Volga River Expedition

After completing the first descent of the world’s longest river, the Amazon, from its most distant source (pretty much), West’s interest to get out of town wasn’t sated. On the contrary, he could hardly wait to get out again. Looking around, he found that the Volga River in Russia was the longest river in Europe and more importantly had never been kayaked from source to sea.

West in Kayak By Church

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Team Members

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Meet the Team

Barbara Edington
Barbara Edington

Barbara lives in SETX(Southeast Texas) married to her husband for 19 years, raising a 16 year old daughter as well as 3 older kids. She has 4 grandkids. She participates in triathlons for a hobby and organizes the Texas Winter 100k canoe/kayak race each January. In addition, she organizes a charity bike ride, Tour de Groves, each October, raising money for the local senior center. As manager of both the Amazon Express Expedition and the Volga River Expedition it was her position to prepare for anything the team needed in advance of their arrival in base cities, lay out transportation/lodging via locals, and communicate with the team each day for specifics and concerns.

West Hansen
West Hansen

West began kayaking back in the 1980's, then started racing in ultra-marathon canoe and kayak races in the early 1990's. He led the first expedition to paddle the entire length of the Amazon River from it's most distant source to the sea. The 4100+ miles took 111 days, through 500 miles of uncharted white water, then 3800 miles of cloud and rain forest.

Jason Jones
Jason Jones

Jason was also a member of the Amazon Express team. He's got decades of experience as a saltwater and freshwater fisherman. Jason has a PhD in Eastern Medicine with a specialty in acupuncture. Jason has been racing canoes since the mid 1990's, though he grew up near the Texas coast and has spent his entire life on the water. Jason and West attended Southwest Texas State University together, where Jason beat West up on a regular basis in karate. West remembers this and is just waiting for the right moment when Jason is fast asleep.

Jeff Wueste
Jeff Wueste

Jeff is a building contractor in Austin, Texas. He's been racing ultra-marathon canoe and kayaks for 25 years. He was part of the first expedition to paddle the entire length of the Amazon River from it's most distant source to the sea: The Amazon Express in 2012. Jeff was raised in the Sonoran desert in west Texas, participates in yoga for the past 10 years and behind his redneck veneer is a closeted intellectual, occasionally committing philosophy given half a chance.

Marat Epshtein
Marat Epshtein

Marat was born and raised in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, in southern Russia. He now lives in Austin, Texas with his wife. Marat provides the immensely important link between Texas and Russia, but he's far more than a mere translator. Marat is equally comfortable behind a plate of chicken fried steak as he is behind a bowl of borsch. The education he has provided to the team regarding customs, culture, infrastructure and vodka cannot be learned in a guidebook. Having negotiated partnerships, transportation, permits and many other aspects of the expedition, Marat has saved us from a multitude of headaches.

Egor Voskoboynikov
Egor Voskoboynikov

Egor is in charge of gathering the paddlers from the airport and ushering us, our gear and our Epic Kayaks through Moscow for the ten hour drive up to the head waters of the Volga River in the Valdai Hills northwest of Moscow. He's a badass at most all sports and excels in white water kayaking.

Anatoly and Ilmira
Anatoly and Ilmira

Anatoly and Ilmira of Procosta in Astrakhan are the experts on anything having to do with the delta of Europe's mightiest river. They are helping the Volga River Expedition with transportation, permits and education regarding the treasure that is the delta region leading into the Caspian Sea. Procosta is the premier organization, specializing in fishing, hunting, lodging, recreation, travel and guide services throughout the region.

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