saether

“When I was 17, I worked at Burger King for a couple months to make enough money to fly to Europe to go kayaking. After seeing what goes on inside, it made me never want to eat fast food again.
The part that sucked the most was that this job was going on during the spring melt and I missed several days of kayaking including the best day of Bus Eater that whole spring. I quit the next day.”

— Nick Troutman

“Technically that would be digging graves, but I was working for the Fusilli family so it was actually a pretty good time.”

— Bren Orton

“Taking out the trash. Just kidding, I still have that job.”

— Dane Jackson

“My first job out of college, I worked for a bank. Not the ideal job for someone who wants to be outside and on the water as much as possible.”

— Joe Pulliam

“That one time my parents made me do the dishes. Does that count?”

— Sage Donnelly

“I worked seasonal construction for nine years. We did lots of concrete and the worst job was the rare occasion when I had to hold the traffic sign. It’s good money but a person could go insane holding a sign for eight hours.”

— Ben Stookesberry

“I was a doorman in Whistler at a bar called Citta when I was 19. It was so boring. No one thought I was a doorman because I looked so young so everyone walked past me. I sucked at it, I was supposed to ID everybody and keep people out at capacity. But I would tell them to just go use the other entrance.
The best part was bussing tables and cleaning up the patio because I could actually do something.”

— Ben Marr

“When I was 18 I worked at a grain elevator. The worst part of the job was when there would be a jam in the underground grain catching area and since I was the young new guy, my job was to climb down and bucket out the grain.
The grain filled the air and I had to wear a mask and goggles to deal with the dust. It was really hot, itchy and uncomfortable.”

— Erik Boomer

Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more. —Johnny Paycheck | Feature photo: François Nadeau

cover of Rapid Magazine, Early Summer 2017 issueThis article was first published in the Early Summer 2017 issue of Rapid Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more. —Johnny Paycheck | Feature photo: François Nadeau



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