Expedition Manager - Barbara Edington
Barbara is West's middle sister and a veteran of the National Geographic Amazon Express expedition, where she managed and
posted blog reports, handled the international finances, dealt with military contacts and the occasional surliness of expedition leaders. All communications to the Volga River Expedition go through Barbara. She can be contacted at:
Moscow Logistics - Egor Voskoboynikov
Egor is in charge of gathering the paddlers from the airport and ushering us, our gear and our Epic Kayaks
through Moscow for the ten hour drive up to the head waters of the Volga River in the Valdai Hills northwest
of Moscow. He's a badass at most all sports and excels in white water kayaking.
Texas-Russia Logistics - Marat Epshtein
Marat was born and raised in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, in southern Russia. He now lives in Austin, Texas with his wife. Marat
provides the immensely important link between Texas and Russia, but he's far more than a mere translator. Marat is
equally comfortable behind a plate of chicken fried steak as he is behind a bowl of borsch. The education he has provided to
the team regarding customs, culture, infrastructure and vodka cannot be learned in a guidebook. Having negotiated
partnerships, transportation, permits and many other aspects of the expedition, Marat has saved us from a multitude of
Volga Delta Logistics - http://www.procosta.ru/
Anatoly and Ilmira of Procosta in Astrakhan are the experts on anything having to do with the delta of Europe's mightiest
river. They are helping the Volga River Expedition with transportation, permits and education regarding the treasure that is the delta region leading into the Caspian Sea. Procosta is the premier organization, specializing in fishing, hunting, lodging,
recreation, travel and guide services throughout the region.
Jeff Wueste - Kayaker
Jeff is a building contractor in Austin, Texas. He's been racing ultra-marathon canoe and kayaks for 25 years. He was part of the first expedition to paddle the
entire length of the Amazon River from it's most distant source to the sea: The Amazon Express in 2012. Jeff was raised in the Sonoran desert in west Texas, participates in yoga for the past 10 years and behind his redneck veneer is a closeted intellectual, occasionally committing philosophy given half a chance.
Jason Jones - Kayaker
Jason was also a member of the Amazon Express team. He's got decades of experience as a saltwater and freshwater fisherman. Jason has a PhD in Eastern
Medicine with a specialty in acupuncture. Jason has been racing canoes since the mid 1990's, though he grew up near the Texas coast and has spent his entire
life on the water. Jason and West attended Southwest Texas State University together, where Jason beat West up on a regular basis in karate. West remembers
this and is just waiting for the right moment when Jason is fast asleep.
West Hansen - Expedition Leader
West began kayaking back in the 1980's, then started racing in ultra-marathon canoe and kayak races in the early 1990's. He led the first expedition to paddle the entire length of the Amazon River from it's most distant source to the sea. The 4100+ miles took 111 days, through 500 miles of uncharted white water, then 3800 miles of cloud and rain forest. West graduated from Southwest Texas State University and works for his family's business as a Social Worker, helping elderly people stay out of nursing homes, hospitals and funeral homes. Leading this first kayaking descent of the Volga River is another step in how he is living the rest of his life.