Kent Ford

2008 Inductee- International Whitewater Hall of Fame, Advocate

2015 Legends of Paddling Award- American Canoe Association, for legendary contributions to paddlesport

Kent Ford's highly acclaimed books, videos and instruction have made him one ofkent the most recognized paddlers in paddlesport worldwide. Kent's unique background includes twenty years of international whitewater racing and coaching, combined with similar experience teaching recreational boating to all levels of paddlers. His eighteen dvds, videos, and books on paddlesports have influenced the education of half a million paddlers.

As an instructor trainer, Kent provides paddlers and prospective instructors a framework for better understanding paddling technique, theory, and safety.  These observations are adapted from the same training regimens and analyis utilized by World Champion freestyle and slalom competitors.  It is all shared in an invigorating class atmosphere, designed to so everyone in the group is able to contribute and flourish.

Kent's paddling resume includes ten years as an instructor and several as manager for the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which is the largest canoe/kayak school in the World. A member of the U.S. Whitewater Team nearly every year between 1977 and 1993, Kent posted several top 7 finishes in World Championships and was twice World Champion in C-1 slalom team. He worked as the public address announcer at the five Olympics and several World Championships. Kent has worked as an assistant coach for the Whitewater Slalom World Championships and as head Coach for the US Junior Team.

kentKent is the technical producer of eighteen instructional books and videos known worldwide as the best instructional videos in outdoor sports. These include: The Kayak Roll, The River Runner's Edge, Performance Sea Kayaking, Whitewater Self Defense, Solo Playboating!, and Performance Mountain Biking.

A veteran of over 330 rivers in 27 countries, Kent has been a member of expeditions to the Soviet Union, Costa Rica, Turkey, and Mexico.  Kent has served on the governing boards of the American Canoe Association, American Whitewater, San Juan Citizen Alliance, and launched the highly successful Green Business Roundtable in his own community.

Kent holds a BS. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and resides in Durango, Colorado.


“On the river and off, you would be pressed to find a single individual from the canoe/kayak world that has more positively affected people's participation in the sport. As an ambassador, decorated instructor, announcer, and video producer, he genuinely connects with people from every corner of the paddlesports industry and is always found as a part of any effort that brings the sport together.” Joe Jacobi, Color Analyst, Canoe/Kayak, NBC Olympics

Inductee- International Whitewater Hall of Fame  (2008)


1990 on- Producer for Performance Video. Responsible for the education of tens of thousands of paddlers worldwide.

1998 pro-bono Producer Animas La Plata- At What Cost Video expose of Bureau of Reclamation Dam project. Partially responsible for downsizing the project by 2/3. Led multiple lobbying trips from Colorado to DC.

2002 pro-bono Producer Dolores River Video advocating better balance in flow regime in Dolores River

2003 Board of Directors San Juan Citizens Alliance. Helped initiate Water Program, including hire of one staff member for river protection.

2000 Producer of Whitewater Self Defense... a whitewater safety training film that considerably contributed to the advancement of understanding of whitewater safety techniques.

1989 - present Public Address Announcer at World Championships, World Cups, and Olympics. Coordinating Music, scoreboards, announcing for spectator enjoyment. Frequently invited to foreign venues to announce major events. Athens Greece Olympic Venue frequently cited as "hip", sold out every day.

2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens Pioneered use of wireless microphone to do Olympic Whitewater Foreruns for spectator enhancement

2005 Organizer Whitewater Symposium (Founding Participant) The Whitewater Symposium is a three-day annual event that seeks to advance the sport of whitewater kayaking through bringing top paddlers, industry representatives, instructors and program leaders together.

Whitewater Organization Advocacy:
Founder, Three Rivers Paddling Club,
Pittsburgh Concrete Canoe Collegiate Champion,1978-80 for Carnegie-Mellon Team
American Whitewater Longtime member and supporter
American Canoe Association Life Member,former member Board of Directors (3 years)
USA Canoe Kayak,former member board of Directors (6 years)
ACA SEIC Chairman 4 years
1980 John Fitts Award for contributions to paddlesports in Pennsylvania, Three Rivers Paddling Club
2005 William Nealy Award for contributions to visual arts of paddling, Bluegrass Whitewater
First Descents: Animas unrunnable gorge, Colorado, Moctazuma River, Mexico

Articles/Books Written:ACA/ US Coast Guard Video Productions National Paddlesport Safety System Sea Kayaking National Paddlesport Safety System Rafting National Paddlesport Safety System Whitewater Kayak Quickstart your Kayak Quickstart your Canoe Kayaking for Whitewater and Sea,Human Kinetics Press, 1994 Paddler Magazine Technique Contributor 1999-2004 Canoe Magazine Technique Contributor 1985-87 Watermark Sports Owners Manual educational DVD distributed in every Perception/Dagger kayak 2005-2006

COMPETITIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: A member of the U.S. Whitewater Team almost every year between 1977 and 1995, Kent often finished in the top 7 in World Championships. A three time National Champion, Kent was a two time World Champion in C-1 slalom team. This was the second time in history the same team had won twice. 1983, 1985 World Champion C-1 Slalom Team 1979 Silver Medal World Championship Team Downriver C-1 1977 National Champion C-1 Slalom 1983 National Champion C-2 Slalom