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Old 12-16-2009   #21
ActionJackson's Avatar
Edge o' the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 195
I agree with Ken V, and would also include those first trips into the Stikine by Lesser/McDougall/Ammons/Wasson & Co with those key events Ken mentioned that helped boost the transformation of whitewater boating into hyperdrive. I'll cite Doug Ammon's write-up as Exhibit A for justification - great reading! I remember watching that American Sportsman episode with Lesser in the chopper flying down the Stikine canyon. He looked like he was about to wet himself at one point.

Powell's exploration of the Colorado was then - and remains now - an amazing chronicle. It stands on its own in the grander context of exploration, versus in the more narrow context of whitewater boating. It certainly has inspired and will continue to inspire whitewater boaters, but IMHO, I don't think it has been as transformational to whitewater boating as the introduction of rotomolded boats and some of these early, big, crazy runs in them.

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Old 12-17-2009   #22
Taos, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1986
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All the waterfalls and 1st decents are great, but where would the class IV and V rafting be without the invention of the self-bailing raft, in a bail bucket.

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Old 12-17-2009   #23
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
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When boaters started acting "gangster" and calling themselves "hooliganz". I still howl everytime I see this adolescent bravado on the river.
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Old 12-17-2009   #24
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, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Hey Kent,
I'll put my vote in for the first float trips thru the spectacular canyons of the Yampa and Green Rivers. In the 1940s and 1950s when conservationists first started getting people on these rivers in opposition to Echo Park Dam, river running became a prestigious mainstream activity and paddlers started taking action to help save rivers.

Then again, maybe Deliverance should get my vote.


Originally Posted by kentford View Post
What is your favorite moment in Whitewater History? The invention of squirt boating? Plastic boats? Canoe tricks? The first waterfalls? Kayaks arriving from Europe?

Best answer by Monday Dec 21st wins a copy of "The Call of the River DVD" in time for Christmas. I am the final judge, unless someone wants to run a more formal poll!

Check out a preview of the new historical documentary "Call of the River" at Performance Video (then put it on your Christmas list!)
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Old 12-17-2009   #25
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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My favorite moment in boating history is the first FIBARK race in 1949. As the story goes, the idea for the race was hatched over drinks when two guys wagered on who could be first to run the arkansas river from salida to canon city. Interest in the wager grew and eventually resulted in a race. The race was June 19, 1949, which according to the USGS was the day the Arkansas peaked that year with a flow of 5530 cfs at parkdale. After looking at the swollen river running high from a huge rocky mountain snowpack, many considered the race "an invitation to death". 23 people entered the race, but only two swiss kayakers crossed the finish line. The Fibark race has continued since then and is the oldest downriver race in the US. The FIBARK race was one of the first glimpses of kayaks in the US, and the race was instrumental in the getting the fledgling sport of kayaking started in the US.

Since that defining moment, kayakers across the globe have explored new rivers, run bigger and bigger rapids, and as always have egged each other on after many beers around the campfire to go even bigger.
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Old 12-17-2009   #26
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
gotta agree with a few others here. Turnback and Palouse take it. Both of these descent's are/were so far ahead of what anyone else has/was doing. Truly unbelievable.
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Old 12-17-2009   #27
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Chicago, Illinois
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Originally Posted by mongrelboater View Post
Not documented, but my vote goes to the first native american to successfully roll a kayak. That opened the way for all whitewater advancements since then.
hell yeah!
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Old 12-18-2009   #28
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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Tough question. Powell is my pick.
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Old 12-18-2009   #29
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
I think when Jim Stolquist started makin dry tops with latex gaskets... A great innovation and changed the game forever.

Also if the legislature does what they should this spring - the biggest moment for colorado anyway - is still to come.
"I feel better than any other time when I am in the mountains and uh I cant explain it ya know...." - Shawn Farmer..........
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Old 12-18-2009   #30
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
Lame post above on my behalf. Sorry. Feeling a bit surly at that point. I can't forget my youth and my own bravado. Actually, I should be giving props to those out there who are getting it done. Good on ya.

My real one has to be Powell. Ancient gear. Unknown river. A huge line through a blank spot on the map.

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