Liz Arnold first rolled into the Wet Planet base in the spring of 2006. Her car was packed full of river and camping gear, leaving just enough space for her dog Amelia, with multiple riverboards strapped on top. Within moments, her infectious smile and wealth of river experience made it feel as if Liz had been at Wet Planet for years.
Liz’s love for whitewater began early in life. Taking her first rafting trip at age 8, she has remained hooked on river running ever since. At 17 years old, she took her first job as a commercial raft guide on the Snake River outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. After 2 years on the Snake, she relocated to the east coast, big-water rafting mecca of West Virginia. While attending school in North Carolina and West Virginia, she spent the next five years continuing to develop her river skills on classics such as the New River, Gauley, Ocoee, Upper Yough, and Chatooga rivers. With multiple commercial guiding seasons on demanding whitewater runs such as the class IV-V Upper Gauley and Wet Planet’s own class V Farmlands and Wind River, Liz’s whitewater skills are impressive.
However, Liz was not content to enjoy river travel from a raft alone. Desiring a closer interaction with the river, she began riverboarding (picture swimming down the river on a body board with nothing more than fins for propulsion) in 2004. Kicking her way down rivers that many kayakers feel challenged paddling, Liz has become a recognizable face in the world of river-boarding. She is currently sponsored by Ripboard Inc. and is the company’s Northwest rep. She is also sponsored by ProMotion Wetsuits, a local Hood River wetsuit company. Since 2010 she has also taken up whitewater kayaking and is an obvious natural at it (we were not surprised).
Liz has quite the list of riverboarding accomplishments, including:
-6th place for women in the 2013 Riverboarding World Championship in Indonesia
-a few first riverboarding descents in South America
-2nd place in riverboarding in the 2008 Gorge Games
-2nd place in riverboarding in the 2007 Animal Upper Gauley River Race
-winning the Iron Woman Award in the 2007 WaveSport Open
We’re excited that Liz has remained in the Northwest and continues to be a valuable part of the Wet Planet team. Liz’s superior whitewater skills are invaluable to Wet Planet, as she not only works all of our river trips, but she also trip leads and has worked behind the scenes as our river manager during the 2009 season.
While Liz’s passion for whitewater is obvious, we have had to share her with her other passion – she is also a registered nurse. Luckily, Wet Planet still enjoys her expertise on the river here in the Gorge when she isn’t working as a nurse in Portland, Oregon.
See what adventures Liz is up to at her blog: www.findingconsciousness.blogspot.com
Interested in becoming part of the Wet Planet team? Check out our Employment Opportunities.