Whitewater Wunderkind


Some kids do try this at home.

Thirteen-year-old Burress hucks 30-foot falls

Watch out river rats. Next time you’re out running the Arkansas or the Colorado you might get a lesson from freestyle boating’s new favorite kid sister—13-year-old Lauren Burress. The paddling prodigy—who won the Freestyle and Slalom Kayaking Junior Nationals at the FIBArk Whitewater Festival last year—got her first kayak at age 7. By 8 she was running the Big South Fork River in Tennessee where she grew up, and at 9 she competed in her first Teva Mountain Games.

Last year the whitewater wunderkind moved west to Colorado to train and compete in pro categories. In late May Burress placed sixth overall in the pro women’s category at the US Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials in Glenwood Springs.

On a recent trip back to Tennessee Burress hucked the 30-foot cascade Pine Creek Falls. “It was scary for sure,” she said of running her first 30-footer. I watched five or six people do it first, so I decided when I got to the edge, to close my eyes, tuck, and just go for it.”

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