Composing creative photos in Photoshop has quickly become a highlight in photography
Photos by Kalob Grady
I am a passionate 17 year old kayaker, photographer and (as of recently) kitesurfer. I grew up here in Switzerland next to some amazing white water. In spring of 2017 I was introduced to the sport of kayaking by my coach Franzi Biechler. It soon became clear that this was going to turn into my biggest passion. In autumn of 2018 I was fortunate enough to get accepted into World Class Academy, a travelling high school focused on white water kayaking, and I joined the school the following summer. For me a dream came true by following my passion in kayaking while at the same time still getting a proper education. Quite unexpectedly the school also introduced me to photography. The amazing locations we visited together with the focus on media classes, transformed photography for me from an interest to a passion.
Running my first waterfall in Costa Rica 2019
Photo by Kalob Grady
My first year with World Class, in Canada, Costa Rica and Chile, was without any doubt the best year of my life. Progressing my kayaking to a level I could not have imagined was great, but meeting all of these amazing people was the thing that made it special. The friendships built with students and staff from around the world will last for a lifetime. This made it all the harder when the Covid-19 pandemic forced us all to return home early in the spring of 2020 and continue our last quarter of the year – which was scheduled to take place in the Pacific Northwest of the United States – online.
One of my first rotations in Greece 2020
Photo by Katka Salandova
I was determined to return to the World Class Kayak Academy for another year. For a long time the global situation around Covid-19 seemed promising as well. However, continued border closures to the US eventually forced me to follow different plans. Luckily World Class also has a Kite Academy, which was facing similar problems and decided to have a European crew based in Greece for the first quarter. I was offered a space in their program despite having no experience in kitesurfing. I was stoked to join World Class again. The next nine weeks I spent with the crew in Greece learning how to kitesurf were amazing. After a short break back home another quarter as amazing as the first followed in the Caribbean Islands of Turks and Caicos. In that second quarter it became evident however that the pull back to my roots would be greater than the love I had developed for this new sport. And so after a month of enjoying the beautiful winter landscape back home I was overjoyed to rejoin the Kayak Academy in Ecuador embarking on a seven week adventure in the Andean rainforest, paddling some of the best whitewater world wide. As the temperatures up North begin to rise and I prepare for another incredible quarter in the Pacific Northwest I am incredibly grateful for everything this program has to offer despite the challenging times we are in.
Ecuador, April 2021