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Interview: Yonton Mehler

Yonton Mehler

Interview with Yonton Mehler.

kayak surfThis interview was originally produced for the Portuguese web site 'kayaksurf.net' and is published exclusively on Playak in english to make it available to a wider audience. The portuguese version of the interview, with larger versions of some of the photos, is available here.

Yonton MehlerName: Yonton Mehler
Age: 22
Occupation: Kayaker
Place of birth: Israel

Actual address: Asheville, North Carolina
Sponsors: Liquid Logic, IR, Astral, Ground, Ryders.
Years of paddling and surf kayaking: 9
Personal web page: http://geocities.com/ymehler/

Yonton Mehler slave river

Paddling record:

  • 1st Place at the Yampa River Rodeo, CO, June 2004
  • 4th Place at the Lyons River Rodeo, CO, June 2004
  • 9th Place at the 2003 Freestyle world Championships in Graz, Austria.
  • 16th Place at the 2001 Junior Freestyle World Championships in Sort, Spain. (June 2001)
  • 24th Place at the 2002 Pre-Worlds Championship in Graz, Austria, as the youngest competitor in the Men's class.
  • Founder of the Israeli National Freestyle team.
  • 10th Place at the Liquid-Skills Showdown (a.k.a North American Cup) 2002
  • 14th place at the Extra-Sport Challenge, 2002
  • 2nd Place at the Russell-Fork Triple-Drop Get-down, 2002

What do you think about the evolution of this sport in your country?
When I started kayaking there were only 5 kayakers in Israel. Now there are more than a hundred and many of them are really good.

Yonton Mehler lachine rapids
Lachine Rapids, Canada

And worldwide?
I think the sport is changing all the time. It seems like it's changing more and more towards media exposure. People are running harder creeks, surfing bigger waves and getting lots of video and pictures. It seems like main stream media is what will help the sport evolve even more.

ll visionYour favorite kayaks?
Liquid Logic Vision and Jefe.

Do you compete a lot?
I have never competed in any surf kayak event. But I've competed in a lot of freestyle event and some races. I guess I'm more of a river guy there days.

When did you start your working with Liquid Logic?
I've been paddling for Liquid Logic since I was 18. They've taken really good care of me and are like my family here in the U.S.

Your favorite surf spot ?
My home break in Tel-Aviv is definitely my favorite surf spot. It's right in town. It's easy to paddle out and the waves are perfect for big air tricks.

Yonton Mehler surf

Your scariest moment at sea?
When I was first starting to kayak, my skirt popped way out at sea in a big storm. It took me a long time to get my courage back after that one.

Where do you usually surf?
I have hardly ever surfed outside of Israel. But I've surfed a little in Panama, Costa-Rica and California.

Yonton Mehler OBJ

Do you practice any other sports?
Not really, I just kayak a lot.

When you turned17 you left home to study your senior year of high school at Adventure Quest. Describe us what AQ is and what it's like studying in a place like that…
Travelling kayak schools are the place to be if you want to kayak more than anyone else in the world and still get high school out of the way. I met some really cool people and learned a lot about life, kayaking and travelling.

Yonton Mehler south mineral

Your favorite paddler?
There are many people I look up to in the sport. The first name that comes to mind is Andrew Holcombe. He's all around the best kayaker I know and is super humble and mellow. He's safe and friendly to everyone. People should get good-attitude lessons from this guy...

Andrew Holcombe Andrew Holcombe
Andrew Holcombe

Your favourite move?
The Boof!

Yonton Mehler Yonton Mehler

In the future, do you see yourself doing something else besides being a pro-kayaker ?
I'm really interested in design. So I'll probably be working in the industry and designing kayaks or gear.

Yonton Mehler lachine

Thanks for the interview Yonton and all the best for the future!

Text: Luis Pedro Abreu
Photos: Liquid Logic, Luke Hopkins and personal archive of Yonton Mehler

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