From the Mag | Water Warriors | Victor Myers

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From the Mag | Water Warriors | Victor Myers

Paddlers making a difference in the ecosystem

By Eugene Buchanan

Funny, but at birth, we're not given much actual substance. Sure we receive a few treasures, like our parents and their DNA, if we're lucky, and siblings and grandmas and grandpas. But mostly, we're given things. Disposable possessions like baby pajamas and boxes of diapers and pacifiers and cute plastic objects that make cute sounds.

Often overlooked is one of the greatest gifts of all, given to each human the moment they enter the world: Earth. It's rivers and oceans and lakes are something we all share, as is the health of those waterways.

None of us can solve all of Mother Earth's problems in one sitting. But the following seven paddlers are thinking globally, and acting locally, to bring awareness to important water problems in their areas.

If ever there was a grassroots SUP environmentalist, it's Victor Myers.
Myers, who runs Boise, Idaho's Corridor SUP & Surf Shop, moved to the Boise area three years ago for the paddling, be it kayaking the Class V North Fork of the Payette or standup paddling and surfing the new play park on the Boise River a stone's throw from his store. Guiding sea kayak and river trips for 10 years beforehand in Alaska and Belize created a deeply rooted environmental ethos in him.

"You appreciate the importance of conservation and preservation when working in such pristine environments," he says. "I also tried to spread that word to our clients."

Myers has also developed a knack and hankering for building bio-fuel vehicles. So far he's built 15 such rigs for clients and friends.

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He practices what he preaches in Boise, where he operates a 2,000-square-foot retail showroom and 1,500-square-foot workshop and board-shaping bay, all built from up-cycled products. All the shuttle rigs for his outfitting and rental operations run on vegetable oil, and he spearheads several annual river cleanup initiatives. He even gives clients a four-person bike to use for their own shuttles on the Boise River. Sometimes you can see him pedaling with 12 boards atop a rickety roof-rack, making a delivery to the put-in.

But where his environmental consciousness truly shines is in his line of hand-built Corridor-branded surfboards and paddleboards. He builds all of his boards out of "re-grind" recycled EPS cores, as well as balsa and paulownia wood, finishing them with a bio-based resin. His efforts have earned him certification by the nonprofit Sustainablesurf.org. "We're trying to build the most sustainable boards we can," he says. "The catalyst for everything we do and all our shaping is based around trying to be more sustainable."

He admits that he might be pursuing it to a fault, but that's OK. If it affects his bottom line, so be it. The environment is worth way more. "We're running everything as green as humanly possible," he says, "As a business we might be kind of green to a flaw, but at the end of the day you have to feel good about what you're doing."

This Water Warrior feature originally ran in the Spring 2015 issue.

The Water Warriors continue here.