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Adam van Koeverden

April 2, 2013 by Speakers' Spotlight

The List: 10 Things Olympic Kayaker Adam van Koeverden Can’t Live Without

World and Olympic Kayaker Adam van Koeverden tells Toronto Life magazine about the “10 Things He Can’t Live Without”:

Adam van Koeverden

1 | My Oakley shades
I have dozens of pairs. I know it’s excessive, but I need a different pair for everything I do—mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, kayaking. In London, I’ll probably wear my Radarlocks. The lenses clip in and out, so I can quickly change my tint for sun or cloud.

2 | My Turbo paddle
My oars are custom designed and handcrafted in Smiths Falls, Ontario, by Peter Patasi, a kayaker who represented Canada at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. He makes them with carbon graphite—the same material that’s used in Space Shuttles and Formula One race cars.

Adam van Koeverden

3 | My guitarlele
I like playing guitar, but I can’t justify lugging one around when I’m travelling. I got this six-string ukulele hybrid last year in Germany. It relaxes me, even though I’m not very good at it.

adam van koeverden

4 | My trophy
The Bert Oldershaw trophy, named for one of my mentors, is presented to the winner of the K-1 1,000-metre Canadian kayak championship every year. After my 10th win, they made a replica of the real trophy and gave it to me for keeps.

5 | My favourite author
When Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007, I felt like I’d lost an uncle. If I ever get a tattoo, it’ll be my favourite quote from his essay collection A Man Without a Country: “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

6 | My fixie
I bike everywhere on my Specialized Globe Roll—to the bank, to the movies, out for dinner. I’m always showing up sweaty. I’m definitely one of those bike-riding pinkos Don Cherry complains about.

7 | My running shoes
I’ve been running for longer than I’ve been kayaking. It’s good for my mental health—a run in the woods is the best therapy. I like Asics Gel-DS trainers. They’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.

8 | My cabin in the woods
I’ve built my own small place on South Tea Lake in Algonquin Park—it’s 250 square feet, with a steel panel roof, uninsulated walls and pine siding. There’s no running water or electricity. My days are consumed with chopping wood and clearing brush. It’s endless work, which I love.

adam van koeverden

9 | My decrepit hoodie
It’s a decade old and tattered, and it smells like campfire. I could get a new one, but I like the feel of soft, well-worn cotton. I wear it everywhere. Fortunately, this is Canada, so wearing a hoodie is acceptable pretty much all the time.

adam van koeverden

10 | My African instruments
I’ve been to Africa twice with the charity Right to Play. I got a drum at a Liberian market in 2007 and a stringed instrument in Mali in 2011. The latter was a thank-you gift from a young man I took for a kayak ride on the Niger River. Both instruments sit on a coffee table in my condo. They’re good conversation starters.