Monday, May 23, 2011

Galen Volckhausen: The "Big Water Bandit”

Some of us are born to play sports, excel and even make the news. Some of us are born with a dedication to succeed, rising above and beyond our greatest expectations. Some of us are born to ride the waves of Mother Nature, taking on the rushing water of the river. Very few of us take on this kayaking challenge and win. Galen Volckhausen does.

His nickname is the “Big Water Bandit” for his river tackling talent, and it is Galen’s goal to become a world champion in kayaking. At only 16 years old, Galen has been kayaking his entire life (well, since he was about 3), and is on the water almost every day, even during the cold winter months. He travels to train and compete in various competitions almost every weekend, and when he’s not kayaking, he dreams about the day when he will try out for the US Kayaking Team. 

Photo Courtesy of Scott Martin
Galen not only spends his time becoming better at navigating Mother Nature’s waterways, he is also dedicated to sharing his knowledge on kayaking with other aspiring kayakers. Galen is an assistant kayak instructor at Cornell University and during the summer months he teaches wilderness tours. With training, teaching and school, Galen is one very busy young man, and his body definitely takes a toll.

To treat his aches, pains and sore joints, Galen finds that drinking tart cherry juice helps him recover faster from training, and allows him perform at his peak performance. What does he like most about it? The fact that it’s an all natural way to help your body repair itself.  He enjoys the fact that it doesn’t contain caffeine, like beverages other kayakers drink, and isn’t a fad “energy” booster. Tart cherry juice is what it is – tart cherry juice, pure and simple.

In addition to cheribundi, when asked what keeps him going, Galen responded, “No fear.” His motto? Just go for it. Galen approaches kayaking, and life, with a ‘can do’ attitude, knowing that if you work your hardest, putting all your effort towards fulfilling your goals, good things will happen. Hey, if Galen can do it, can’t we all? He is truly an inspiration.

So this should be the rule: whatever frightens you, go into it. Just put aside all safety measures, securities; just gamble. The whole of life belongs to the gambler, and the whole mind has become a business man: calculating, thinking of profit and loss, never taking a risk -- and risk is needed. Life comes to those who risk, who live dangerously, almost on the verge of death.

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