Garrett Ritter Kababik
Co-Founder & CEO, Channel Islands Outfitters
A leader in the outdoor industry regionally, Garrett began at the age of 13 as a River Guide on the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania. Over his 6 years on the river, Garrett developed a love and passion for leading groups into the wilderness inspiring him to graduate from the University of New Hampshire with a BS in Recreation Management Policy Administration and a focus in Outdoor Education. Garrett was hired as General Manager for Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara right out of college and continued with Paddle Sports until early 2009 when he left for the Appalachian Mountains to thru-hike the AT from Georgia to Maine. This experience was the catalyst for the realization of his vision and in October 2010 Garrett, with partners Fraser Kersey and Johnny Dresser, founded Channel Islands Outfitters and purchased Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara.
As a guide-owned company, Garrett, Fraser, and Johnny have established Channel Islands Outfitters as a mission and values-driven business based on the common goal of preserving the oceans and natural places through CIO’s education-based and market-driven restoration model. In July of 2013, CIO was certified as a For Benefit Corporation, to establish a legacy behind the founder’s values. By setting this foundation, CIO is fundamentally driven by the overall goal to create and leverage sustainable business ventures that viably reduce human impact while promoting individual capacity building, education and engagement in nature. CIO continues to transform a traditionally retail-heavy, seasonal, and geographically-limited business model into one that promotes continual use through their Adventure Co-Op, has a continued need year-round through their prestigious training programs (paddling, wilderness education, and guide training), and simultaneously encourages healthy living, community building, and environmental restoration.
The company’s Adventure Co-Op eliminates the need to purchase, transport, and store individual equipment, while promoting education, training, and community. By sharing the equipment, less gear needs to be produced and stronger community ties are created. Channel Islands Outfitters continues to pioneer new models of engagement and interaction with nature, demonstrating the impact of clean business principles in the outdoor industry.