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To honestly portray kayaker stories it would appear there is an edge of character that opens the individual to public scrutiny. Meet Adrenaline Rush, Rudy Rampage, and Rush Sturges.
Eleven years ago Rush was my student at a high school for kayakers, The Academy at Adventure Quest. Then, young Rush was the driving Young Gun Productions force with his premiere series “Next Generation.” Our mentor meetings ended up being discussions of vid angles and distribution issues. His dream was exuded in the daily aspects with the school: training, videoing kayaking, and study of music. Rush continued to follow his dream and now pushes the kayak film industry charge. Today’s discussion is a story worth telling.
The article begins as many conversations of today’s society do, a Facebook Message:
Rush I’m writing content for CKS this year. My aim is to write compelling stories that exhibit character, who the person is… It’s something eventually that will be branded as Johnnie Kayaker Stories. Last night as I watched Frontier I tried to think of the story that would best exhibit “Who is Rush?” Not Rush won this event or Rush directed that. Something along the lines of “Rush the Artist” kept presenting itself in my mind. Watching the Frontier intro, several of the shots, and your final rap kept me keep thinking, “He’s an artist.” I even leaned over to Clay in the middle of Frontier, “Do you notice the music? It’s a different style… appeasing to a broader market.” Clay replied that he liked it. With all of that said I’d like an interview. At the end I will go above and beyond to promote your product of recommendation. David
Interview Location: A third floor Vail hotel room overlooking the Teva Mountain Games freestyle event. Beer cases, kayak gear, and clothes kicked to the sides make a path from the door to the couch. Pat Camblin sits on one bed with laptop working. Rush is poised at the desk editing a TMG short. Kayakers sporadically pass through the room.
Do you have a story that conveys “Rush the artist?” Rush thinks for a moment, “I could do the interview as Rudy Rampage.” Pat laughs. The two look at me for approval and not knowing who Rudy is I answer, “Pat laughed. Sounds like that’s the angle.”
Pat and Rush begin feeding off each other as my pen attempts to keep pace.
Brad Ludden walks in and Rush asks, “You going to wear the spandex tonight?” Brad, “You’re f@% right I’m going to wear the spandex.” They’re talking about their party costumes. Brad, “I’ve got a pimp suit with so many beer stains on it.”
Rush, “We got any responsibilities tonight?” Rush’s attention returns to the interview. “My night’s spending is determined by how many DVD’s I sell. Last night I sold two. Tonight should be all right.” Pat reminds Rush, “You sold two at the show also.” Rush gets a little excited, “Oh yea. I’ve had two sales already, sixty bucks. Should be a good night.”
Who is Rudy Rampage?
“Rudy, yeah. I don’t know. Pat was there (when it happened).” There is a hint of a joke to their tone as Pat takes his turn, “I found this fox fur hat in Canada two years ago. It was perfect for Rush.” Rush adds, “I put it on and was transformed. Rudy reflects both positive and negative aspects of my personality. The man you love and hate.”
Pat asks, “Have Rudy and Tao met yet?’ Rush, “Noooo… too much awesome at the same time. Dark Rudy stories. They’re all dark. I’ve been trying to keep Rudy hidden especially when I have to try not to get arrested like here at Teva.”
“Last time Rudy got arrested. Rudy wouldn’t listen.” Pat is laughing imitating the lead up to the arrest, “F THE MAN! You got to fight the man!” Pat continues with the way they attempted to prevent the mishap, “OK. OK. Rush take it easy. We’re going to get in trouble. Rudy would not listen. F the man!” He acts out the story, “Rush… this is Vail man… this is Vail. Take it easy.” Reminds me of a scene from the Big Lebowski.
Rush adds, “I got arrested.” Pat nods his head, “Rudy’s a dick.” Brad adds, “I think he’s entertaining. I like Casper when he’s drunk.”
Back to Rush the Artist
The “Jungle Road” lyrics below are from Rush’s tribute to Hendrik “Kadoma” Coetzee. Rush raps lyrics at the end of each of his films, and also helps in the composition of the original music in his movies.
To risk it all for the passion/I can’t tell you if it’s worth it/ til they close my casket/Dragon blood in our veins/Man we had to have it/Like the fire aint gonna stop until we burn to ashes/Turn time backwards word to your writing/You said you’d never lived to see a greater day, that’s inspiring/Bottom line is/We all stay strong/As the heat resonate like an African sun/I demonstrate/What I love/ to the beat of a drum/And we dance with the devil but it’s just for fun/And is it really worth it, huh?This life like a time lapse/Things that we do com’n with a heavy price tag/I block it out like a lineback/And ride past/Light up the fire bru/And watch the fireflies hatch/I’m rapping out these feelings to try and understand it/Cuz dealing with it cuts deep like the planet’s canyons/What you did was challenging/ start to finish/I bet in heaven you’ll find a way to farther limits/No gimmics man/I raise a toast/TO EXPLORE OR DIE/Down a jungle road
Chorus: On and on/ and on/Out into the unknown/ down a jungle road/River take me home now/Death stay on mind/But I find myself right here/I’m supposed to rest/On the breath of the wilderness will be kept/
Now I have no idea/What/Comes after death/But it’s true you accepted it in the flesh/We had a mutual respect/On separate quests/And they converged for a minute/At the rivers edge/Like a stampeed of wildabeasts/Across the horizon/You always charged hard/Through the rawest environments/The world keep spiral’n/Toward the great unknown/And just to live is a risk/You know more than most/But yo/I’m just glad we had a chance to meet/And may your spirit run free with the savage beasts/Forever/ peace/ on your quest/ through time/ and space/Or whatever this takes/us/ on the path we make/It’s a numbers game/And that part’s the hardest/In this heart of darkness/ though/You kept your guard up/I don’t know what to say/That could make things change/But you blazed the way/So I just say thanks
The conversation slows, “You didn’t talk much about Rush the artist.” Pat reminds him, “(Tell) Where your music’s going.” Rush announces, “I just applied to Red Bull Music Academy.”
Brad asks, “Who is your manager?” Pat anwers, “I’m his manager. I give him all his ideas.”
Rush contemplates his music chances, “I’m moving to Portland this summer. Red Bull Music Academy is an intensive two weeks. Ahh… It depends on how well you do. It’s a bit of long shot. You’ve got to do real well… the app was over 30 pages. If I do well then Red Bull promotes their artists. They have a huge network.”
Pat, “As an artist he’s got real-life experiences to break through. He’s seen more than most. That translates into his music and his talent is sick’r.”
Rush, “I’m into hip-hop but I’d like to be a producer. A modern day producer is similar to a movie director. Me describing the vibe I want being an editor and filmmaker has given some experience. But I need to expand to learn the music side of that.”
The Intern enters, “Anyone want a burrito?” Rush, “Bring me a chicken burrito, guac, all the fire. Have you met Dustin our intern? He’s a film school grad.”
Rush goes back to work, “All right I’ve got to bust this edit out so I can party tonight.” As he looks at Casper from the Netherlands he ends, “There’s a lot of Euro-trash at this event.”
As a former educator of Rush and person who nearly encountered death this year there’s an element that evokes questions, “I worry. I worry about broken bodies and death. Is this our industry? Is this what the public wants to see? Or is this kayak industry growing pains and the future while old school watch and are analytical?”
The videos are edgy and that in itself may be the “fire” that former “Next Generation” leader pushes to revolutionary. Still yet, I find myself watching, analyzing, impressed and rewinding the next best river shot and creation. I’m even OK with pulling out the credit card to buy a video.
Adrenaline Rush’s lyrics may best illustrate some Lord of the Rings like magnetism or inner passion to explore.
To risk it all for the passion/I can’t tell you if it’s worth it/ til they close my casket/Dragon blood in our veins/Man we had to have it/Like the fire aint gonna stop until we burn to ashes/
Let’s not kid ourselves. Rush Sturges is sharp and consciously understands popular image and branding of both character and product. The words “drive” and “passion” keep presenting themselves. Personally I observed father Peter Sturges’ “drive” and “passion” sustaining Otterbar Kayak Lodge as a premiere kayaker’s destination and that answers a question regarding Rush’s work ethic. Let’s just say anyone that knows the Sturges family realize it’s a working family.
Rush was asked to proof this article prior to publication. Other than minor notes he suggested lyrics from his “Days Go By” might be more applicable.
Ah yes!/ A breath of fresh air/ out into the clear sky/ frontier of mind/ good times/ outside the confined/ this city life/ turning its citizens/ into victims/ in this existence/ you get one chance/ to push the distance/ positioned/ for the path of least resistance/ like rivers/ we all carve these canyon walls into the system to fit in/ but in my heart i’ll never give in/ all I got is ambition/ an addiction to break the limits/ build a vision to finish/ and then BREATHE/
“OK… What product do you want to promote kayakers to buy?”
Rush, “The Sweet Prophecy Dry Top is the driest dry top on the market.” “Is it good?” Rush, “Yeah. It’s sweet Dude.”
Frontier– Check out where you can view the trailer and buy this video.
AT Paddles– At this link you see AT Paddle specs and costs.