Lest this thing turn into a "legends of the sport / hall of fame" list .. I'll respectfully nominate someone who's behind the scenes every day currently influencing the culture & industry around WW .. Mr. John Weld.
The commercial success of IR aside, John (& Kara) tirelessly contribute to the success of individual paddlers through supporting & empowering thinkers in the industry in about a million ways: IR Triple Crown reinvented "rodeo"; IR Big Gun Show re-reinvented (& "killed") rodeo. Some of the best online resources & blogs in WW are hosted, for free, on server space paid for & provided by John. TRL would not be a reality w/o John's support. He asks for nothing in return. Penstock Productions (LVM) would never have been a reality, nor would it have a life post-Daniel, without John's ongoing involvement. He is investing pretty much all of IR's marketing budget into an exploration grant program for both WW & sea kayaking, for which in all likelihood, IR will see a net loss -- & that's fine with him because the program is about supporting exploration/adventure, building community, & carrying out Daniel's vision for the project. He was among the first individuals many kayakers ever heard of making biodiesel in the garage & then firing up the Jetta for kayaking trips with it.
He has his share of domestic & international first d's, sea kayaking exploratories, & still gets it done on the steep runs of northern WV.
And of course, with IR, he & Kara introduced a bit of style into the dorky dayglo world of technical river wear ..
So there you go .. John Weld is my unsung hero candidate for your Fab 40.