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Great River Outfitters started as a small specialized kayak shop back in 1979 by Ema and Stan Chladek. Both owners have extensive whitewater experience, being long time members of the Czech National Whitewater team and World Champions in 1965. Stan’s main passion is sea kayaking expeditions from his “backyard” on the North Shore of Lake Superior, to the Pacific Northwest Ocean, and the wild seas around Ireland, Scotland and Welsh coasts.

A love of kayaking runs in the family: daughter Dana Chladek is the winner of the Olympic silver medal in Atlanta and the bronze medal in Barcelona in whitewater slalom. Dana owns Rapidstyle which manufactures kayak clothing and accessories.

Stan and Ema

Stan and Ema Chladek in Straights of Mackinac, Lake Michigan


VCP & NDK kayaks, which we also distribute, are available from our dealers nationwide.

Sea Kayaks: Valley Canoe Products; Nigel Dennis Kayaks (both from Great Britain); Perception and Prijon.

Kayak Paddles: Lendal from Scotland (both straight & crank shaft).

Sprayskirts and cockpit covers: BushSport, Rapidstyle

PFD’s: Kokatat

Kayak & Canoe Clothing: Rapidstyle, Kokatat, Nigel Dennis Kayaks.

Also: Compasses, safety accessories, short wave radios, boat carts, dry bags, roof racks, kayak parts & hardware, flotation bags, books, videos, etc. All accessories are available mail order. We have fast and reliable shipping service.