Past Voyageur Crew Member Paddles the World

     I’m sad to see Voyageur Canoe Outfitters isn’t mentioned anywhere in this article but it should be known Scott fell in love with paddling when he worked at Voyageur during college! We live vicariously through all of his paddling adventures.

From the Rochester paper-

Paddling around the world

posted July 17, 2012 by Guy N. Limbeck Post Bulletin

  At a glance

Who: Scotty Ewen and 2003 Lourdes grad who now resides in Duluth.

What: Ewen has been a whitewater kayaker for nearly nine years. He has been an instructor the past five years. He has kayaked in 12 different states in the U.S. and in four other countries.


Scotty Ewen has gotten the chance to see a lot of the United States and the world. And much of the sights he sees are while traveling along in the water.

Ewen, a native of Rochester, is an advanced to expert kayaker who takes his sport seriously. After graduating from Lourdes in 2003, Ewen attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The fall of his freshman year he joined the kayaking and canoe club and he has been hooked ever since.

He later became the president of the club and now nearly nine years later Ewen is a kayak instructor at Canoe U and a member of the Rapid Riders Club out of the Twin Cities.

Ewen is currently on a 10-week journey around the country to kayak. He is out west and will soon pass through Minnesota (he now resides in Duluth) and then head out east.

"It’s fun and (I do it) for the thrill of it," Ewen said of his journey. "Every river has its own personality and it’s fun to discover that personality. And it’s a great way to see the scenery."

Ewen kayaks on rivers with whitewater rapids. Rivers are graded on scales of 1-6 with a level 6 being the very toughest river to navigate.

"Mostly it’s the more high-octane pumped three or four (river)," Ewen said of his kayaking. "I like the rush."

For a good whitewater rapids, a river must have a good change in elevation. A river is graded by its gradient, in terms of dropping in feel per mile. A steep river will have a drop of 200 to 300 feet per mile while a easy river will drop only 20 to 50 feet.

"It’s a risk to reward factor," Ewen said of kayaking on a challenging river. Kayakers almost always ride solo in their kayak. But Ewen makes sure he always paddles with someone else along and is usually in a group.

"When you make your big drop, you make your own decision," he said. "But when you’re in a high-risk (situation) you want (to be with) people who you know and trust. You must be confident with yourself and people you are with."

So far Ewen has kayaked in 12 states and in four other countries, Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia and Nepal. Summer is the prime time to kayak in the U.S. while winter in this country is the prime time to kayak in other parts of the world.

"My goal is to try and rack up as many countries as I can," Ewen said.

He has been a kayaking instructor for five years and says everyone should be trained before they take on any type of river. He is going back to college to become a math teacher, but Ewen also wants to take the next step in kayaking and become an instruction trainer.

"You always want to seek instruction," Ewen said. "It will increase your safety and enjoyment."

Ewen has yet to turn 30 years old and he says he has plenty of quality years left on very challenging rivers. He said elite-level kayakers are often able to continue until their 60s. He said a person needs good joints, shoulders and hips to maintain a top edge.

"It’s more about flexibility and technique than strength," he said. "That’s why women can become good kayakers.

"I just try to kayak as much as I can," he added. "And it’s a fun way to see the world."

Scott Ewen