Whitewater Destination Chilean Patagonia — Part III of V

Immersion Research Brand Ambassador--Jaime Lancaster in a 100-foot descent, Santiago ,Chile Credit: Manuel Santiago

Twenty-five-year-old Jaime Enrique Lancaster Rial is from Cochrane in the south of Chilean Patagonia. In Lancaster’s hometown, he had access to learn whitewater paddlesports through a youth kayaking club at the non-profit organization “Escualos.”

Also known as Jaime Lancaster, he recently finished third in the 2019 GoPro Mountain Games and 12th at the 2019 North Fork Championship IX.

At 17 years old, Lancaster started training at the kayaking center in Pucon, where he earned a place on the Chilean Slalom Team.

Professional Kayaker--Immersion Research Brand Ambassador--Jaime Lancaster 100 foot kayak descent Santiago, Chile
Immersion Research Brand Ambassador — Jaime Lancaster in a 100-foot descent, Santiago, Chile in Patagonia. Credit: Manuel Santiago

I had the opportunity to travel around the world representing my country. And each time falling in love and learning more about the world of kayaking.

Immersion Research Brand Ambassador — Professional Kayaker — Jaime Lancaster

Finding whitewater gear in Chilean Patagonia

Like Ugandan Professional Kayaker Sadat Kawawa featured in part two of this five-part series, Lancaster found it challenging to find and afford paddlesports gear in Chile. Most adventure sports brands are United States-based companies. According to Lancaster, the nearest distributor in Chile is more than 800 miles or 1,300 kilometers away. His mother bought his first set of kayaking gear. Since then, he has worked as a rafting guide in Chile and a builder in the USA to fund his gear needs.

Unlike Kawawa’s sponsorship experience, Lancaster had an easier time securing brand ambassadorship opportunities.

Lancaster wrote to Max Blackburn, the sales manager at Immersion Research “after the best kayaking season [he has] had in the past five years.” Immersion Research is a designer and manufacturer of paddling gear in Pennsylvania, USA.

Lancaster met Blackburn in Futaleufu, Chile, when he was 15 years old and just learning to kayak.

[Blackburn] was very happy to see the progress I had [made] since the last time we met. And [he] told me that I could be part of the [Immersion Research] team.

Immersion Research Brand Ambassador and Professional Kayaker Jaime Lancaster

Whitewater paddlesports a welcoming community for people of color

Although many women and people of color on panel discussions and in listening groups throughout 2020 said they had been the victim of racism, misogyny, weight-shaming, classism, and other negative experiences while participating in various adventure sports — including paddlesports, racism has not been an issue for Lancaster.

Professional Whitewater Kayaker--Immersion Research Brand Ambassador--Jaime Lancaster
Professional Whitewater Kayaker and Immersion Research Brand Ambassador Jaime Lancaster in Chilean Patagonia. Credit: Jaime Lancaster

I know several people of color who participate in slalom kayaking competitions representing their countries. … I [am well regarded] as a Latino kayaker … [and] I would like to invite people who read this to come and learn more about the world of kayaking; it is a very nice sport that connects you with nature and all the people around it who are very good [people].

Immersion Research Brand Ambassador — Professional Kayaker — Jaime Lancaster

The underrepresentation of people of color in extreme sports

Which leads one to ask, why are people of color and other formerly marginalized communities — LGBTQ+, Womxn, veterans, and persons with disabilities or differing abilities — underrepresented in adventure sports? Our industry panel discusses this question in part five of our series.

In part four of our five-part series, we meet Lily Durkee — co-founder of Diversify Whitewater. A non-profit organization based out of Colorado, USA. Diversify Whitewater’s mission is removing barriers for Black, Indigenous, people of color and allies in paddlesports.

You can catch up on this series here:

Part I — Whitewater Paddlesports the Color of Reformation.

Part II — Whitewater — Destination Uganda Africa.


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