Meet Brad Dimock!
Image above by David Zickl
UPDATE in 2021: Brad Dimock has retired from AzRA. However, he’s part of our company’s history, so we didn’t want to remove his profile!
Showcasing our guides is one of our favorite things to do; next up is Brad Dimock! He’s been around Grand Canyon and AzRA for quite some time. If you haven’t been on the river with him, you’ve probably heard his name if you’ve done any research in Grand Canyon. He’s written a couple books about peoples of Grand Canyon, and builds and fixes boats that travel down the Colorado River. Without further ado…meet Brad!
Where were you born?
I grew up in Ellis Hollow, a rural area outside of Ithaca, New York, on the tenuous border between New England and Appalachia. I fled to Arizona after high school in 1971 to attend Prescott College and did my first trip through Grand Canyon that fall.
What else do you want to tell us about your past?
By 1973 I was working summers on motor trips through the Canyon and by 1975 had slid down the slippery slope to Trip Leader. From there, I migrated to rowing trips and dories in 1978. By then I had abandoned graduate school to boat full time. I tried to retire from the river twenty years later but failed miserably. During my attempted retirement, I wrote a few books on early mythic river runners—Buzz Holmstrom, Glen and Bessie Hyde, and Bert Loper. In the early 2000s I suffered a relapse and have been an AzRA guide ever since.
When did you start guiding at AzRA?
2003 or 2004–can’t remember exactly. But I sure love it here.
What type of trips do you guide?
Since coming to AzRA, I have been motoring, paddle-boating, and rowing rafts and dories. I have now retired from motoring, but hope to log a few more years rowing and paddling before throwing in the towel for the second time.
What are your favorite rapids and hikes?
Well, Hermit, of course, because it’s the most flabbergasting ride in the Canyon and I’ve only flipped there five times. My favorite hike is to the upper end of Tequila Beach to look upstream at Lava Falls, having made it through one more time.
What do you love about the Canyon and guiding?
I think it is the lifestyle and the tight shared community of Grand Canyon river people.
Any other interesting facts about yourself you would like guests to know?
I have the unenviable record of having run more types of unruly historic wooden boats through Grand Canyon than anyone ever—many of them dreadful experiences.
What do you do when not guiding at AzRA in the off-season?
I build whitewater dories, and repair, restore, and modify existing ones. I make oars and cast bronze boat parts. And I teach and mentor these archaic, arcane, and mostly useless skills, both at my boatshop in Flagstaff in the winter and at WoodenBoat School in Maine during the blazing heat of midsummer.
Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do?
Pretty much everything I do centers around Grand Canyon boats and boaters, past and present, and the community that encompasses. You name it.
Any advice you would give guests that are planning a trip with us?
Try to leave your other world, its accouterments, and your expectations behind. Let Grand Canyon and her pulsing heart—the Colorado River—work their magic on you. The more gear, gadgetry and presumptions your bring, the more you’ll miss of what Grand Canyon has to offer you.