A Life In The Rapids – Matt Dvorak
Matt is the CEO of Dvorak Expeditions and was born into river sports. His passion for the river doesn’t just stop at rafting he is often found SUPing class four and five rapids and lives the outdoor mindset every day. Although Matt thrives off of river sports his true passion is Swiftwater rescue and a firm believer that everyone should have emergency response skills. Matt is one of the few Rescue 3 International certified instructors in the Ark Valley and teaches courses from May to October with DVK. We chatted with Matt to get the inside scoop of what Swiftwater training means to him.
What age were you introduced to the river?
Matt: Ask my mom. I always tell people at 2 months, but I honestly don’t remember those days.
When did you start learning Swiftwater techniques?
Matt: You’ll have to ask my dad, I don’t remember those days either. As long as I can remember tying knots.
When did you start teaching Swiftwater courses?
Matt: As soon as I turned 18 I started as an assistant instructor. Before that, I was basically an intern.
Why do you think everyone should take a Swiftwater class?
Matt: I think anyone that plans to spend any amount of time in, on, or near the river should at least be mindful of water being the most powerful force on the planet. Learning Swiftwater and river rescue skills are likely the most important aspect for anyone interested in rivers, moving water, and especially safety.
Is it necessary to have any river time or previous experience before a class?
Matt: It is not necessary for some classes, but the more advanced ones definitely require some prior knowledge and experience.
What is your favorite course to teach?
Matt: The river rescue courses are the most fun! They are super fluid and dynamic simply moving at the pace of the group. The more experience, the faster and more fun the class is.
What is a good class for beginners to take?
Matt: The association courses that are 1 or 2 days are a great place to start.
What skill do you use the most out on the river from all of your training?
Matt: Reading water, keeping a calm head, and working effectively with your team on the river through simple combination.
Why do DVK courses stand out amongst other Swiftwater training?
Matt: It’s a legacy, we’ve been at it longer than anyone in the business and the passion for education, safety, and understanding.
What do you think the future of Swiftwater training will look like?
Matt: It will continue to develop in a manner that reflects the industry. As it sits now there are a lot more people taking their own self-guided trips with rented and purchased equipment. It is important for people to understand that the river is both a fun place to recreate, but also has the potential to rapidly turn to a very serious life or death scenario for friends and family, even in mellow easy water. Proper decision making and experience are paramount when dealing with any situation out of one’s control especially in any Swiftwater or river scenario.
If you could give the river go-ers one piece of advice what would it be?
Matt: Educate before you recreate! Your knowledge and skills are what will keep you and your group safe. The more you know the easier it will be to deal to deal with the unexpected.
Check out more about Matt and DVK’s Swiftwater courses and available courses HERE!