The Things They Carried

Willie Kern

With Chuck Kern’s kayak and paddle

“Fourteen years later, what did I keep? That squirt boat and paddle—those are the things I couldn’t get rid of. They’re like museum pieces, a testament to the time when kayaking went through its greatest revolution. My brother was at the forefront of that. Most of the squirt boats of that era were custom-made. On the inside, there’s a label that says made for chuck kern with his weight and the performance he wanted. He was my older brother, and we shared tens of thousands of river miles.

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