‘Gold Rush: White Water’ Star Kayla Johanson Said She Was ‘On the Fence’ to Join Show

by Amy Myers
(Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

When Dustin Hurt offered Kayla Johanson the opportunity to join his crew on Gold Rush: White Water, her answer wasn’t an immediate yes.

Johanson’s hesitation is understandable. Joining a show as big as Gold Rush was a huge decision. Not only would she have to adjust to a new crew, but she would also have to learn to work on camera at all times. That’s a lot of pressure for an introverted gold dredger who’s worked on her own for years. Not to mention, she had no idea if Hurt’s operation was going to be successful. Needless to say, it was a big gamble to join Gold Rush: White Water.

In an interview with Hollywood Soapbox, Johanson detailed why she was reluctant to say yes.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it yet or not, mainly because I already had my own dredging operation going here,” Johanson shared.

She continued, “I usually work by myself, so I’m my own boss. I make my own schedule, and I don’t really have anyone telling me what to do. At most, I might work with other person if I bring in some help, but for the most part I work by myself. So I was kind of the fence if I wanted to change that and leave that behind to go work with a bunch of different people, which was a little bit challenging at first.”

Eventually, Johanson agreed to become the newest member of Gold Rush: White Water, and she couldn’t be happier.

“It ended up being really fun, so I’m glad I did it.”

‘Gold Rush: White Water’ Star Details Conditions in Alaska

Once Johanson became a part of Hurt’s crew, she had more natural obstacles to face. While the new Gold Rush: White Water star was well familiar with the challenges of working with river rapids, some elements are out of their control. Much of the team’s success revolves around how much precipitation the area had seen over the winter. With more rainfall comes more flooding and more sheets of ice drifting in the water.

“We can get a lot of rain, which can cause big floods later in the season, or in the very beginning in the spring when there’s still a lot of ice, you can have ice dams that build up and then release,” Johanson explained.

“And that causes major flooding, but also giant sheets of ice coming down the river can destroy your equipment. So there’s definitely a lot going against you up here.”

Then there’s also the matter of a few apex predators prowling for the first fish of the spring season.

“Not to mention, then you have the threat of bears,” the Gold Rush: White Water star added. “You’re not at the top of the food chain up here.”