I can pretty much guarantee that you have seen one of David Fusilli’s edits online or have heard of Demshitz. If you haven’t you are definitely missing out. Take a read and check out some of David’s social media links at the bottom of this interview.
Photo: Bren Orton
How did you first get into kayaking? Who introduced you to the sport?
I first got into kayaking at the age of 7. My Dad taught me to roll in the Clarion University swimming pool.
What was your first kayak?
1st kayak was a home made??? I don’t think it had a name, but it was red with sparkles and had a sticker the back that said “red hot red” so I guess that was the name of the boat hahaha.
When did you realise that kayaking could be more than just a hobby?
Well I didn’t really like like kayaking until I was about 18 years old. From that point on it has been all kayaking, as much as possible or at least on the river as much as possible. I wanted to get better at the sport so I started to raft guide. This gave me income close to the river! I paddled the loop on the lower Youghiogheny everyday after work. During my 2nd season guiding on the Yough the local Dagger Rep Chuck Morris knew I was looking to update my freestyle boat and offered me a deal on 2 boats/year at about half price. All I had to do was 1st like the kayaks, tell people about them and help him out with a few shows that season. I was really stoked because I just really didnt see that coming or ever thought about getting a deal like that. Around the same time a fellow Yough paddler Josh Witich was really pushing me to compete in some freestyle events. So at this point the wheels started turning in my head.
How did Demshitz start? What is its genesis?
Demshitz started in Missoula Mt, while I was pretty much hitch hiking around the west with a kayak. I met up with some friends there. We were a bit mentally impaired during the birth of demshitz. Basically, my friend Dave George yelled Demshitz at this dude a few times. We laughed and laughed about this new found word. I mean with laughed for days, then weeks, we made stickers and started yelling it at festivals and I then was fortunate enough get sponsored by Pyranha this brought more attention to me and this amazing word Demshitz.
Who is your biggest source of inspiration within the paddling world (and why)?
Many people have inspired me over the years in great ways, however my Biggest source of inspiration has been the places. One of the main reason’s I wanted to be a sponsored kayaker was to be able to go to all these beautiful places. One of the main driving factors for me was seeing people surfing the Skookumchuck Narrows. I wanted to surf that wave in my kayak so bad, but the only job I could think of to allow me to travel so far was kayaking… in my head.
What does a regular week look like at this time of year?
Well, right now I have just returned home from worlds and before that was months and months of travel. So right now I chill out some. This week I will, shoot some photo’s and video for the new Werner Paddle the Odachi, I have another project for Five Ten I need to start shooting for, I will work out at some point almost eveyday. Sometimes thats a nice bike ride or a workout on the rings, answer some emails and post some photos, lots of photos.
What did you focus on to become comfortable running big or complex rapids? What allowed you to progress your skills?
I focused on making small not so complex rapids complex. What allowed me to progress my skills was being able to travel to more challenging whitewater. Pyranha made that dream reality.
Do you have any pre-paddling rituals to help calm your nerves or get you into the zone?
Around the time I was sponsored by Pyranha about 2006… yea almost 10 years ago?.. crazy. Anyway, around that time I was starting to get into Yoga pretty heavily. I was going to a class twice a week that fall-winter. This taught me how to breath, more so how to concentrate on my breathing. Being able to visualize your breath going in and out of you. This calms a person down and this is exactly what I do to calm myself. I wont run a drop until I have my self focused and my heart rate down. I have learned that if I go before I’m ready I have a shitty line most times. I won’t see the drop. We have all run drops and said “shit I dont even know what happened”. You weren’t ready yet. When I run a drop now it almost becomes slow motion. I will remember drops of water fallling with me and seeing the landing getting closer and closer. That means you were ready to peel out.
When and where was your last swim?
I swam this May on Upper Cherry creek. Some good friends roped me out of a hole. Thanks Louis and Chris!
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world to paddle?
I think I would like to do some really long overnighters in Peru. Overnighters are my favorite!
What paddling kit are you currently using?
I have been using Immersion Research since 2001. They sponsored me about 2007. I love the owners and they are a gear company. Thats all they do is kayaking gear. IR’s skirts are super bomber and if you give some of the new dry wear a chance you will not be disappointed and you will look damn good too.
What do you believe is the best kayak design to date?
Without a doubt the Pyranha 9R. You will all love this boat.
What do you think has been the most innovative change introduced in to the kayaking world?
Boat design, more specific rocker. Having a rockered boat, compared to a flat dancer or some shit, makes the boat so much safer and way easier to learn to paddle. The dudes that ran the shit in Dancers and what not where way harder than any of us modern day shit runners.
Follow me if you don’t already. I keep it funny with good images.
Demshitz (its under construction but will be sweet for media very soon!).