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You are here: Home > Community > Your Stories > Kayaking > Heather

heather herbeck kayaking

About Heather Herbeck:

Age: 33

Where I live: BZ Corners, WA (located in the Columbia River Gorge)

Where I'm from: Mankato, MN

How I got started in my sport:        
My boyfriend at the time (now husband) and his father invited me to go to the river with them and watch them kayak down some rapids.  I had NEVER seen this sport done, nor did I know it existed at that time (I was too immersed in my other sports).  After watching Nate go down these rapids in a plastic boat, I wanted to learn and do it too!  So, Nate and his dad taught me.  Soon after we were married, we moved to the Pacific Northwest, a year-round boating mecca, and have now built our lifestyles around this sport.

Athletic Achievements:        
2008 – 1st place in the Gorge Games Extreme Race
2008 – 2nd place in the Gorge Games Head – to – Head Race
2007 – 1st place in the Oregon Cup Canyon Creek Exreme Race – Pro Div
2006 – First female descent and overall 2nd descent of the Santa Domingo River, Mexico
2006 – Only female on the kayaking expedition of the Alseseca in Mexico
2006 – 1st descent of Wildboy Creek Falls, OR (
2005 - 1st place in the Oregon Cup Canyon Creek Extreme Race - Expert Division
2004 - 3rd place in the Gorge Games head-to-head
Athlete featured in many whitewater kayaking videos...

Athletic Goals:          
To challenge myself mentally and physically over the winter to place in the top 3 in the TEVA Games, the Gorge Games, and many other competitions. To push my fitness in all areas, competing in triathlons/marathons for "Athlete’s for a Cure" and "Race for the Cure" – two organizations that fight prostate cancer and breast cancer.

‘Wanting to be the best’ inspires me to train harder than the next person.

Keep it fun.  Mistakes are okay, you learn from them and get better.  Surround yourself with people who bring the best out in you.

Favorite Spot to do my sport:
I have been to so many amazing places, that I have to name a few of my favorite places: Columbia River Gorge, Southern Mexico, Wisconsin/Michigan – and not just for the whitewater, but the people are awesome!  Let’s hear it for Hurley, WI!

Favorite Girls4Sport wear:
The Pocket scarf – it’s so cuddly!
The long sleeve rashguard because I’m always on the water and it's super stylish
Beach Skirt -  In a male-dominant sport, I like to look feminine when I can!

What I do when I’m not in the water:
Spend time with my husband – we love to hang out, the two of us.
Cross train – run, lift weights, cycle
Check email – I’m an email junkie (and a facebook junkieJ)

My job:
I have been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor for about 7 years, and currently do that in White Salmon, WA and Hood River, OR.  During the summer months, I teach whitewater kayaking and raft guide on the beautiful White Salmon River.  In my spare time, I travel to universities, outdoor expos and symposiums as a motivational speaker, focusing on the topic of "The Kayaking Mindset".

B.A. Exercise Science  - Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA in 1998.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
YMCA Fitness Specialist
Wilderness First Responder
Whitewater Rescue Technician

Interesting/unusual facts about me:
None.. I’m not interesting and I’m completely normal [Ha!] I took ballet for 10 years, performing with the Oakland Ballet Company in one performance. I hated pink while I was growing up because it was "too girlie", yet now, most of my kayaking gear is pink because I want to be recognized as "being a girl". My husband and I got married 9 years ago, when he had just turned 20 – my parents were pretty upset that he was drinking champagne being under age 'n all!

heather herbeck kayaking off a waterfall
heather herbeck getting ready to kayak
heather herbeck sleeveless rashguard
heather herbeck long sleeve rashguard
heather herbeck kayaking on a lake

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