21. Shannon Carroll


Dec 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

Age: 22 Specs: 5-foot-10, 152 pounds

Home: Nevada City, California

THE CASE: Born buff and brassy, Carroll began paddling at 11, ran her first Class V at 15, and then raised the stakes even higher. Since then she's claimed the women's world-record waterfall descent (a 78-foot prayer off the McKenzie River's Sahalie Falls near Eugene, Oregon), won the women's world championship of surf kayaking, and put her churning aquatic luge maneuvers on display in Twitch 2000, a video of stupefying kayaking footage.But her first love is steepcreeking—running precipitous torrents that plunge as much as 500 feet per mile and are choked with logs and tenacious holes. It's just the type of paddling she grew up on in Thurmond, West Virginia. "I was lucky to get an early start paddling," she says, "and there are still frontiers to push."

SECOND OPINION: "Shannon's very aggressive on the water," says fellow competitor Jamie Simon. "Yet afterwards everyone loves to be around her. The only thing I enjoy more than paddling with her is listening to her sing."

MOST HARROWING MOMENT: Getting pinned on West Virginia's Upper Gauley with her bow wedged deep into a colander of rocks for 20 minutes. Just before going under, rescuers pulled her out by the stern.

WHAT'S NEXT: Trying to qualify for the U.S. rodeo kayaking team next season.

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