search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
P“ADDLERS USED TO BE PIONEERS,” SAYS SIGLE. “THEY WERE RECLUSES, VENTURING INTO DEEP CANYONS


IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. WHITEWATER PARKS BRING RIVERS TO EVERYONE’S FRONT DOOR. THEY’VE CLEARLY MADE BOATING MORE ACCESSIBLE.”


As the story goes, Michal Smolen was afraid of water when his family moved to Charlotte about a decade ago. After a few false starts, Smolen got hooked on kayaking at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The rest of the story demon- strates the impact of whitewater parks: By the age of 16, Smolen was competing on the World Cup junior slalom circuit; in 2014 he was crowned the under-23 world champion; and now, heading into Rio, Smolen is America’s best shot at an Olympic medal in whitewater. According to Risa Shimoda, International Whitewater Hall of Famer and


chair of USA Freestyle Kayaking, this is the greatest benefit of whitewater parks. They “soften the edge of what has otherwise suffered from whitewater porn,” says Shimoda, by bringing paddling to the masses. In Charlotte, home of U.S. whitewater paddling program, Shimoda says slalom athletes like Smolen have been recognized in the community for their achievements in the same way as mainstream basketball and football stars. Meanwhile, competitive slalom and freestyle paddlers benefit from acces-


sibility and predictably. It’s no surprise that most international competitions are hosted on engineered water. When the 2015 World Freestyle Champion-


CARNAGE DURING THE PAYETTE RIVER GAMES AT KELLY’S WHITEWATER PARK . PHO T O: MIKE LEEDS


ships were held on Canada’s Ottawa River, pundits predicted it would be the last time the event would be held on a natural feature. Mother Nature is just too unpredictable and incompatible with spectator events. Instead of paddling two or three times per year when the conditions are


right, recreational paddlers across the country can now paddle after work, practicing the same skills they can put to use when, say, the steep creeks in Colorado’s Front Range are running. “Paddlers used to be pioneers,” says Sigle. “They were recluses, venturing into deep canyons in the middle of nowhere. Whitewater parks bring rivers to everyone’s front door. They’ve clearly made boating more accessible.” The construction of a surfing wave on the Clark Fork River in Missoula,


Montana, is yet another example of how whitewater can instill community spirit. “It’s a great vibe for the city,” says Doug Ammons, a Missoula native and veteran whitewater kayaker and author. “When there are 10 or 15 guys on the wave on a hot summer day, spectators line the bridge and the overlooks and the river becomes a centerpiece of fun.”


48 | RAPID


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68