Bruce Furrer – Werner Paddles

Sultan, Washington-based Bruce Furrer recalls growing up with a garage in which cars were rarely parked. "My father (Werner Furrer Sr.) built kayaks there just as a way of life. It's just what we did." The family used them to explore the waterways of the Pacific Northwest together, and as his son Werner Jr. became a master at paddle-making, the family slowly built a business around their shared passion. Bruce didn't consider getting in the family business until after a short stint at his first job at a Paper Mate pen factory in Santa Monica. "One real job was enough," he says. Bruce is now the company President, and has steered Werner through the paddle sports boom with a fleet of ultralight and strong paddles for kayaks, SUPs, and canoes. The company's recent success allowed Bruce to tick off a few trips that have long been on his list – getting back to the roots of why the family started the business to begin with. "Last year I finally paddled the middle fork of the Salmon river, a six-day trip I've wanted to do forever," he says.