Greetings! Thanks for visiting my blog and Bio page. Please allow me a moment to introduce myself:
My name is Wesley R. Bradley. I live in Elizabethton, Tennessee, in the good ole U.S. of A. I have lived here my entire life and I love this region. I went to school in the Happy Valley School system - Elementary through High School (Class of 1999). I attended College at Northeast State (Class of 2001) and East Tennessee State University (Class of 2004). I have an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Drafting Design Technology and Bachelor of Science in Digital Media with an emphasis in Architectural Design Graphics. I’m an architectural designer and project manager by weekday at Design Build Construction, LLC and an outdoor adventurer any other time I can get out. I cherish every moment I get to spend outdoors and on the river!
I was very active in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs in my youth, with my dad serving as an adult leader. I continued with the program throughout high school and reached Eagle Scout rank in 1998. I credit the Scouting Program for many of the skills that I use on a day-to-day basis. I have attended and been an active member of First United Methodist Church of Elizabethton my entire life. I love my church family and our many ministries!
One of the greatest loves in my life is the great outdoors. I have many outdoor related hobbies which include: mountain biking, road biking, alpine skiing, hiking, camping, backpacking, mountaineering and whitewater kayaking. Whitewater kayaking is my greatest passion! I learned to paddle when I was 12 years old through the Whitewater Kayaking I and II programs at Buffalo Mountain Camp. This was my first taste of kayaking on the lower Nolichucky, French Broad, and Nantahala Rivers.
I returned to the sport in 2000, when I had saved enough money to support a kayaking habit. I quickly became engrossed with the sport and could not get enough of it while in college. However, I had a rather slow progression due to the lack of paddling buddies. I quickly found that without a network of paddlers I would not be able to safely progress. My mission developed from this experience and I focused on uniting the paddling community in my area and enabling boaters to safely progress with their skills and connect with others who have similar goals.
I have been very fortunate to have a partnership with Jackson Kayak since 2006. I am now a Regional Team Member for JK and they supply me with a fleet of kayaks for people to demo in my region. Check out The J.A.W. webpage for more details about the Jackson Action Wagon.
I am also the World Kayak Ambassador for the Tri-Cities Region. My volunteer duties include posting regional news and events for the Tri-Cities Region on the World Kayak website. I also organize and host grassroots paddling events and competitions sponsored by World Kayak throughout our region. I have a lot of fun with this initiative and enjoy volunteering my time to get folks together for some paddling fun through competition!
I take pleasure in educating folks about kayaking. I teach basic kayaking skills at the Freedom Hall Pool on most Tuesday nights in Johnson City, TN. I also serve as the Cruise Director for my local paddling club, Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, where I lead many club paddling trips for all skill levels. I also hold creeking and winter paddling clinics throughout the year and assist with SWR courses. I also enjoy working with local Boy Scout Troops to help them earn their kayaking awards and merit badges.
I am a confident class IV-V boater and enjoy all aspects of kayaking, though my creeking and downriver racing are my two favorite facets of the sport. I am lucky enough to live just 30 minutes from several of the best boof-filled steep runs in the Southeast, with two of my favorites being the class IV-V Watauga Gorge and Laurel Fork of the Doe. In addition to boofing, I love to go fast! Many evenings during race season you can find me doing attainments on the Lower Watauga River. I’ve raced in many events on the Nantahala, Ocoee and Nolichucky Rivers. The Watauga Gorge Race and Lord of the Fork Race are two of my favorite events because both of these runs involve steep creeking. I don’t ever plan on winning a major downriver race event, due to my weekend warrior nature, but I can guarantee I’m having just as much fun racing as the guy who gets to stand on top of the podium. That’s what racing is really all about for me – the personal challenge and sense of accomplishment (2 Timothy 4:7). I look forward to trying the prestigious Green Race at high noon on the first Saturday in November … when I am ready!
My greatest achievement in kayaking was finding my wife, Jennifer! We met at a pool session back in 2007 and it was love at first sight for me. After a year and a half with many adventures together, we said our “I do’s” to each other on the banks of Quarter Mile Rapid in the Nolichucky Gorge. Over five years have passed since that date and we continue to have many grand outdoor adventures together. She is always challenging me with a competitive spirit and is always there to pick me up when I crash. Jennifer is truly the greatest blessing in my life.
I am a member of the following paddling clubs and/or organizations:
- American Whitewater (2004-Present)
- Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (2006-Present) Currently serving as Club Cruise Director Officer
- Paddlers for Christ – P4C (2005-Present)
Current teams, industry sponsors/pro partners:
- Team Jackson Kayak (Whitewater Regional Team) – http://jacksonkayak.com/
- Orion Coolers (Pro Staff) – http://store.orioncoolers.com/
- Tri-Cities World Kayak Ambassador – http://worldkayak.com/
- BRO Athlete Team – http://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/
- Chaco – http://www.chacos.com/US/en
- Immersion Research – http://www.immersionresearch.com/
- Kokatat – http://kokatat.com/
- Mitchell Paddles – http://www.mitchellpaddles.com/
- Astral Buoyancy Company – http://www.astraldesigns.com/index.php
I hope to see you on the river and have a nice day!
Wesley’s Kayaking Media Exposure & Awards
Sunday, January 13, 2008 – Elizabethton Star Article:
Sunday, February 3, 2008 – Elizabethton Star Lifestyles Story:
Friday, July 17, 2009 – Elizabethton Star Sports Story:
January/Feburary, 2011 – American Whitwater Journal ”It Takes Two to Tandem” Love Story:
Sunday, March 29, 2015 – Elizabethton Star Outdoors Story: