Adventure Impact

Kayak Out of Your Comfort Zone with Cotopaxi

103 miles. 24 hours. 9 adventurers. 2 open seats. 1 incredible adventure. Apply for Cotopaxi’s annual international expedition Founders Lifting Founders by June 30th.

103 miles. 24 hours. 9 adventurers. 2 open seats. 1 incredible adventure.

Apply by June 30th to join the expedition.


The first in a series of annual trips, Cotopaxi’s upcoming Cuba-Florida Kayak exemplifies the combination of volunteerism and adventure that is engrained in the company’s DNA. The group, which includes Cotopaxi executives, other entrepreneurs, and an Olympic gold medal-winner, is headed to Cuba at the end of the summer to find adventure and do some good. “All of the participants have a deep desire to experience the outdoors and have an epic, meaningful, adventurous experience,” says Stephan Jacob, Cotopaxi Co-founder and COO. “But we don’t want to just go on some adventure. We want to make an impact in the region we visit.”


Cotopaxi Team Davis Smith, Stephan Jacob, and Jordan Allred train regularly at Deer Creek, Jordanelle, Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake.

Inspired by a trip to the Philippines Jacob and CEO Davis Smith took while in school, the volunteer efforts will be focused on micro-entrepreneurship. “We’ll be working with a local program coaching small business owners in entrepreneurship and teaching basic business skills that can break the cycle of poverty,” says Jacob. “Creating a small business, creating a true livelihood—that’s where sustainable impact is achieved.”

Two positions on the voyage, one sponsored and one unsponsored, are open to the public in order to ensure the highest caliber trip possible. “We opened it up in hopes of finding someone with an amazing background who will really add to the experience with their talents and character,” says Jacob. One of the seats is sponsored to prevent cost from eliminating the otherwise ideal candidate. “This way, we can still open it up to highly accomplished, motivated, awesome people who are little bit younger and don’t quite have the purchasing power required for a trip like this.”

Constantly interacting with great people is one way Cotopaxi stays forward-thinking and avoids stagnancy. “Whether as a business or an individual, try to surround yourself with people that are better than you,” Jacob suggests. “I make sure I am in groups where the average person is better, smarter, more accomplished than I am. If you do this, you become motivated by the desire to keep up with the people around you.”

Stephan adds that putting yourself in situations that are outside your comfort zone will promote growth in all aspects of life. Whether it is a physical activity (like, say, kayaking 103 miles in one day), or something that is more taxing mentally or emotionally, pushing yourself to be better is essential. Traveling, he notes, is one way to do this. “You are born, grow-up, and live in a place you know,” he states, “and that can lead to complacency. Travel the world and put yourself in environments that are new and different and you grow as an individual.”


Cotopaxi is no stranger to lofty goals that force growth, but is founded on principles of innovation and leadership. “Starting a business is hard,” Jacob concludes. “Making it grow and thrive is difficult. Adding the aspiration to do good and do things the right way makes it even more difficult, but that’s why we did it: we wanted it to be different than the businesses we had before. So it’s a bigger challenge, but it’s one we embrace and are proud to pursue.”

Do you want in on this blend of adventure and humanitarianism? Good news: applications for the two open spots aren’t due until June 30th, so there is still time to get on board. For more information about the trip, the voyagers, and the Cotopaxi brand, go to