TRAK Pilot in Residence: Cole Wilde

April 30, 2021

TRAK Pilot in Residence: Cole Wilde

 

We are proud to announce our first-ever TRAK Pilot in Residence: Cole Wilde. His Journey to a “Life Unleashed” began at 19 while backpacking through Europe; “It was when I was hiking in the Austrian Alps and sea kayaking in Croatia! That was how I discovered my passion for adventure and travel.”


In 2014 TRAK initiated the TRAK Pilot Program. The goal of this program is to foster a global team of avid kayakers who paddle the TRAK and believe in our mission. Now, we are announcing our first-ever TRAK Pilot-in-Residence...


 

 

Life Unleashed” is our motto, mission, and creed at TRAK Kayaks. We are committed to helping people from all walks of life to unleash their own wellness and vitality, and to live a life free from limitations.

 

 

After nearly being killed in a workplace accident, Cole realized that he needed to change his path. He wanted to get off "the rig", and continue exploring what made him feel so alive on his European adventure. 

 

Cole enrolled in an adventure guiding course to give him the knowledge and training he would need to thrive in the outdoor leadership space. Upon graduating, Cole landed his first dream job at Tofino Sea Kayaking -the original kayak company in the surfing capital of Canada. He relished the opportunity to work with amazing guides and industry professionals at such an early stage in his career. 

After his first season guiding on the West Coast, Cole took his guiding skills abroad to start the next chapter in his story. He did the logical thing and booked a one way flight to Colombia on a shoestring budget and nothing but a vision to make it as a sea kayak guide in Patagonia. 

Some early set backs had Cole worried that he would be unable to achieve his goal. With an employer who bailed on him, and with prospects running thin, Cole told his bartender at the famous Erratick hostel about his woes and, to his great luck and surprise, the bartender was connected in the guiding industry and arranged for him to meet with a local outfit. The connection paid off, and Cole landed a gig as a new guide, 12,000km from home.

" I was taking travelers paddling along the shores of the Magellan strait, mostly. The chance to live and work with a Chilean family would teach me a lot much about myself and what I took for granted back home in Canada,  and I was challenged as a guide with learning how to navigate cultural barriers, a new language, and the notorious katabatic winds of Patagonia…”

Cole founded We Thrive Outdoors during this period of time. He worked with universities to recruit students for adventure guiding programs - the same type of programs that he had graduated from a year before. Totally driven to introduce other young people to the industry that was bringing him so much joy and adventure, he learned some important lessons in being an entrepreneur.  

“I am proud of what I accomplished but it never amounted to my expectations, I was met with the hard realities of what it took to run a business, how to market & communicate my offer effectively, and how to acquire a steady stream of leads and serve them to my partners. The process was difficult - it would drive me further into debt and, eventually, I gave up on that model, but I would never give up on my mission.”

 

Cole connected with TRAK Pilot Zack Kruzins, who invited him to paddle near, Vancouver Island in one his TRAK 1.0 kayaks. It would be Cole's first exposure to TRAK in person!

"I remember watching him build those boats and I realized just how incredible these craft actually are. I could just imagine the remote expeditions that could be made in these boats. We spent 2 days paddling around Cortes Island and I would learn that Zack had flown to nearly every corner of the world"

Cole and Zack would later complete the maiden voyage of the TRAK 2.0 together in a source-to-sea expedition down the Rio Santa Cruz in Argentina, collaborate on the filming of the TRAK Foundations online learning platform, and coach together at the annual Pacific Rim Surf Camp. A TRAK bromance forged on the water!

Becoming a resident

Fast forward to 2020: the world was getting rocked by a global pandemic, the TRAK factory was forced to close due to government restrictions, and with international travel restricted, Cole had to adapt and advance. Cole launched the Sea Kayak Skills Accelerator Program in the summer of 2020, a program that would connect paddlers virtually for online group coaching sessions. The program would have early success and its participants were very pleased with their progression.


It is not hard to see how a permanent role for Cole was the next logical step in his progression. Now we are pleased to welcome Cole Wilde onto the TRAK team as Customer Support and In-Campus Coach here at the new TRAK Headquarters located on Vancouver Island. This is the first time a TRAK Pilot ambassador has transitioned from ambassador to staff member, and Cole is leading the charge on many fronts. 


 

“Paddling is not just an activity - It’s your ticket to life-long health & wellness.

 A TRAK kayak is your passport to a life of adventure.”

 

Ready to get in the cockpit and test a TRAK 2.0 kayak?

 Schedule a Test Paddle with Cole in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada:

 

 



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