[VIDEO] George Armstrong’s First Rafting Trip in 1962

Posted May 26, 2021 by Jack Armstrong: grandson of founder George Armstrong
View time: 2 mins

When George, now 94 years old, stepped off shore and into his little raft on the Stanislaus River, he had no idea what he was getting into. George and his group spent more time in the river than in the raft that day. That infamous trip eventually led him to begin All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting and share the wonders of California rivers with the public. Hear him tell the story:

George Armstrong tells the story of his first rafting trip in 1962

In the beginning, way back in the early 60’s, there was very little activity on rivers. My first rafting trip on a river was with my brother and a nephew Pete, who was 17 at the time. We went on the Stanislaus River, a river that we were familiar with but had never been on it in a raft. We used my Montgomery Wards raft, a little small one, designed mainly for people to get out on the lake and maybe go fishing. But we got out on the river, not knowing what we were doing.

Well, the first big rapid we spilled over, again not knowing what we were doing. The lunch went floating past us on down the stream. All the way down the river, half of the time we were in the water and half of the time back on to the raft trying to make it go the right way. 

We really didn’t know anything and realized that we had to learn more. That continued to the next trip and the next one and for every experience we had since then till now.

Author Bio

Jack Armstrong

Jack grew up 35 minutes from AO headquarters, and is the grandson of our founder, George. His education includes a film degree and art studies from Biola University, as well as lots of experience breaking camera gear outside. After graduating college, he started an outdoors/action sports focused production company and is largely responsible for our video, photo, and social media content. Jack’s favorite trip is the Cal-Salmon, because of the river’s awe-inspiring beauty and the sweet rapids. When he’s not rafting or playing with cameras, Jack can be found skiing, surfing, visiting art galleries, or eating tacos.


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