Davids Videos Davids Photo's Davids Writings Friends of Davids About Author
About David Norell

Friends of David Norell

David Norell Memorial Funds

Keep the Revolution going! If you'd like to make a donation in David's name please send a check to either or both of the following organizations:

Idaho Rivers United
David Norell Memorial Fund

2600 Rose Hill
Boise ID 83705

David Norell Memorial Fund

1050 W. State Street
Boise ID 83702

Memories/Tributes & Stories from Friends

Andrew West (as shared at David’s Memorial Service)
  I first want to say thanks to Rae Ann and Mike for having Dave. That guy’s the best friend I ever had and the times that I spent with Dave were among the best in my life. The attitudes we cultivated towards life were the things that have shaped the way I live and the life that I have today. Right now, I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and things are going great. I wanted to thank all of you guys [friends] too, because even with Dave’s death this has been just a fantastic experience for me; all around he’s had a good impact on me. When they heard Dave died, probably the first thing a lot of people thought was he died kayaking. But it’s not surprising to me that that wasn’t the way he went, because he was methodic, calculating, smart and safe. For all the people here or elsewhere who have ever said “you guys are crazy, you’re going kill yourselves [kayaking]”, I just want to say- “Ha! I told you so!”- on Dave’s behalf.

You could look at it as though- wow, it’s rough. Dave had new sponsors, his job was going good, he met a girl that was good, and you could just say it’s a terrible time to go when everything’s going right. But I think just the opposite. I think that it’s a great time to go when everything’s going well in your life. You know, if you’re on track and you’re doing what you want to do, and if you go happy like that and you live your life properly, then I think that’s the best time you can die. If I could have one wish it would just be that everybody would die the same way as Dave, with their life on track.

Dan Menten (as shared at David’s Memorial Service)

I was one of Dave’s closest friends; I’ll definitely take that forever with me. I still remember the day that I met Dave. I still remember the way he looked, and I thought, man, who is this guy? He was walking around like he owned the place, this little guy.

This is a poem I wrote on the airplane on my way to David's memorial service:

My mind was aghast as I arose today to find myself at a loss.
How do I pay tribute? I really don’t know.

The ocean of mirrored glass beneath my winged-carrier
To the community of friends paying respect to a soul.

What a life! Twenty-four and ripe,
Eager experiences like memories played it with gold.

Living for yourself. Some said selfish, myself included.
Was I misdirected? Absolutely!

My respect is deep, I looked up, idolized---
And suddenly you were gone.

Do you know I felt this way? Loved you?
And how I couldn’t believe you’d slipped away?

Falling and crashing off of rocks, under trees.
Multi-day Sierra trips, pilgrimage to B.C.

For all you’ve done and been called,
“Dangerous Dave” was no joke.

With enough motivation, strength and drive,
I will pray for your Love with
The number of days I’m alive

As shared by Dan at David Memorial Barbecue, Boise July 2004
  I met Dave in the parking lot at Banks (ID) Next spring (97) we went on an unforgettable road trip with Jordan Dew, and Brett Gleason. This trip helped to define who I would become. We paddled the Little White Salmon river near Portland. Dave went deep off Spirit Falls, lost his paddle and got shoved behind the falls into a cave. We retrieved his paddle and roped it down to him in the cave. He was sitting out of his boat on a large log with an unforgettable look on his face. In traditional Dave form, he was upset at himself for the bad line off the falls. We drove to Cali, paddled in the Redwoods and made a big loop back up into OR.

Dan Menten: Kaweah River, 2000
  That picture of David is a classic...all of those bushes are poison oak...There we were, on the Kaweah river, the spring of 2000. We had just arrived to paddle a section called Hospital Rock, but didn't have enough time to do it that day. But there was a creek that came into the River called the Marble Fork, it looked fun (with waterfalls and slides), so we decided to hike up the trail and give it a go. The trail just kept on going up the hillside, and it started getting dark so we broke off the trail and headed for the creek. First we were wrestling through chaparral, the thickest imaginable bushes possible.
We would throw our boats over the bushes, and then crawl underneath the bushes, slow going... We got past the chaparall and negotiated our way down a slick granite slab, until we had no options but to descend into a gully. That's where I took the picture, and the expression on Dave's face truly captures the feeling at that moment...we were tired, hot and sweaty, surrounded by oak, and truly pushing ourselves. We made it to the river, and after paddling the last few rapids in the dark, we made it back to the car. I got a rash of the oak, Dave didn't...But I can't help thinking of the way his heart was beating while we were on those kinds of excursions, in a sense it is borderline miraculous that he (we) struggled on, as I felt like I was pushing myself to the limits of what my body could take on several occasions.
So, that photo embodies the truly hard work that we were willing to extend ourselves towards to reach our goals, and also of the sense of accomplishment that comes with attaining those goals. Thanks for continuing to spread the message of David’s life.

TYLER SMITH (as shared at David’s Memorial Service)
  I flew in yesterday from Oregon . Dave was one of my very best friends when I was a teenager. He played guitar and I played bass and we made some poorly played songs. We were pretty terrible, though we had a lot of fun and screamed and danced around and used a lot of energy. Whenever things were rough we could play music together and just release any aggression or anything. He was a great friend to have because we could always be out doing something exciting. I’m actually the guy also that that he rode the rails with. We went (along with my dog) from Portland to Pocatello and around to some other places. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have Dave ever. He’s definitely made me happier and more energetic and helped me to have a good outlook on life. Before this happened I told my girlfriend that I wanted to die with my boots on, doing something that I love. I think it’s great that Dave was doing things that meant something to him.

LINDSEY HAZLEWOOD (as shared at David’s Memorial Service)
  Dave and I hung out a lot the past few months and he meant a lot to me. I’d just go along with his energy. He was so supportive of me finishing school. I’d be writing lesson plans and he’d come over and he’d be so bored. He’d say: “just finish, hurry up!” Probably the first time he came over, we were hanging out in my room and I was on the computer writing lessons plans. All of a sudden I turned around and he was doing front flips on my bed . Sure enough, five minutes later I was over there and he was teaching me how to do front flips on my bed. I want to let everybody know, you all meant so much to Dave. He had so many stories about all of you and he loved all of you. I just met Dru and he loved Dru so much. He loved his family so much; I want you to know that.

As shared by Lindsey at David’s Memorial Barbecue, July 2004
  I met Dave at Old Chicago in Boise. We were introduced by Mike McFarland. We hit it off right away; all we did was talk about kayaking all night and it was so fun! He called me 2 days later to go skiing, and that was that! During Spring Break I was sick and Dave came over to take care of me. He tried to make me eat a clove of garlic. I said “No way! I would rather be sick!”

Chad Randol (as told to Idaho Statesman, 4/24/04)
  4/24/04— “Dave’s drive is unbelievable,” Chad said, joking about how kayakers would marvel at his boundless energy. David was known as “Dangerous Dave” and his nickname was especially appropriate after a trip in 2003. A group that included Chad, David , Dan Menten, Joe Carberry and another kayaker from Oregon, traveled to Bear Creek which flows into the Wild Horse River near Council There was a two tiered 70-foot waterfall that everybody but Dave decided to walk around. “It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen,” said Chad [beautiful footage of this can be seen in David’s 2003 Idaho White Water Wrap up.

David’s Mom: How David got his nickname “Dangerous Dave.”
  Some people, myself included, always thought that David got this name from his extreme kayaking experiences. However I was told by one of David’s friends that he actually got the name from a time when he was driving and passing a car in a rather dangerous situation.” That actually used to scare me more than his kayaking.

JOE CARBERRY (As shared at David’s Memorial Service. Joe was there on Bogus Basin road right after David died and he was the one who notified us of David’s death)

I actually helped organize the race where Dave made his last attempt to top a challenge. I also have done a lot of kayaking with Dave in the last ten years. A couple of British Columbia guys came into the room and we did an expedition last summer on Upper Hard Creek. Those guys drove all night to be here. That’s one thing about Dave is how many people he brought together all over the west coast. I’m sure that the news traveled throughout the United States; it’s a pretty big deal in the white water community. I wrote a little press release this week about this incident and I think one of the things that struck me about Dave the most, and Dru touched on it, the time when he talked about the top of Dave’s game. I think the top of Dave’s game was living freely, living unpossessed, living for lack of monetary concern. That was one of the best examples that the guy could leave is just to live your life the way you want to live it. I think that Dave did things right and I definitely admire him for that and I appreciate being on plenty of trips with him and working with him in a lot of different ways.

BRADEN FANDRICH (As shared at David’s Memorial Service & a later letter)

I’m one of Dave’s buddies from B.C. I met Dave in California and we lived in his car and traveled around together for about two months. I was sleeping outside on the dirt and Dave had this little bed set up in the back of his Ford Escort. For that two months, we were living on twenty dollars a week for food, for both of us, which is pretty awesome. And that basically sums up Dave right there, I’d say is getting the most out of everything in his life; he had extremely high energy and definitely was a great guy. Dangerous Dave will always be one of my real good buddies. I enjoyed kayaking with him, he had great skills, experience and judgement. He really wasn’t dangerous. I had many great adventures with him and we always seemed to get out of all our rivers without any carnage. Dave will always be remembered by me as extremely pumped about everything, one of the most positive people I know, and always having a lot of energy which he put towards getting the most out of life. He will be missed in BC.

Byl Kravetz (as shared at David’s Memorial Barbecue July 2004)

I met Dave way back in the Crazy Horse days (high school), going to shows and skating. He was always the craziest guy I knew, up for anything ‘cept sitting around. He always kept me motivated. I had tons of good times with him. He even lived in my backyard in a tent one summer. I remember coming home to the whole house re-arranged so he could practice break-dancing. There was David break dancing on a giant piece of cardboard. When frustrated with Dave he’d disarm you with his “what am I doing wrong?” attitude. It was stuff like that that made Dave such an awesome friend to have. Thanx for the times Dave.

Matthew Elam (as shared at David’s Memorial Barbecue July 2004)

I met Dave in high school. I was starting out kayaking and he was already an all-star. He took me under his wing. One memorable trip was when we went on tour in OR (Tressel Hole, McKinney, Rogue and Deschutes). We ended the trip by giving Jinsing and his dog Moonshine a ride home. Needless to say it was an interesting ride home in Dave’s little brown Honda. Dave and I had lots of good times. I will miss him greatly.

Molly McClain Durango friend)

David was a very vibrant and spirited young man with such a zest for life and adventure. He always encouraged me and others around him to try new things. We had fun towing our kayaks behind a jeep down snowy hills near Durango. He was also excited to go along with me for his first hot air balloon ride. I feel lucky to have gotten to know David, and my heart goes out to you and your family.

Sam Reed

I first met David in 2002 at ClimaxWave when I was learning to kayak. I was the guy who would get in line and get washed out before the wave. Dave was right their after my 3rd attempt, giving me tips and encouragement to stick with it. There are no words to describe how much your son’s generosity and willingness to help a beginner has influenced my life. I am now a class V+ boater and paddling is definitely a large part of my life. I would have never found it without your son. David has influenced all of us and the sport in such a positive way. There’s too bad there’s not a Dave at every wave and every run, but paddlers who knew him will always keep him with us and carry on his passion and generosity to all boaters. All who knew him suffered through a very hard and great loss, but it’s so nice to have the memories of him that will always keep him around.

Dixie- Maree Prickett (Pyranha team)

(In response to a posting on boater talk that I had written in regards to the sad loss of David, Matt Sullivan , Charlie Beavers, and Daniel de la Vergne). There is a haunting photo of Charlie’s old red truck in California on the way to run Upper Cherry Creek in the summer of 2002 with David, Daniel , Matt-nuskool, and Charlie. They are all standing next to the truck. It really is unbelievable how life can change in the blink of an eye. I miss these boys so much-not a day goes by that I don't think about them. They all lived life to the fullest and followed their passions—and that is more than one can ask for… David was such a unique person—I loved his drive, passion, energy and enthusiasm. I think they must all be together—having a blast-running the most incredible rivers and looking down on us. I feel those boys with me all the time.

Chad Crabtree (Durango)

I first met Dave when he was living in Dgo with skunk hair, being a punk, and driving that beat-up Subaru. He and Toby Scarpella were the 1st guys to lead me down Vallecito Creek. Over the course of the following years, I ran into Dave all over the country as we both were searching out water. In the winter of 2001 Dave and I found ourselves in Costa Rica together. We paddled tons of great rivers up until his accident in Rio Perralta. I was the one to hike him out of the jungle, load him onto the dirt-bike with a local, and send him off to town to have his lip sewn back together. The last time we got to hang out was at OR that following fall. We spent good time reminiscing about the CR trip, and discussing our future plans.

Dave was an incredible person and paddler, and he is in my mind every time I’m on the river. Ever since Toby died, I seem to see a butterfly or two no matter where I am or which creek or river it is. I like to think they are Dave, Toby, Charlie B and the rest of my fallen friends that are watching over me while paddling.

Timmy (from Durango)

I met Dave my 1st year at Fort Lewis College in Durango. We lived in the same dorm. When I first met him I thought he seemed a bit crazy, and he was. We would go to the cafeteria early in the morning for breakfast. Dave would pile all kinds of stuff onto his plate and mix it up, then put huge amounts of Tabasco on. It looked like someone had hurled on his plate. I asked him how he could eat that crap and his reply “because it’s good.” I saw him eat that everyday for an entire semester.

He was also good about getting me to the river because I had no car and he did. We would go to the play hole in the evenings and sometimes stay well past dark. Now, I realize that the hole was nothing spectacular to him and he had seen much better. Yet he was super stoked to be there. To me, it was amazing because I had just started boating and Dave was nice enough to be giving me some guidance. I think Dave was mainly stoked to see someone begin to see kayaking the way he did. I found him to be a genuinely good person. I just wish they made more like him. He will be missed.

Corey Volt

Mrs. Norell, it was a pleasure to finally meet you this week in Reno (whitewater festival May 07).........It makes me happy that you are keeping David’s memory alive. David was one of the most inspirational people that I have ever had the pleasure to spend time with. I first met Dave on the Murtagh section of the Snake River by Twin Falls.......I was paddling with my uncle(the guy that got me into paddling) and we met Dave and Andrew West about half way down the run. After paddling with him that day I decided that I wanted to be like Dave. The amount of energy he gave off was amazing and the way he paddled was borderline angelic. He paddled with a grace that I have yet to see matched by anyone. There are so many great memories of Dave that it would take years of writing to describe all of them. One of my Fav. moments was trying to learn to break dance in my garage in the winter of 2002 when he was living with me during the Olympics. It was so cool watching how talented he was at every thing he tried. I want you to know you can call on me or any kayaker out there…You are part of a much larger family.

Erik Boomer

I met Dave in the spring of 04` shortly before he passed. I had seen him in magazines and movies for a few years and looked up to him a lot. He came up to McCall/Riggins and we paddled for about a week. We surfed in Gold’s Hole, he seemed like he wouldn't tire out, he had tons of energy. then we paddled a creek, I was new to the creeking at that point and it may have seemed like a chore for him at that time but he pushed me. we came up to a portage and I pulled over in the pool above and I said so here we portage right? he looked at me and said I see an eddy in there just above the log jam. I am going. he paddled through the entrance caught the eddy and looked back at me just to see what I would do. I paddled down to him and we ended up having to hike back up and portage at the original spot anyway.

We hiked up Hazard Creek 5 miles to see a falls. On the way down we were talking about planning for later in life and he was very adamant to say "you don’t know if " you will even be alive when you are older. You may as well make every day the best and live in the moment" I often think about that... From what I could see he stuffed a couple of lifetimes into his 24 years. He may have gotten flack for living broke, hungry and happy but he definitely was not storing up treasures here on earth that he could not take with him.

Leland Davis

Saw your post on Boatertalk, (re: the loss of Charlie Beavers, Matt Sullivan, David and Daniel de La Vergne) and thought I would email. There's no explaining so much loss to the paddling community in past years. I suppose it's simply that there are so many of us who are so close that the odds just favor losing members of our group who we care about. Some the river takes, and others fall to the things that effect any community. But they're still here with me. I can still see Pablo's broad smile and Charlie's mischievous grin. I can still feel Dave's boundless enthusiasm - from the moment he introduced himself to me at NARR to hanging with him in NY, SLC, or BC. I sure wish I had taken him up on the offer to go with them on the North Stein. I will always remember Todd's up-for-anything attitude, and New School Matt's awkward but endearing manner. And now Daniel - from the biggest punk on the river to someone I would count on to drop into anything with in 6 short years. They're all still right here with me. I'll never run USB or NSV in CO without thinking of Daniel back when he was a punk. I'll never hang out in the Cheakamus parking lot in BC without remembering hanging with New School and Todd - or how psyched I was when Dave rolled in. We watched some of his new video in my van. I'll always pause on the Rocky Broad when I pass by Pablo's place - even though it's been 8 years - and take a minute to remember him. They'll never go away as long as I'm still here, and they're on the river every time I am.

Njord Rota

I am a huge fan of David. I came across your post on HYPERLINK "http://www.boatertalk.com. I'm the former publisher and founder of Kayak Magazine. I'm still in shock about David. I did not find out about David until several weeks after his passing, as I was down in Mexico paddling (go figure) and did not know until coming home. I just wanted to express my admiration for Dave. He is truly one of the few people out there that had the energy, imagination, and drive that set him apart from his peers. His emails and phone calls were highlights in our small office as we tried to put a magazine together from the spare rooms of my old house. I am currently reflecting on the friends and colleagues that I have lost over the years. Dave's passing saddens me the most because he was a "true" believer, doing everything that it took to live his life to the fullest. I like to think that we had a lot in common and shared a bond in our passion about kayaking, fun, and living life!
David's friendship is something that I will treasure forever.

Eric Freeburg

I met David at many of the kayak festivals (I am a slalom racer) but really got to know him last year. I lived in Park City and drove to Twin Falls to the Bliss wave on the Snake River where I paddled with David and Corey Volt. I really enjoyed paddling with him, and hoped to work with him on some reality shows (Apprentice, Survivor—[David was in the process of setting up an interview for a cameraman position with Apprentice 2 the day before he died]. We had similar paths with branching out from kayaking to video world. He impressed me with the monthly emails I told him to send. Most people wouldn’t go through with it, but he had what it takes. On the Sunday after David passed, I was kayaking on the same lake I had kayaked all week, but one thing was different. The serenity. Instead of windy and cold like it was the entire week, it was calm and peaceful and not a cloud in sight. Looking back, I think that David had a hand in that, as a special gift for me.

Trey Chace

I was shocked to hear of David’s death from a newspaper ad here in Jackson Hole. Dave and I had met each other only a year prior in BC (his favorite place to kayak I'm sure because it is so scary...they say all other creek boating is only training for BC) I was filming for the White Album and met Dave who was on his way to some random creek I'd never heard of. But he seemed fired up and ready to go, so I just followed him out to the gorge. Dave did not waste any time; and when you say he died happy, I know you are right, because he never let time slip away. He practically jumped out of the car straight over a 30 footer, then plowed down another series of waterfalls that you couldn’t pay me enough to try! I said to myself, this guy needs a camera on him at all times!' So that is how we met. I did not get to go on the N stein trip, but he gave me the footage for the White Album because he didn’t think he was making another BHH. There is some other footage of him in the WA in the BC seg, as well as a little Dave extra in my new film. I put him in the end just having a good time with a smile as always, as well as his teaser for the video that never came out.

Seth Randal (a portion his email to staff at KTVB , the day after he died)

I wanted to comment on the loss of our week end news editor, Dave Norell, He died Saturday during an athletic competition; he was just 24. David had been here just a few months. Those of us who worked closely with him were touched by his enthusiasm and energy. He was hard working and upbeat. I don’t ever remember hearing him complain. When she broke the news of his death to me, David’s mom said “he really loved working at Channel 7.” He wanted to be a filmmaker , and had in fact produced several kayaking videos. One day, he proudly showed me an article he had written for a kayaking magazine [probably about the N. Stein expedition]. He attacked life head on. He loved the outdoors, especially river sports. In closing I would like to share a quote from David’s own website [from BHH] “the loss of a kayaking soul is always tough. But we must persist on. True feelings and emotions between comrades shine through in this grand finale.”

Jay Moffatt March 2006

I very well may be in that same picture that was > written about at Charlie's Memorial in Steamboat. I would be the one with the red hair. I first met Dave about 8-9 years ago here in West Virginia. We worked together a little bit video boating on the Gauley river and we met up during a brief road trip to the green river in North Carolina. I remember showing Dave and Jordan down the river and we came to the biggest rapid on the River “Gorilla”. (Green River, near Asheville, NC). We all got out to scout, I told them what the standard line was and proceeded to show them. As I was approaching the main falls of the rapid I got spun around and sure enough went backwards over Gorilla. Everything worked out fine as I looked up at the boys on the rock and smiled I saw their big, wide eyes, and shitty grins on > their> faces. I later saw my run through that rapid on Dave's video "The Revolution". Dave and I continued to see each other around the rodeos and different kayak events. We paddled for the same kayak company "Pyranha". We both got offered a spot to ride in the team truck in 2002 where we went up to Montana and to the panhandle of Idaho and down to California for some great kayaking missions. I stayed for a night or two at Dave's Mom's house and I remember meeting Dave's dad when we were rolling out of Boise in the White Dodge "Extreme Expeditions" Pyranha team truck I remember getting our picture taken and if those photos could be found I would love to have one.
I remember the last time I saw Dave. It was at the Outdoor Retailer Show Aug 2003 in Salt Lake City. Dave had won the "Big Gun Show" down river event with a kickflip off a 70ft waterfall in B.C. We were all out to dinner at a nice Tahi one night with the owner of Pyranha and 6-10 other people within the Pryanha kayak family. Dave and I talked a good bit that night about some possible future missions for the next spring maybe and how I really wanted to go up to the Stein.
I was living up in Washington when I heard about Dave's death. I Made the long journey by myself across the high plains to Boise later that week for his Memorial. I guess all we have is our memories. I am grateful for the ones I do have and the experiences that I have had with your son and all my friends that have passed. (Daniel, Charlie, Matt, David, Kelly Russell, Kenny Gould, )

Skip Armstrong September 2007

I first met David in Durango, Colorado in the fall of 1998 at a beginning kayaking class that he was helping instruct. We were instantly friends, I couldn't believe how much energy and enthusiasm he had, which made learning to kayak that much more fun for me. We had lot's of good times together - a trip down Westwater in December... super-boofs of frozen rocks and paddling in a raging snowstorm. A last second all-night drive from Colorado to Boise for some high-water Payette paddling and some serious beatdowns for me. It was the first time I visited Idaho and I can't imagine a better introduction. We later became roomates for a short time while he worked at Bomber Gear and after he moved back to Boise we worked together to build The Revolution I and II websites and got some photo's published of him running a waterfall near Durango. David was always pushing himself and encouraging others to do the same. Simply put, he made everything he was doing a lot of fun. I loved that about David. To this day David inspires me. His energy, creativity and drive will always be a model of how I want to live my life.

Paddlers featured in The Revolution II

David Norell

Andre Benoit

Braden Fandrich

Corey Boux

Dan Menten

Andrew West

Matt Elam

Scott Feindel

Corey Volt

A note from Rae Ann Norell
I would like to express my appreciation to Skip Armstrong, David’s good friend and fellow kayaker. David met Skip in Durango in 1998. Skip was David’s original Revolution web designer. Skip has spent many hours this summer helping me modify the website to get it back up and running again. I am deeply grateful for all his hard work on this project!
Rae Ann Norell

Dangerous Dave