Featured Kayaker of 2016: Bob Jones

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Click to enlarge

I first started focusing on Bob back in 2007 at La Jolla Shores on a SDKC surf practice day. Several of us were learning and practicing skills of launching and landing through the surf, and like some others, I was having a difficult time just staying upright in my Sea Kayak. At one point I even found myself upside down with my head bouncing off the sand while wondering what it would be like to live as a quadriplegic. As I was struggling to get back out through the surf I saw Bob performing graceful rolls in the foam with a big smile on his face. He reminded me of an otter playing in the waves, completely at ease with the water. What made this all the more amazing is that Bob was not a young man. Speaking later to Jen Kleck about what I saw that day, she simply said “Bob is incredible”, and so he is.


Over the years for those of us who have been fortunate to spend time on the water and in the back country with him, we consider Bob our mentor and a truly remarkable person. At age 86 (or is he 87 now?) Bob is still climbing 11,000+ foot high peaks around the world, and kayaking in remote areas like Antarctica, Greenland and Norway to name a few. Below is a map with all the areas he has kayaked and hiked in.


Bob grew up on a ranch in eastern Colorado and then took up the vocation as a Veterinarian. He is now retired and has more unusual animal stories than Robin has jokes (which is saying a lot). In addition to his world travels, he and his wife Betty can be found ballroom dancing when they are not involved with fund raising for the children’s hospital in Tijuana that Betty, a Nutritionist, helped start over 30 years ago. It is an amazing health care facility that does not charge for services to the needy, and has cared for countless young people on both sides of the border. If you would like to become involved in this effort (like SDKC member Mary Collier has), or make a donation, here are three links to learn more (copy/paste the first link, which is in english):





A great aspect of kayaking is that it can also be a wonderful social activity. As we paddle alongside others, we have the opportunity to talk in length with them and get to know them. Those of us who have gotten to know Bob feel blessed. When I talk to others about him, one thing that is often said is “I want to be like him as I age”. Bob has “raised the bar” for us on many levels, and has set a standard of how to live life fully, regardless of our age. So, if you have the chance to come on one of our kayak or pack trips and get to know him, you will not regret that decision.

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10,000 feet in the Sierras and going strong

10,000 feet in the Sierras and going strong