Introducing the Dagger Pro Team
Todd Wells has been paddling since he was 12 years old and learned to paddle on the White Salmon, Klickitat, and Little White Salmon Rivers in Southern Washington. Today, you can find Todd paddling his Supernova, Vanguard, and Phantom Dagger kayaks. He enjoys sharing stories from challenging whitewater expeditions through film, photography, public speaking presentations, and written articles. Exploratory paddling is his focus, but he enjoys racing and using his kayak as a vessel to explore wild places. When paddling whitewater, Todd feels a sense of humility and acceptance that he is traveling with a force far stronger than his own.
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Kristy resides in Seattle, Washington and enjoys spending her time surfing in beautiful places and exploring rugged, salty coastlines with rock gardens.
She has been paddling Dagger kayaks and a part of the team for the past 5 seasons. The Dagger Stratos 14.5S kayak and Sweet Rocker helmet always accompany her when she is out on the water. One piece of advice that Kristy likes to stick to is: If you're feeling stuck when you are in your paddling progression, return to the basics and master them— make hard moves in easy conditions. When Kristy is not kayaking, she enjoys cooking delicious meals, drawing and enjoying the sunshine.
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Santiago Sandoval is a 26 year old paddler born in Pucon, Chile. He works at Rivers Lakes Oceans, which is one of the biggest kayak shops in South America. Outside of work, he is passionate about kayaking and exploring the beautiful rivers in the Araucania Region, home to some of the finest and most amazing runs in the world. When on the water, he loves the feeling of everything else vanishing off his mind. Spending time around rivers allows Santiago to sit back and appreciate life all around. He believes that rivers are the essence of life.
On his white water adventures, you will find Santiago aboard the Dagger Phantom accompanied by his all time favorite On-Tap dry bag. Now entering his third year of being on Team Dagger, he looks forward to paddling new and progressive boat designs that will help improve his skills and unlock new opportunities on the river.
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Sage, a 22 year old from Carson City, Nevada, has been a Dagger Pro Team member for the last 3 seasons. As long as she could remember, Sage has been paddling. When she was two years old, she and her father went kayaking together around the US in a tandem kayak. After that adventure, her parents put her in her own boat and her career took off from there!
Over the course of her career, Sage has placed first in the 2021 North Fork Championships, the 2021 Lord of the Fork, and the 2021 Green Race. She also achieved the highest female descent. of Big Falls (1,380 cfs) and Selway Falls (over 9,000 cfs).
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Balancing her work as a paramedic, working wildland fire lines, and professional kayaking, Adriene Levknecht is spreading her stoke for life is at the core of who she is. Adriene grew up in Grand Rapids, MI but now calls Greenville, SC home. Although she has been a Dagger Pro Team for seven years, Adriene is always looking to learn something new. She says that “if you have stopped learning, do something to change it and always keep growing”.
Adriene adores paddling the Vanguard, as it allows her to be present at all moments and helps bring out the happiness in her. 13-time Green Race Champion, bronze medal at 2013 Freestyle Kayaking Worlds, Ultimate Mountain Challenge winner x2 at GoPro Games, 2017 US National Freestyle Kayaking Champion, and many other downriver race wins in this long career of hers.
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For 13 years, Brendan, native of Palmer, AK, has poured blood, sweat, and tears into Team Dagger. Brendan loves any river he’s on, whether it's a steep class V or a week-long multi-day trip. In recent years, he’s become obsessed with exploring the wild and gigantic state of Alaska, particularly by bush plane with a kayak strapped to the belly.
Brendan is loyal to his Dagger Phantom kayak and uses his On-Tap drybag everyday. Some of Brendan’s best friendships were formed through the highs and lows of traveling the world, bushwhacking and working hard to paddle rewarding whitewater.
Through his time on Team Dagger, he’s grateful for the experiences he’s had placing well in Class V races around the world, mentoring new paddlers, and inspiring others with media focused on exploratory missions and traveling to remote corners of the earth.
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Scott Dahlquist, a Dagger pro team member for 4 years, grew up in Southern California playing in the coastal surf. Now, you can find him in the Puget Sound area pursuing an ocean-centric life. He is an enthusiastic kayaking instructor with an ACA L5 certification for Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayaking and BC Core. When he’s out on the water, you can find him kayaking the Dagger Stratos 14.5 S paired with his Sweet Rocker helmet. Scott’s passion for kayaking is at the core of his persona and he is excited about sharing his expertise with anyone who wants to learn to paddle.
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Johnny Chase grew up in Kernville, CA and started his journey as a paddler his freshman year of high school. Since then, he’s been hooked. The sport has taken Johnny to six out of the seven continents and has given him incredible friendships and experiences. For the past 3 years, Johnny has been a part of Team Dagger and hopes to continue growing his paddling career and pushing himself to achieve more for the sport that he loves.
Johnny’s favorite part about whitewater kayaking is the friendships he's formed through the sport as well as the places the sport has allowed him to visit. When in his kayak, Johnny feels most at peace, as he is always surrounded by the people and places he loves most.
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A native of Richmond, VA, Isaac Hull started kayaking when he was 8 years old on the James River. His career started off as a playboater and then his passion shifted to creeking in his early teens. Now, Isaac is a student at Virginia Tech where he trains in the gym and local rivers to stay in shape.
Isaac’s favorite aspects about whitewater kayaking are the people you meet and the places you go. He believes that there is no sport that is more welcoming, as complex and diverse, or takes you to the deepest, most remote cracks in the earth. Whitewater kayaking offers Isaac endless opportunities for exploration, trying new rivers, learning new tricks, or having a fun day on a local stretch of river.
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Logan Smith is a 21 year old from Sacramento, CA who has been a part of Team Dagger for four years. Logan has spent the last 14 years paddling some of the most sought-after whitewater in the world and is grateful to be part of the kayaking community. His Dagger Code kayak and On-Tap 15L Drybag are necessities when he takes trips to paddle rivers and waterfalls.
One of Logan's most memorable moments aboard his kayak is when he and 6 other of his friends did a multi-day trip down the Karnali river in the Himalayas of Nepal.
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For the past 15 years, kayaking has been a major part of Hunter Cooper’s life, a Long Creek, SC native. He’s been fortunate enough to paddle all over the United States in different rivers and has spent the last 3 years teaching whitewater kayaking. Hunter values whitewater kayaking as it is something that he can do with all of his close family and friends. Some of Hunter’s top kayak picks are the Dagger Nova and Supernova whitewater kayaks.
Having finished top 10 at the Green River Narrows and Lord of the Fork Races are accomplishments Hunter is proud of. He hopes to continue to integrate his passion for paddling into racing, instruction and creative time on the river.
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As a child, Bobby Miller was an avid canoeist with his father and developed his passion for the river. Bobby began kayaking at the age of 12 on the Potomac River and quickly fell in love with whitewater kayaking. Now, his kayak focus is mainly racing, instruction, family trips, and class V steep creeks. Living in West Virginia provides Bobby with ample opportunities to challenge himself in all aspects of his kayaking journey.
In over 30 years of kayaking, the most rewarding aspect of being a part of Team Dagger is continuing to evolve as a kayaker, finding new ways to challenge himself, and finding enjoyment on the water. His motto is to never let your fear of the unknown prevent you from meeting the challenge you have prepared yourself to undertake!
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Galen Volckhausen, a 27 years old White Salmon, Washington native was first taught how to kayak in a pond when he was about three years old. Since that day, he has discovered his profound passion for kayaking. Today his focus in kayaking is to have fun with my friends, explore wild places, and push his mental and physical boundaries to the limit. Galen’s appreciation for the water, and the wilderness, is seen as therapy for him. He loves the adrenaline intensity that comes with whitewater paddling.
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Anna Levesque is an Asheville, NC native and is passionate about helping people cultivate mental agility, courage, and confidence through whitewater paddling. This sport is one that Anna truly cherishes as it gets her out of her comfort zone and challenges her to be courageous. When she is teaching, the Rewind is her go-to Dagger kayak, but when she’s out on the water for some fun or for races, the Nova and the Code are her boats of choice.
Anna believes that freedom comes from discipline and she has rooted this motto at the center of her paddling career.
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Adam Edwards, born in Portland, OR, started kayaking in his early 20s and has been a member of Team Dagger for two years. After starting his paddling journey, he dedicated a good amount of his time to kayak instruction. Adam enjoys the variety of classic whitewater he has access to in Portland, OR and the Pacific Northwest. He’s also passionate about creating media to share with people who may not be able to experience whitewater kayaking first hand. Along with this, Adam finds a lot of enjoyment trying to make paddlesports more accessible to a more diverse group of individuals.
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Naomi Elyard, from Trout Lake, WA, began paddling at the age of 14. She grew up right next to the White Salmon River where she was fortunate enough to paddle almost everyday after school and throughout the summer. Since then, kayaking has integrated Naomi’s passions of traveling, giving back to the local youth, and shaping the next generation of paddlers. Over the last four years, she has been working to develop a kids kayaking club in the Gorge and hopes to create easy access to the river for all kids living near the Columbia River.
Naomi’s Nova kayak and Dagger helmet accompany her on all of her whitewater adventures. Naomi is going on three years being a part of Team Dagger and looks forward to all the places and people she will meet this upcoming season. Her favorite thing about kayaking is the places it takes you and the people you meet along the way. River canyons are a very special place, full of inspiration and wonder.
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Ava Christensen, born in Boone, NC, is currently a student at Appalachian State University where she is fortunate to have a variety of whitewater in her backyard. Ava started her paddling journey when she was 9 years old and crafted her skills at the US National Whitewater Center as well as the Ottawa River. She attended World Class Kayak Academy for two years which gave her lots of opportunities to paddle around the world and helped spark her love for chasing new rivers. Since then, she has been making a couple rallies out west, and paddling in foreign destinations like Ecuador and Zambia. Ava’s favorite aspect of the sport is that there is always something to work towards, whether that be a new river or trick. Catch Ava out on the water in her Dagger Small Code and Dagger x Sweet Protection Helmet this season!
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Joe, more commonly known as "Toad" grew up in Long Creek, SC on the Chattooga River where he went slicey boating regularly. Now, Toad spends his days living in White Salmon, Washington where he enjoys the consistent paddling opportunities and trains on challenging drops. His favorite Dagger kayak is the new Vanguard because it is perfect for long overnighters and passing all of your friends who are still paddling creekboats.
As Toad draws on a year of being part of Team Dagger, he is excited to see where his whitewater kayaking career takes him next and is grateful to be surrounded by water– the place he feels truly at home.
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Mary was raised in Long Creek, SC but now resides in White Salmon, WA. She has been out on the river since she was 3 years old and grew up around boating on the Chattooga River. She loves exploratory kayaking, waterfalls, and sunny days in a full slice. To Mary, kayaking is all about having fun, pushing herself, traveling, and spending time with friends. She has been a Dagger Pro Team member team four seasons now and being part of the team has given her the opportunity to travel, explore, spend time with friends, and submerge herself in new places and cultures. She always finds ways to push herself out of her comfort zone, and strives to improve every day that she is on the water.
Catch Mary in the Dagger Medium Rewind. for most of her runs and the Medium Code for overnighters and stout rivers.
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Issac Martinez is from Jalcomulco, Mexico and has been kayaking since he was 13 years old. He grew up in Veracruz Mexico, which allowed him to paddle and learn on various rivers in the area. Since then, Issac has traveled around San Luis Potosi, Chiapas and to other countries. He enjoys playboating and half slicing, but his favorite part of kayaking is free falling off waterfalls. His reminder to fellow whitewater paddlers is to visualize your moves and have a backup plan before running a stout.
Issac has been a part of Team Dagger for two years and takes on the waters in the Medium Rewind.
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Spencer Beck is from Southern Utah and grew up rafting with his family on the rivers of the American Southwest. He started kayaking when he was 17 years old and moved to Washington state shortly after. Spencer found his niche in the sport in waterfall running and expedition kayaking. He loves traveling and chasing big first descents and hopes to keep pushing himself in these areas as he finds new rivers to explore. Spencer appreciates all the places that paddling has taken him, as he would have never discovered these hidden gems if he hadn't started kayaking. Having an international community of paddlers willing to join in expeditions or help out any way they can has also been a highlight, and he recognizes that he has met many of his best friends through paddling.
As a new member of the Dagger Pro Team, he’s excited to put his Rewind and the On-Tap Drybag to good use this season.
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Olivia McGinnis, a long time kayaker, is 21 years old and from Alpharetta, GA and loves all types of kayaking from freestyle to creeking. When she’s not kayaking, she’s either doing CrossFit or school work. Olivia is currently working towards her Bachelors in Kinesiology so she so she can help others achieve active and healthy lifestyles through paddling.
The lifelong friendships that Olivia has made through whitewater kayaking enables her to spend time in beautiful places that she wouldn’t be able to enjoy otherwise.
Although she is one of the younger Team Dagger members, she’s had notable achievements including placing in the Top 10 Women’s Freestyle World Championships in 2022 as well as podium finishes at the Russell Fork Race.
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Tara Blair, from Frederick, MD, started kayaking her freshman year of college and has spent a majority of her free time in a kayak since. She loves slicing, creeking, waterfall running, longboating and recently dabbled in some big-wave surfing. What Tara appreciates most about this sport is the people she meets and the places she gets to see. She adores the paddling community and the ability to constantly learn and grow in this sport.
Tara serves as the Vice President of the Great Falls Foundation and is the First Female descent of the Mosier Spillway. She’s a fan of all of Dagger’s current line-up, especially the Vanguard, M Rewind, Nova and Supernova, and M Code.
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