Spencer Lacy, an archetype of van life, river life and the good life. Photo: Seth Warren

The SUP Lifestyle: Spencer Lacy

"I haven't taken a shower in two weeks but I've been in the river everyday so I don't smell too bad," Spencer Lacy tells me, presumably from his $1,500, 1992 Toyota Previa Minivan, which is his home.

When I spoke with him, the 24-year-old pro river paddler was only a few weeks into his summer of #vanlife, traveling from river to river, hitting all the competitions he can and surfing every standing wave in his path. The Boulder, Colorado native will spend as much time as possible paddling on the rio for the next five months.

"I absolutely love living on the road," he says. "I did it last summer for the first time and it was the best thing I've ever done."

Lacy started spending time on the river with his father Gary and older brother Mason when he was five. From then on, summers were filled with raft trips and kayaking, especially since Gary is the president of Recreation Engineering and Planning (REP), a company dedicated to building whitewater parks around the country (Lacy, who has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, worked there this summer to save up funds for his summer trip).

A few years ago, one of the project managers at REP and co-founder of Badfish SUP, Mike Harvey, introduced Lacy to standup.

"I immediately liked it," Lacy says. "It came naturally because I had so much experience on the river."

Lacy started standup paddling more and more and has since gone on to win whitewater competitions such as Tuckfest in North Carolina and complete pioneering whitewater missions like his six-day, 226-mile, self-supported SUP descent of the Grand Canyon in late 2014.

This year, he's planning on competing in the Colorado events (GoPro Mountain Games, FIBArk, etc.), surfing as many waves as possible (heading as far as Skookumchuck in British Columbia) and pioneering some fresh whitewater stretches.

"People always ask me if I get lonely on the road," he says. "But the highlight of the whole thing is meeting new people from the whitewater community. They open up their homes to me and they get to know me through paddling. They let me use their showers too." —Will Taylor


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