Summer Sale
Press ReleaseJune 20, 2023

NRS Announces New and Returning Team of LEAD Ambassadors

MOSCOW, Idaho — Northwest River Supplies (NRS), a worldwide leader in paddlesports equipment and apparel is proud to announce a new, and returning, team of LEAD Ambassadors. Launched in 2021, NRS built the Leaders in Environment, Access and Diversity (LEAD) Program, welcoming in a new group of influential changemakers in the paddling community and challenging its existing athletes to help the company break down barriers to the outdoors. Their aim: Invest in people who are making the world a better place, and work with them to help make NRS a better company.

“NRS has been working hard to make its brand and our sport more welcoming, inclusive and engaged. It’s time to adapt, keep growing together—and continue to put our values first,” says Mark Deming, NRS Chief Marketing Officer. “Our ambassadors and athletes are a vital and integral part of our vision and together we’re helping define a new era for paddlesports and the outdoors.”

NRS Announces New and Returning Team of LEAD Ambassadors

Introducing the 2023 LEAD Ambassadors:

Zorbari Nwidor // Chicago Adventure Therapy
“One of the barriers to access to adventure sports in blue and green spaces for black and brown faces is equipment. With the support of NRS, Chicago Adventure Therapy is breaking that barrier in the city.” Learn more about Zorbari.

Gerry Seavo James // Explore Kentucky
“There is still very much a need for ambassadors that huck off waterfalls and push the boundaries of paddlesports. It’s also important to highlight and amplify the voices/platforms of folks who are building community, instructing, and teaching people how to be stewards of our public lands and waters. I’m elated to join this rowdy, rad, and caring family!” Learn more about Gerry.

Paul Robert Wolf Wilson // Ríos to Rivers
“Our participants are from river-based communities fighting to protect our waters and life ways. My home river, the Klamath, is set to host the largest dam removal in history—starting this year.” Learn more about Paul.

Jessica Matsaw // River Newe
“This place is all the things I want for my kids, and all the things I want for the young people of my Tribe.” Learn more about Jessica.

Dr. Sammy Matsaw // River Newe
"The gear and equipment is hands down our go-to for learning along whitewater rivers that get us through long grueling days in isolated scenic and wild riverscapes.” Learn more about Sammy.

Ann Gillard // The Venture Out Project
“LGBTQ+ people have always been in adventure sports and have insights and experiences to offer. My passion is to ensure rivers not only feel safe but also feel nurturing of the talents and interests of LGBTQ+ people.” Learn more about Ann.

Jaimie Richards // Project Canoe
A “highlight was getting all new PFDs for our program, it allowed us to throw away many of the 20+ year old ones we still had and provide new, top-notch gear to our participants for their trips." Learn more about Jaimie.

Naomi Elyard // Columbia Gorge Junior Kayak Club
“NRS thinks bigger than their own business. Through their generosity and community oriented mindset they help to increase the number of youth paddlers in the Columbia River Gorge.” Learn more about Naomi.

Andrea Knepper // Chicago Adventure Therapy
“I’m inspired by the NRS dual commitments to quality gear and access to water sports for communities that have traditionally been less represented in the outdoors.” Learn more about Andrea.

Ian Smith // The Watersmith Guild
Learn more about Ian.

Russell Davies // PTSD Veteran Athletes
“It’s amazing to see the transition that veterans make in the two weeks they are here and I’ve had many veterans inform me that this program undoubtedly saved their life.” Learn more about Russell.

Deming says, “We couldn’t be more proud of what our LEAD ambassadors and their organizations have accomplished over the past two years—and we can’t wait to see what this new team has in store for all of us.”

For more information about the LEAD Ambassador Program, visit:


About NRS

100% employee-owned, NRS is the world’s leading supplier of equipment and apparel for water recreation, safety and rescue. Founded in 1972 with a vision to create a better kind of company, NRS is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of its customers, employees and community. For more information on NRS, visit, email the company at or call 877.677.4327.