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Old 03-27-2015   #21
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
The drinking side of the article is what it is - I'm sure they were drinking. People can argue about whether they drank too much, but that seems besides the point. It's focused on the wrong aspect of the competition if you ask me. (Kinda like spending a paragraph discussing how big the bridge rapid is and then showing a picture of the bridge)

However, the article makes it seem like the athletes had no business being on those runs/waves and were lucky to make it out alive. The WWGP is clearly a collection of some of the best kayakers anywhere. My impression (from watching it on my computer) is that these events were not beyond the skill level of the competitors. At the very least, the athletes seem more in control on those features than many RedBull rampage videos I've seen.

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Old 03-27-2015   #22
Laramie, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 171
"I've been boating for 10 years now in the PNW and am perfectly content with the number of people kayaking. I used to be really into skiing and would buy a pass every year but since I started boating have been turned off of skiing due to the crowds and the scene. I would hate for kayaking to be as popular as snow sports. That would completely ruin kayaking for me.

Who cares if it's a relatively small few who boat regularly? Guess it's less add space to sell in Outside. The primary ones that gain are ww retailers, instructors, guides and??? I guess the core boating community may lose out on innovations like the "hi-n-dry" or new boat designs but it seems like there is enough demand to produce quality boats every year."

Yes, what he said. I like watching the Grand Prix videos as much as anyone, but the whole idea that kayaking is dead and in need of saving by these dudes is just plain lame.

I've heard many modern surfers lamenting the"golden era" of surfing in the '50's and '60s where surfers enjoyed empty beaches, point breaks to themselves and surfboards on car racks were enough of an oddity that they always necessitated a friendly wave from fellow surfers. This all sounds pretty similar to what I have experienced as a whitewater kayaker since 1994, and I really hope that it never changes.

As kayakers in 2015, we have access to excellent equipment, several good conservation groups (paddler oriented and otherwise) fighting the good fight, and usually access to rivers and enough friends to paddle with to make life pretty good for us.

It seems that the only real dissatisfaction with the current state of our sport comes from the "professional" paddling community, and others whose interests lie in the industry surrounding our great sport. I wish the language used in this article as well as others about the Grand Prix would be a little more specific here. They want to expand the whitewater industry, not save kayaking (we're doing just fine). If WWGP athletes can work this comp to make a few bucks for their next paddling trip, maybe land some video on a television network, great. But please don't claim to be doing something for my sport or expect anyone to buy $120 t-shirts.

As far as Reimers' article, it was published in Outside magazine. What do you expect? Yes racing class V+ is dangerous and yes youngsters will party, duh. He certainly missed the opportunity to tell a more interesting story of the event/sport, and I'm guessing that next time he isn't going to get invited to the party.

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Old 03-27-2015   #23
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
Well said "Awoody". Seems like there has long been a desire to "grow" the sport by people who would benefit from its growth financially. That is to be expected and IMO no big deal cuz the sport is so self limiting. Its never gonna be "big". I would add when I first started boating there were old school boaters trying to grow the sport just to keep it alive.

Also, you may recall, there was a time when Corran Addison was gorilla marketing his Riot boats and one of his tactics/marketing slogans was "rodeo is dead". He also spent a lot of time denigrating everyone else in the industry. (A tactic to build an image and market to young "rebellious" kids) The comps evolved and "Freestyle" emerged. Still, I see his attitude, his vision and even some of his language being expressed in WWGP.
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Old 03-27-2015   #24
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
I can't believe I wrote the previous post 6 hours ago and not one Corran/Riot fan called me on it. 10 or 15 years ago that would be grist for a Boatertalk battle.
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Old 03-28-2015   #25
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leif's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 481
Yeah, I felt like the article captured the feeling of the event relatively well. I was a little disappointed in the partying. Natalie and I worked hard to be able to be there, and we didn't come to party with our friends, we came to paddle. The article's portrayal of the partying meshed with my own memory of it. It's too bad for me that taking things seriously doesn't automatically make you good at them. I'm pretty sure every one of those partyers beat me at the event.

Austin, just like during the fundraising debate, I still maintain that growing the industry helps average paddlers too.

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Old 03-28-2015   #26
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Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 696
And Bode Miller is intoxicated prior to many of his best days. It's broadcasted across the globe and even discussed on mainstream TV publications. The pro snowboarding, skiing, climbing, and kayaking community suffers from the same issues, yet kayaking is who lands with the short straw at the end of the day.
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Old 03-28-2015   #27
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
Having been involved with the NFC for the past 3 years, there is a similar vibe: extremely dangerous, challenging whitewater, a lot of great paddlers and tons of nerves. Sometimes I think the partying is a bigger even than the race, and/or more anticipated. It is undeniably part of the lifestyle for most of these elite kayakers. It's not good or bad; it is what it is.

That said, a few things need to be pointed out:

First, despite what some of the elite kayakers do with their free time, most (if not all) of them are extremely on point when it comes to river safety and safety knowledge. While I can't kayak at their level, I wouldn't question for a second following them down a river because I know they have my back and they know what to do when sh-t goes down. They know what to do in almost any situation, and more importantly, they act. Point being, there are aspects of their kayaking that exceeds and exudes professionalism.

Second, most of them aren't asking to be role models or held to a higher standard; they're kids having fun at this particular moment in their life. They just happen to live in a time when social media shows the world everything, and that is something they take part in too. It's just that we'd prefer to watch awesome kayak porn that also depicts their partying, than we would the typical 22 year old college kid on a Friday night, doing the very same thing. So cut them a break.

On the other hand, if they want to be taken seriously and represent a handful of companies, then sometimes these companies hold their sponsored athletes to a higher standard. That's between them and the companies, and I suppose at a greater distance, us and the companies as well.

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