SUP Groms | Miles T. Harvey | The Future of River SUP
By Paul Clark
Miles Harvey is a spawn of the river. At age two he was sitting between his dad’s legs kayaking at his hometown Salida Whitewater Park in Colorado. By four he was paddling his own kayak. At eight he was standing up through rapids on a paddleboard. Now, at the ripe age of 13, Miles is a sponsored river paddleboarder competing against adults at river games and festivals.
Miles’ prowess on the river translates into a keen and sociable ambassador of the sport off the water. I met Miles at trade shows last year. I was impressed by how sociable and upbeat he was. It’s always pleasant to meet young people who know how to talk to adults and do more than stare into their digital devices. He's the youngest member of Team Badfish and works at a kayak shop; I guess he’s learned quickly how to hang with diverse groups of people. He tells me he doesn’t like video games. He’d rather paddle or skate than sit drifting into virtual reality.
This year at the Payette River Games, I finally got to spend time with Miles on the water. He appears to be an innocent little guy, but he’s able to stand tall with some of the biggest talents in the business. He competed in both the Elite Men’s and Junior Divisions, tying for first-place in the Junior, which lead to an exciting head-to-head race off with Noa Hopper who is a head taller and few years older. Though he ended up second in that, he faired very well against the stacked field of competitive adults. His strategy? "When I am racing against adults who are stronger than me," he says, "I hang back and wait for them to make mistakes." Given that so many of the paddlers went for broke at PRG15, Miles was regularly in good position to stick the whitewater runs when more experienced ocean paddlers flushed down course.
Miles' favorite thing about paddling is river surfing because it gives him creative outlets to express himself and make up new tricks. Racing is fun, he says, because he likes competition and pushing himself, but he looks forward to traveling more and free paddling. He suspects river SUP will become more popular once people discover that standup is more than surf and flatwater. Though he cannot predict where SUP is heading, he is excited to be at the forefront of the growing sport and lifestyle.
Miles is sponsored by many of the industry's top brands, and as his talent progresses, so does his support. Look out for this little guy now. Chances are, he's going to be huge in the future.
Follow @miles_t_harvey on Instagram
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Featured image courtesy of Paul Clark