Southeast Gradient Showdown

The Premier Creeking Competition

Committee Bios

Justin Benton – SGS Event Manager & Committee Member:

I started kayaking when I was 12 as a means to avoid playing Cricket. As the years progressed I drifted away from the sport in the pursuit of my career. Thankfully I was brought back to it and my life was forever changed. It took me about 6 months in the midwest to decide to venture to greener pastures and now make my home in Asheville NC. Now that I’m here and the drought might just be over (fingers crossed) I’ve been exploring the local rivers and charging up as many days on the water as possible. I love running rivers in most every capacity from goofing off down the Ocoee to pushing my mental and physical game on the Green

Jeff West – SGS Committee Member:

I love kayaking! I love everything about the sport. My favorites are boofing drops, flying off of waterfalls and sharing amazing moments with good friends. We are so lucky to live in the southeast and have access to these amazing creeks. In recent years my personal kayaking goal has become pursuing the Vertical Mile (dropping at least 5,280 feet of gradient in a single day). Fortunately, I have managed four of these and I hope for at least four more. Use this gradient competition to set and pursue your own goals. Go paddle from sunrise to sunset for a day and see if you don’t love it.

Geoff Kohl – SGS Committee Member:

Geoff Kohl has been paddling whitewater since 1994 and creeking has always been a part of his DNA. He started paddling whitewater while living on the cumberland plateau of Tenn and 15 yrs later, he hangs out his gear to dry in the rural community of Crooked Creek NC, where he and his wife Jennifer wrestle with the problems of a serious paddling addiction. An American Whitewater member and veteran of the former TVF creeking competition, He’s not afraid to lay down night laps on Wilson at -9 all in the name of cold, wet, unknown glory… even though he’d always prefer to be on his home run, the Upper Rocky broad river.

Brian Pickett – SGS Committee Member:

I have been a whitewater kayaker for six years. My favorite rivers are the Green Narrows, Wautaga Gorge, Wilson Creek, Lower Big Creek and Little (Smokies). I have participated in TVF for the past two years and look forward to the new Southeast Gradient Showdown. Shoulder surgery has taken me out of the competition this year but I look forward to helping with the competition and reading all the details from the sideline.

Rob Hurst – SGS Committee Member:

I’ve been paddling for 9 years. Im originally from Clemson SC, but it wasn’t until I moved to Northern Virginia that I first picked up a paddle. The first three years of my paddling life were spent in the Mather Gorge of the Potomic River. After some time in Colorado and back in South Carolina, I now live in Brevard, NC. Where I just finished my degree at Brevard College in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Leadership. I find as much time to paddle as I can on rivers such as the Green River Narrows, West Fork of the French Broad and countless other Transylvania county creeks.

Wesley R. Bradley – SGS Event Coordinator:

Check out my bio with this link: