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Tom Paterson took to riverboarding naturally as he has been in and around whitewater and outdoor adventures his whole life.
He had worked as a canoe trip leader, raft guide, and safety kayaker for many years before stumbling onto riverboarding, as the company he worked for on the Ottawa river began offering commercial trips.
It was a quick connection with the sport, and his love for being in the water led him to focus on riverboarding over the other whitewater disciplines.
In 2013 he caught the attention of Face Level and then quickly burst onto the international scene with a dizzying array of freestyle tricks on the big waves of the Ottawa river, which immediately became the talk of the riverboarding world.
Since the huge waves he is surfing in Canada allow for aerial tricks, he is experimenting with moves previously unseen on a riverboard, inspiring riverboarders to think differently as he seeks out waves instead of holes and works toward getting massive pop into the air off the wave.
While he was unable to attend the 2013 Riverboarding World Championship, Tom’s name was invoked in many discussions regarding freestyle surfing, and Face Level offered him sponsorship beginning in 2014.
After a quick trip to Costa Rica for his first ever ocean wave surf sessions and some technical creeking, Tom convinced his brother Jon to join him for the spring runoff and they set up their home base in a cabin next to the Ottawa river.
The guys have spent the past 2 years absolutely blowing up the world of freestyle riverboarding, inventing many never before seen aerial tricks and running huge whitewater – not just running it, but throwing downriver freestyle tricks in rapids previously considered not even runnable on a riverboard.
Tom’s 2014 highlight video gained more than 100,000 views on facebook and caught the attention of many of the world’s best kayakers, who were impressed – a definite first for the sport of riverboarding. His video of saving a squirrel from a rock in the middle of the river on his board received more than 6 million views thanks to being picked up by sites like the Daily Mail and many more.
We’re excited to have Tom on the team and impressed with his passion for the water, commitment to the sport of riverboarding, and dedication to push himself to his maximum potential.
The future looks bright as he’s already changing the perception and definition of riverboarding freestyle.