Staff Spotlight: Steve Allen

Staff Spotlight: Steve Allen

1.  What/who first drew you to employment at Zoar? What was the interview process like?

I found out about Zoar Outdoor from someone working at the Central Rock climbing gym. I had about 5 years of kayaking instructing experience and needed a job for the summer so I dropped in to get an application to become a kayak instructor. I was working out in Arizona selling fossils when I got an email from Janet to schedule an interview. The interview went well, Janet and I hit it off, but I could tell that she was looking for more official credentials than I had to offer. Fortunately, she took me under her kayaking wing and before long, I had some ACA cred.

2.  We do a lot of training during the summer, what were some highlights for you last year?

Time is a valuable resource. I spend a lot of time on the Deerfield and in my kayak. For the past two years I have been training myself to better apricate and enjoy my kayaking experiences and the ZOAR community in general. Sometimes that means diving into kayaking technique and pushing my limits, but more often it involves managing my goals and mindset. I try to incorporate this focus into my instruction. In a sport that sometimes-become ego driven, it’s important to reinforce the fact that everyone enjoys the sport in their own way. In the end its just about being safe and enjoying the river.

3.  Who has been a special mentor/inspiration to your paddling?

I often draw inspiration from beginners. Whitewater kayaking can be a tuff nut to crack. It’s impossible to watch someone break into the sport and not be inspired.

4.  Your teaching skills were developed before starting at Zoar, what is life like outside of paddling?

Dry.

5.  What is a favorite teaching or Zoar moment from the summer?

I was on a 5-day novice clinic up at summer falls with a student who just would not quit. On day 3 they were on a mission to surf the big wave. They had at least 15 swims. With each one they became more motivated to try again. Motivation is the currency for acquiring any new skill. I felt like I was witnessing the ignition point of a very fruitful kayaking career.

6.  Can you share a favorite staff event memory?

I really enjoyed the trip up to Penobscot/Kennebec last year. I wasn’t going to go and got talked into it at the last moment. It was a great trip and I really enjoyed myself.

7.  What is your dream paddling destination?

I’m not picky. Its more about the weather and the company than the destination.

8.  What piece of kayaking apparel would you never give up? Five essentials excluded.

Long sleeve sun protective rash guard.

9.  If you could be like any pro kayaker who would you want to be like?

I don’t really follow pro-kayaking. Obviously, I would love to have the skills and athletic abilities of anyone from the professional kayaking community. More often than not, feel the that elite level extreme sports professionals have a knack for making really bad decisions.

10.  Zoar has a vast set of core values, can you speak to one that identifies strongly with you?

I’m a fan of #1: “We create experiences that enhance the lives of our guests, our staff and our community…”In my opinion, this is what it’s all about. In my opinion, the other 9 core values speak to how ZOAR interprets and plans to accomplish the first.