Karl Kruger
A waterman from birth

Karl Kruger

Just trying to pin down Karl Kruger is a hard job - he is always out on the water, whether chartering a sailing boat anywhere from the San Juan Islands to Alaska; out on his SUP; or preparing for his next big adventure challenge. Having him on the Blackfish Team is a huge honour, and we are so stoked to follow his next feat!  

Karl is "stoked to work with Blackfish because it is a local company, and I love that. I also love the focus on clean fun and deep, connected outdoor experience. The strong Blackfish environmental ethic also tops my list of reasons."

Paddle of Choice: The Andaman, but Karl also trains with the Race sometimes too.

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Karl Kruger


Karl grew up paddling canoes in upstate NY. His father was half Algonquin and steeped in the canoe paddling culture in the Adirondacks.  He has lived in the great Pacific Northwest for 20 years, and now holds a United States Coast Guard 100 Ton Master’s License with Sail and Tow endorsements which means he can usually be found cruising extensively in the San Juan Islands and Canadian Gulf Islands, as well as the entire BC coastline up into Alaska. Karl, and occasionally his daughter Dagny, run sailing charters between the San Juan Islands in WA, all the way up the BC coast to Southeast Alaska. He will be captaining sailing Vessel Ocean watch for a two year 35,000 mile science expedition circumnavigating both Americas, starting in May 2019. 

On land, Karl climbed his first Adirondack High Peak when he was three years old. He remembers it well. He climbed the rest of the 46 High Peaks before he turned twelve. Karl began cross-country skiing when he first walked, and has forgotten his first bruises from learning to Alpine ski a long time ago. Since then, he has guided rock, ice, and alpine climbing and has climbed significant routes in every mountain state, skied where it matters most, and raced on both skis and alpine snowboard. Karl also worked as a ski instructor, served on several Search and Rescue organizations, and has worked for the National Ski Patrol. Karl holds a B.S. in Environmental Science/ Toxicology and an A.A.S. in Ecology and Environmental Technology. He worked as an intern for the Dept. of Ecology in Bellingham, WA, and was an instructor for several EarthWatch International trips in the Skagit Valley.

Karl returned to his paddling roots and began SUP paddling in 2010 and fell in love immediately. He paddles every chance he gets…almost daily. Living on the water makes it easy to get out often. Karl also SUP surfs every chance he gets during sailing charters and trips along the coast. He became the first person to SUP the entire inside passage from Washington State to Alaska in June 2017, during the Race to Alaska (R2AK) race during which he paddled 766 miles in 15 days. He is now working on plans for a much longer and more remote paddle; he plans to take on the Northwest Passage from Tuktoyaktuk to Pond Inlet during summer 2019. A relief captain will pilot Ocean Watch while he paddles. Karl’s R2AK worked so incredibly well on his custom-shaped BARK board that he is focused on the next project and training hard for it. 

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