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Ash Manning is a whitewater rafting guide from Cleveland, Georgia. She has spent the last 10+ years on rivers in the southeast region of the U.S., and in 2018, she hiked 900 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Ash is more than just a leader to our youth at SOAR. She is an actress and advocate for body positivity and inclusion within the outdoor industry. Ash starts a conversation about how the outdoor industry still lacks accessibility to appropriately sized gear for plus-size adventurers in the film All Bodies.

In the film, Ash is seen paddling down the Chattooga river, a place close to home and to her heart. This is where Ash started her guiding journey and worked for five years. Now, Ash is an integral part of our Academy staff.

The film received the People’s Choice award for the Paddling Film Festival in 2022. The film is raw and beautiful, and perfectly captures the adversity some may face when trying to find gear.

“Definitely a lot of emotion came out after a decade of just making things work for me, as far as gear and outdoor apparel goes,” Ash said, surrounding the film and its message.

We asked Ash the brands she recommends that are striving to be more inclusive, and here are some of her favorites:

Lesser known brands: Alder Apparel, Alpine Parrot, Alpine Curves, Plus Snow
Bigger Brands: Smartwool, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, REI, Merrell

Gear: Six Moons, Granite Gear, Gregory, Big Agnes

Ash has personally worked with most of these brands as a model or a gear tester and believes in the quality and mission of the companies.

If you would like to view the trailer or rent the film, you can do so here. We are so proud of Ash and are lucky to have her as a member of our staff. Congratulation on your award!

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