In today’s episode I sit down with the ever humble, focused, and driven Greg Barton, founder of Epic Kayaks (originally Epic Paddles)  and the most decorated US paddler in history.   Greg won Bronze in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics then  broke a 52 year drought for the US when he won back to back gold medals in the 1000 meter K1 and 1000 meter K2 disciplines in the 88 Seoul Olympics.   Never one to rest on his laurels, Greg came back 4 years later and took another Bronze in Barcelona at his final olympics in 1992
I’ve had the fortune of spending time with Greg on multiple occassions and even paddling in a tandem surf ski with him, but never knew all the details of his early beginning and his path to being the fastest paddler in the world.   It is quite an amazing story of focus, dedication, persistence, and humility.
Greg and I cover extensive ground in this 1 hour 40 minute discussion including, but certainly not limited to, the following:
  • How a kid growing up on a pig farm in southern Michigan got introduced to paddling
  • Greg’s very first trophy
  • The pivotal moment when Greg was just 12 years old and decided Olympic hardware was his mission
  • His first paddling coach
  • Training during his years studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan
  • Greg’s first, second, and third Olympics including winning back to back gold medals in 1988
  • Building his first paddles in the family barn
  • Recovering from chronic fatigue in the early 80s
  • Working 30 hours a week plus training before the 1988 Olympics and The power of distraction to recover from training
  • Using his own custom built paddles in the Olympics
  • The beginning of the wing paddle and Greg’s first experiences with it
  • The practical need that led to the inspiration for a 2 piece paddle
  • Greg’s thoughts on feathering of the paddle and his own progression
  • The very first boat built by Epic  (hint: it wasn’t a surf ski)
  • Greg’s approach to building boats from the very beginning and the  Youtube video comparison of Epic Sea Kayak versus traditional kayak
  • Greg’s thoughts on the future of surf ski design
  • The secret to how Greg developed such explosive power in the boat
  • Greg’s thoughts on training in a K1 versus a Surfski
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