James Schimizu


DOB: July 26th,1995

Natural habitat: Extreme Whitewater (K1)

Nationality: USA


Career Highlights:

4th Descent of Palouse Falls in Washington

joining Team Waka Kayaks

waterfalls and ldub laps!


James, you started kayaking pretty late, how did it happen? 

Before I started kayaking I did a lot of biking, and in the Summer of 2014 I did a cross country trip from Denver Colorado to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. My plan was to go to the Park, spend some time there and turn around and go back to Colorado but I decided to continue north to Glacier National Park in Montana where I stayed.

I did not have a car yet in the United States so I biked everywhere and hitchhiked for transportation. One day while hitchhiking that winter I got picked up by a raft guide from Kernville California, We then became friends and despite me never having even gone rafting before he got me a job that following summer at a raft company right outside of Glacier National Park. I then discovered kayaking that summer and four years later it continues to dictate the course of my life.


What was your best experience in kayaking?

One day of kayaking that stands out in my mind was my first time down the Little White. My friend Will Hartman showed me down.


What do you like about kayaking?

I kayak because it is what I am most passionate about. The flow state of focus and calm that I experience while running hard whitewater is unmatched by any other activities that I have done. When you leave the last eddy above a big rapid and have past the point of no return all that is left is you and the river, all the troubles of life go away and you are left staring at the truth.


Who has influenced you the most in kayaking? 

Gonzo! He convinced me to come out to White Salmon, Washington in 2015 to see what it was like. I've now been here for 4 years.


Have you ever run anything you shouldn't have? 

Absolutely, I have learned lessons and been humbled by these experiences.


What are your favorite rivers?

 Little White Salmon River in Washington, Ashlu River in Squamish BC, Callaghan River in Whistler BC.


What are your goals and plans for the future?

I want to continue to push my limits and the limits of what is possible in a kayak. This coming season I want to focus more on big water but at the same time continuing to run waterfalls and just having fun with my friends on the river. I would like to spend some quality time at the Stikine next season.


Who is the best kayaker in the world?

Noah Weaver!


Who do you like to follow on IG?

@charge_arc, @fear_and_boating, @shredwardd.