New to the crew Jair “Bear” Cruikshank comes from a background of backpacking in the northeast and a competitive running career through high school into College at UMass Amherst. After realizing he didn’t want to run competitively anymore he joined the UMass Outing Club and took up kayaking. Jair started guiding on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts when he was 19. His first experience in a kayak involved flipping upside down, hitting a rock with his face, and getting seven stitches above his right eye. It was love at first flip.
After a season in Massachusetts he headed to Alaska to guide rafts and sea kayaks. Then he came back to UMass and started to run harder and harder whitewater until he was teaching new comers on the river and running class 5 rivers. He made trips to West Virginia, Canada, and New York. Another season on the Deerfield helped to solidify his guiding skills. He then graduated college with a degree in environmental science, minor in education, and a degree in fluid dynamics, aka “whitewater.”
After school he headed to Montana to guide in Glacier National Park. Then he headed to Hawaii to guide at a wilderness therapy program where he learned incredible skills and grew very patient. He also found a new love in surfing. Once finished in Hawaii, he kayaked over to New York where he guided rafts and pushed is limits in a kayak. Now he spends his winters teaching outdoor education in California to young kids who challenge and make him laugh every day. He travels far and wide to kayak on the river and in the ocean. He is currently in a trial period with Jackson Kayak to join their team, so this year he is planning on giving kayaking everything he has and having as much fun as possible. He is looking forward to teaching you what he knows and showing you the river!
Jair is also an International River Rescuer, Wilderness First Responder, certified Wildland firefighter, strong singer, and overall fun person to hang out with.
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