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USA Wildwater - Vision for 2007


by John Pinyerd
USA Canoe/Kayak
Wildwater Committee Chairman

November 6, 2006 -- Atlanta, GA

Over the past 3 years we have doubled our participation and tripled our budget, but we are just in the infancy of developing a world class Wildwater program in the USA. Here are the areas that we must be successful in if we are to continue to progress:

Growing the participation of Cadets and Juniors is key to our success.
The great news is that the USA will host the Junior Worlds in July 2007 in Charlotte and Columbia. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our juniors to race on the home water and potentially win a medal in Team events. The bad news is that many of our potential racers don’t know about the event, or don’t have access to a Wildwater boat. USA Wildwater is committed to fielding and training our best team. Here’s how you can help:

  • We must get the word out on the USA Junior Worlds Venue. Crossover athletes (from Slalom) will be key to field a full team in C-1 and C-2.
  • We must support developing juniors with boats, coaching etc. Sometimes that means just letting the wildwater community know of the need or getting an old boat back in circulation.
  • We must get them to training sites/training camps with enough time to get used to driving a Wildwater boat.

We will continue to grow the participation of Age Group and Masters Racers.
Domestically, we will continue to grow our Master’s program. We will recognize Masters Racers at all major venues in 2007. And due to the success of the Masters Race at this year’s World Championships, it is obvious that Italy will include Masters at the 2008 World Championships. We have proven that USA has some of the best Masters in the World and the USA has the opportunity to become a dominate force.

The key to expanding our success is to put all of our programs on a level playing field. Here’s how you can help:

  • We need 2 more professionals on the Wildwater Board due to retirement of Chris Hipgrave (to USACK) and Ben Sandiford (to the Junior Worlds). This is not about being a good paddler. This is about being a good administrator, fundraiser, or accountant. This is about “getting it done.”
  • We must continue to GROW our SPONSORSHIP if we are going to be able to grow the sport and improve our results in international competition. Specific needs include:
    • Sponsors for the Senior Team are needed for everything from travel expenses as well as funding for top athletes.
    • Sponsors for the Junior Team and Junior Development.
    • Prizes and/or prize money for major races will improve participation.
  • We must grow our Publicity to grow of our sport. We must get our race calendar and press releases for major events into the hands of recreational paddlers. This means working with national publications, local fitness magazines, and local paddling clubs.