Lee Johnson, Travelin’ Man

Amabassador Lee paddles BC Canada
Location: Vancouver, B.C.

  • Models paddled: All AdvancedFrame models, AirFusion, AirFusion Elite and AirFusion EVO, Lagoon 1, and PackLite Kayak.
  • Water that he paddles: Lakes, Coastal/Ocean, Bays and Estuaries, Slow moving rivers.
  • What he uses his yaks for: Travel, Bird Watching, Daily Paddling.
Lee grew up on a chain of lakes in Minnesota and learned how to use a variety of watercraft from his earliest years: canoes, rowboats, sailboats, and powerboats, especially for water-skiing. Most of his life, though, has been spent in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, right on English Bay where he uses his Advanced Elements kayaks on the ocean. Besides salt water, he enjoys lakes and rivers of all sorts, thanks to the fact that his AE kayaks are so portable and almost demand to be used anywhere there is water. Lee has paddled the following kayaks: West Marine Skedaddle, West Marine AF 1, AE Lagoon, AE Expedition, AE AirFusion Original, AE AirFusion Elite, AE PackLite, and a 17'6" hard-shell. He is currently 'down' to five kayaks: Lagoon, AFX, Elite, hard-shell, and PackLite. Lee's favorite water-haunts are mountain lakes in British Columbia, surrounded by snowy peaks: they look like Norwegian fjords and seem to evoke his Scandinavian heritage. Birds and Nature generally are his main interests in his exploration of waterways.

Favorite AE Story:
On English Bay in Vancouver, when strong gale-force winds arise, a strange breed of folk called kite-boarders put on their dry suits and clip their parachute-like sails to their belts. On one such day, I was out in my AFX (Expedition); in fact, I was the only kayaker out in those wild conditions. I saw a kite-boarder's head bobbing about in 4'-5' waves, more than a mile from shore. I battled the elements and reached a young woman who said she was losing feeling in her legs. Even a dry suit will not stave off hypothermia. She was able to hang onto the stern of my AFX, though (better than having her go under at the end of my two-rope). We had to go cross-wise in the wave troughs and crests to get to shore, rocking dangerously; and, when we were a couple of blocks from safety, two of her friends ran, fully-clothed, into the waves to grab her. I paddled back out to sea, draped the kite-board across my kayak, and returned it to the little crowd at the shoreline. I then continued my day's paddling session out beyond Point Grey (after dismissing the gratitude of "Karen's" friends on shore). It is a rescue that probably would not have worked with my 17'6" sea kayak, which would have rolled excessively with a person twisting around on the stern in those wave-troughs, crests, and undertows. Only the AFX's exceptional primary or initial stability made possible this type of rescue without unduly endangering the rescuer as well!