RACE NEWS URGENT NOTICE - 1999 National Championships Venue Change

The location has changed for the 1999 Wildwater National Championships! The 1999 ACA Wildwater National Championships have moved from the White Salmon River in Washington to the Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado. Sponsors pulled out of the Gorge Games canceling most events, so the nationals moved to an existing ACA sanctioned event.

The nationals will be July 16-18. The schedule will be:

Friday, July 16: Junior Classic 1:00 PM on last year's national championship race course (class II/III).
Saturday, July 17: Sprints 9:00 AM for everyone in Bear Creek Rapid (III) downstream of Salida.
Sunday, July 18: Senior Classic 8:00 AM on the Parkdale OR Frog Rock section of the Arkansas (III/IV).

Juniors capable of handling the senior race course are able to race both the junior and senior classic race. Contact Scott Overdorf for more information: 303-682-2674 or Race headquarters will be located at the FIBArk building in Salida and will be open beginning July 13 to July 17 from 1:00 to 4:00.

1999 Wildwater World Cup in New Zealand
by Ian Stewart

The 1999 Wildwater World Cup series was hosted by New Zealand the first time in a decade it had vacationed from Europe. A small World Cup, with 16 countries and nearly 100 athletes, the six races spanned three weeks, four rivers and both islands in the land down under. The geographic spread of the three venues gave everyone participating a chance to tour the country. The scenery and exotic wildlife combined with warm water and clear weather to make the World Cup outstanding. The local sandflies and the lack of ozone layer added to the travel experience.

The New Zealand Canoe Federation, no larger than their U.S. wildwater counterpart, managed to pull off the event. Quality assistance was provided in local travel arrangements, and the Kiwis proved to be friendly. It seemed that this World Cup was a good reminder to the Europeans as to the effort involved in traveling to international races every year. Thankfully, all of the U.S. boats arrived in good condition (at least those that were that way to begin with), and only the French boats wound up spending an extra week in Singapore.

All five members of the U.S. Team Mike Beck, Mike Harris, Andrew McEwan, Ian Stewart and Middy Tilghman improved upon past international performances. In his first season on the senior team, Andrew posted the top U.S. finish, placing 22nd on the most difficult course of the series. His effort topped all U.S. finishes in recent years. Both Andrew and Middy will be the athletes to watch at upcoming events. A severe drought yielded long, shallow classic courses favoring the aerobic paddlers, but with some deep water at the Kawarau, there was a little of everything in the World Cup. The courses increased in difficulty throughout the series and were challenging enough to cause swims by some of the top paddlers, including two of the Kiwis racing on their home rivers. The Italian and German teams dominated the field as usual, and the German's entourage, with full support and camera crew, usually dominated the take-out as well. Thank you to Pro Canoe and Kayak, Prijon, as well as Ben Sandiford, Tamera, and Kathy Gordon for their support and assistance.

For a complete listing of the 1999 World Cup race results and rankings go to and link to the ICF Wildwater website.

Congratulations to Andrew McEwan and Middy Tilghman who each earned performance incentive funding from the ACA Wildwater Committee based on their performance at the World Cup. One share of team funding is available during 1999 for any U.S. Team member who finishes within 10%

of the winner in his/her class in any of the six World Cup events in New Zealand or the PreWorlds in Treignac, France. An additional share of funding will be awarded to any U.S. Team member finishing within 7% of the winner in his/her class in the above mentioned races. $3,000.00 will be divided by the total number of shares earned by team members following the completion of the PreWorlds. The amount available each year forperformance incentive funding varies and is based on a budget prepared by the Wildwater Committee, which is submitted to and approved by the ACA.

Other Results

The 1999 PreWorld Championships were held in Treignac, France on May 20-24. U.S. Wildwater Team members participating at the PreWorlds were Matt Lutz and Gary Lacy in K1 and Michael Beavers and Mike Harris in C1. Watch for results on the wildwater website and in the Fall newsletter issue.


Congratulations to Nate and Austin Krissoff who qualified for the U.S. Junior Wildwater Team at the Kern River Festival. They will be representing the United States at the Junior Wildwater PreWorld Championships in Vipitino, Italy July 3 & 4. Brent Reitz will be traveling to Italy with the Krissoffs as the U.S. Junior Team Coach. Nate and Austin finished 50th & 51st, respectively (61 boats), competing internationally for the first time at last year's Junior Wildwater World Championships in Lofer, Austria. Wish them good paddling and fast times.


National Governing Body Status:  Currently the ACA governs U.S. wildwater racing. However, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) officially recognizes the United States Canoe and Kayak Team (USCKT) as the National Governing Body for all ICF paddle sport disciplines in the U.S. Therefore, at the close of the 2000 Summer Olympics, the ACA will relinquish responsibility for governing its National Competition Committees/Teams, which compete in ICF events, to the USCKT. More specific information as to the impact this transition will have on wildwater will be forthcoming.

ACA Fund Raising Guidelines:  The following is a copy of a letter written by Jim Seymour, ACA Director of Programs and Special Events, on January 5, 1999 which outlines the procedures for receiving and distributing team sponsorship.

"As a national non-profit organization, incorporated in the state of New York and approved by the Internal Revenue Service, the American Canoe Association (ACA) is pleased to extend the same status to ACA National Competition Committees for the benefit of accepting tax deductible contributions for team programs and expenses. This means that the ACA may accept and acknowledge donations made on behalf of an ACA National Competition Committee, and then pay select Committee expenses as requested by the Committee. The ACA may not accept charitable (i.e. tax deductible) contributions on behalf of specific athletes or other individuals. In all cases, ACA Competition Committees must abide by the following procedures as determined and set forth by ACA auditors and tax authorities.

                   All contributions shall be made payable to the "American Canoe Association". All contributions shall be forwarded                      to the ACA

National Office via Committee Chair or Designated Team Representative.  All contributions shall be designated by memo as a contribution to the American Canoe Association and a specified Competition Committee/Team. Checks written to specific team members, or that are designated by memo to a specific team member, cannot be accepted as a tax-deductible contribution. Such checks will be returned to the sender. The ACA will automatically send written acknowledgments for contributions equal to or exceeding $250.00. The ACA is not obligated to send written acknowledgment for contributions of less than $250.00 unless otherwise requested. Committee/Team funds shall be paid out for legitimate team programs and expenses. A legitimate payment request shall include payee, amount, and type of expense, event name, event date, and location. Payment requests to be written to specific team members must also include the athletes' social security number. Only the elected Committee Chair or his/her Designated Team Representative may request distributions of Committee/Team funds. Fund distributions shall be requested from the ACA National Office at least three weeks (15 business days) before such payment is needed. Fund distribution shall be directed to the ACA Director of Programs and Special Events. If a request is made by telephone, fax or email, a signed written request must be received before payment will be issued."

In short, any U.S. Wildwater Team member who solicits contributions must make sure that the donation is made payable to the American Canoe Association. The donation should be sent to Scott Overdorf, Chair of the ACA Wildwater Committee, 1026 5th Ave, Longmont CO 80501. A separate memo should be included to indicate for whom the donation is intended, including a social security number. The donation will then be sent to ACA along with a payment request to disburse donated funds to the respective recipient. This procedure for receiving and distributing team sponsorship shall be in effect until the close of the 2000 Summer Olympics at which time wildwater will be governed by the USCKT.

Reno Training Camp:  Charles Albright organized a wildwater training camp for newcomers to the sport on the weekend of February 27-28 on the

Truckee River. The training camp began with a video session on a local lake where a dozen participants worked on boat control and technique.  The clinic moved to a Class I section of the Truckee where several runs were made during the rest of the day. Saturday night, Charles provided a pasta feast at his home as well as video critiques of all participants. Sunday was more of the same with time in the boat on moving water focusing on technique and boat control.  Charles organized the training camp to expose wildwater to some new folks and hopefully fill the void of females and juniors in our ranks.  There were four women and one junior participating in the weekend camp.

The first big test for this group of newcomers will be the Kern River Festival.   The camp was a big success because of the energy Charles put into organizing it and the countless others who offered assistance through instruction and donated gear. In particular, Brent Reitz provided copies of the Fishburn Training Program with a worksheet on stroke analysis information, Davison Collins of Truckee offered training and stroke instruction, and California Canoe & Kayak donated the use of three Wavehoppers while local racers loaned wildwater boats to the participants.

Training Camps for Summer & Fall of 1999 and Winter of 2000:

There is $3,000.00 available to fund training camps, but we must plan them now. Francois Beauchard has offered to travel to the U.S. to coach a national level training camp, and in order to make that happen we must have commitment NOW from both developing and top level racers to attend such a camp. Two possibilities for a camp coached by Francois are:

A southeastern camp at NOC and on the Ocoee in October that ends with the Ocoee fall festival


A Moab training camp in October that incorporates a permit for Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River. This could also be timed with cross

training at the Newsweek 24 hours of Moab Mountain Bike Race

Other ideas for training camps are:

There are rumors of an USCKT slalom training camp in July on the Savage River in Maryland. This might conflict with the timing of the wildwater nationals, but perhaps it will be scheduled later in the month. The Savage was the site of the '89 World Championships and word of a possible July release is great news. Perhaps the revival of the Savage River will once again make it a premiere venue for national level slalom and wildwater races.

Got the cold weather training blues? Perhaps a winter training camp in Florida and/or San Diego paddling outrigger canoes and ending with an outrigger canoe race in early December.

A Colorado nordic training camp that ends with a Colorado Cup XC Ski Race.  This would provide excellent cross training, focusing on aerobic and upper body strength training. Nordic skiing was a major winter training

component for B team juniors on the USCKT sprint team in 1998.

These are just ideas. As soon as possible, contact Michael Beavers (Eastern Athlete Rep @ 404-874-1747) and Matt Lutz (Western Athlete Rep @ 206-527-6083) to voice opinions, ideas and interest in participating in a training camp. The bottom line is, if nobody is willing and able to attend training camps then they won't happen and the budgeted money does not get spent. We need someone to step up and take charge of organizing training camps that racers will attend. Many thanks to the folks at Nantahala Race Club and in Reno for the spring camps they put on.

2000 Team Trials

The winter newsletter discussed the benefits of identifying four locations for hosting future team trials and rotating team trials annually at these sites. There has been favorable discussion with several racers and Committee members supporting this concept. Discussions have included taking this concept one step further by selecting the 2000 U.S. Wildwater Team using two team trial venues. The parameters of this proposal are:

An eastern and a western team trial site will be identified to host the selection of the 2000 U.S. Wildwater Team. The intent here is to reduce time and travel commitments for participants. On the other hand, it also provides an additional top level event for participants who are able to travel to both venues. There must be at least two weeks separating each event, so competitors have a choice of competing in one OR both events in order to qualify for the U.S. Wildwater Team. There will be two classic races contested over two consecutive days at each event. Subsequently, there will be a total of four days of racing to select four spots per class that will qualify to compete at the World Championships in Treignac, France. Each of the four spots selected will be the winner in each class, during each day of racing. If someone finishes first at more than one of the selection races in a single class, then the next finishing boat will qualify for the U.S. Team. In the event that fewer than two boats in a class qualify for the U.S. Team at either the eastern or western venue, then the respective number of boats in that class will be selected at the other venue to fill four available spots. A third boat per class will be selected at each venue that will qualify to participate in the 2000 Wildwater World Cup in addition to those boats selected to compete in the World Championships. Therefore, the U.S. Team competing in the World Cup will field a team of six boats per class.

To date, the White Salmon River in Washington has been discussed as the Western Team Trials site while the Ocoee, Tellico and Savage Rivers have been discussed as potential Eastern Team Trials sites. Contact Michael Beavers (Eastern Athlete Rep) and Matt Lutz (Western Athlete Rep) to voice your opinions. Team trial sites will be selected by vote of the Wildwater Committee based on input received from racers. A decision will be made shortly after the national championships.

2000 World Championships & World Cup

The 2000 Wildwater World Championships in Treignac, France on the Vezere River is scheduled for June 1 - 4. This is a dam-controlled river that has been described as big pushy water in a small stream bed that is identical to the Savage River - i.e., it never lets up. I would have to agree after viewing a video of the Vezere shot from the bow of a raft. The Vezere is very narrow and maintains a steady gradient. The flow will be 15 cubic meters per second, which translates to about 530 cfs.

The following is a schedule of releases during 2000 prior to the World Championships:

March 27-30, April 24-27, May 8-11, May 16-20, May 22-26 and May 29 -June 4. Releases generally last 3 to 5 hours each day though the hours are subject to change. The French will be hosting their team trials on the Vezere on May 10-11, 2000.

The unofficial proposals for World Cup 2000 are:

Races 1 & 2 in Switzerland either on the Albula or Simme June 24 & 25
Races 3 & 4 OPEN (Austria, or Czech Republic) July 3 & 4
Races 5 & 6 in Vipiteno, Italy July 8 & 9

The above World Cup schedule at this point in time is tentative.

2000 National Championships

                   Wayne Dickert, Director of Junior Development for the USCKT, is trying

to set up a "triple crown" national championships for the year 2000. What this means is identifying a venue that can host the USCKT slalom and sprint, and ACA wildwater national championships during the same week. I fully support the concept of a triple crown national championships because it allows wildwater to compete simultaneously with two other national level events during one large festival. This increases the potential for media coverage for wildwater and offers potential cross discipline participation by other athletes, which could increase the wildwater ranks in the long run. And as a reminder, wildwater will soon be under the auspices of the USCKT, thus making the triple crown an advantage for event planning. With that in mind, there is a possible bid coming from Bakersfield, California to have slalom and wildwater on the Kern River and the sprint nearby. Another idea that is being researched is a possible triple crown on the Savage River in Maryland with sprints held on Deep Creek Lake. A third bid comes from Colorado with FIBArk hosting nationals on the Arkansas River. At this point, these ideas are conceptual and your input is crucial and important for the committee to consider when making the final decision. Though I personally support the idea of a triple crown national championship festival with great enthusiasm, we also need to do what is fair for our athletes. The 1998 nationals were held in Colorado while this year's national championships are going to be in Washington. Therefore, I think a serious bid coming from the eastern United States deserves strong consideration.

Athlete Progression Manual

In the Winter Newsletter, I wrote seeking assistance in writing an athlete progression manual for wildwater. Wayne Dickert authored such a document for the USCKT for slalom and gave permission for us to use it as a guideline for wildwater. If you are interested in working on such a project, please let me know.

Reminders from the Winter Newsletter

Head-to-head sprint race for juniors at the 1999 Junior Olympics in Golden, Colorado July 23-25 (contact Scott Overdorf at 303-682-2674.
Dagger is ready to build ESOX K1 wildwater boats. For details, contact Andy Bridge at Dagger (423-882-0404).
Wildwater reunion in western North Carolina October 30. Contact Elizabeth McBride & Ben Lawry (828-488-4150).

USA Wildwater Communications:  I want to thank the anonymous writer who wrote the article, "The Glacierbreaker on the Wildside" that appeared in the April '99 issue of Canoe & Kayak Racing News. Check it out! I want to encourage other people as well, to take the initiative to contribute articles for inclusion in this newsletter. We also need articles, such as the article referenced above, to be submitted to USCKT's Canoe & Kayak Racing News, ACA's American Canoeist and other publicatons. WE NEED YOUR HELP IN GETTING THE WORD ON WILDWATER OUT TO THE PADDLING PUBLIC. Thanks to those of you who have already stepped up.

Where Did It All Begin?
by Scott Overdorf

With the current popularity of '70's fashion, style and music these days, I thought it would be a good time to take a "retro"spect of what was happening in the world of wildwater racing back then. This article provides a link to our sport's past and identifies the accomplishments of those athletes who helped define wildwater racing in the U.S. The first World Championship in wildwater was contested in 1959 in Treignac, France. During the 1960's, Americans began traveling to Europe to compete in both slalom and wildwater. In 1965, upon returning home from the World Championships, Jo Knight (K1) stated: "The greatest obstacle which stands between American enthusiasm for whitewater and success in European competition is our inability to accept the fact that what is in America a diverting, entertaining, low pressure hobby is in Europe a consuming, hard-fought sport. The difference between hobby and sport is nothing but conditioning and organized training."(1)

The first World Championship medals earned by Americans were won in 1969 at Bourg St. Maurice; bronze medals in the C2 Mixed team race in both slalom and wildwater. Success continued into the 70's. At the

1971 World Championships in Merano, Italy, the U.S. won a bronze medal in the C1 Wildwater Team Race paddled by John Sweet, Russ Nichols, & Al Button. Then, the most significant event that impacted whitewater racing in the early '70's, and would recur two decades later, was the inclusion of slalom at the 1972 Olympics. However, the short-lived Olympic era for slalom ended as quickly as it started, and wildwater participation remained as strong as ever. In 1973, two team medals in wildwater were won at the World Championships at Moutathal, Switzerland. Peggy Nutt, Carol Fisher, & Candice Clark teamed up to win a silver medal while Bonnie Losick/Chuck Lyda, Carol & David Knight, & Leena Mela/Paul Leibman won bronze in the C2 Mixed class.

In 1975, Al Button raised the standard of success even further. In the September/October '75 issue of Canoe, it was written, "They say he is too old (35.9 years), too unorthodox in his paddling technique (he switches sides) and he does not live in traditional whitewater country (he's from Minnesota), but all he does is win". Al became the first American to earn an individual medal in wildwater by earning a bronze medal in C1 at the World Championships in Skopje, Yugoslavia. The hunt for wildwater medals continued at the 1977 World Championships

in Spittal, Austria. Though no individual wildwater medals were won by Americans, Davey Hearn/Ron Lugbill, Bob Robison/Jon Lugbill and John Burton/Gordon Grant became the first Americans to win a medal in C2 wildwater by earning bronze in the team race. The '77 Worlds were not without disappointment. During the women's team race, Leslie Klein, Carol Fisher and Candice Clark were in position to win the gold, but with just 100 yards to go to the finish line, the lead boat flipped and was unable to roll up. The strong American women finished out of the medals.

However, the defining moment for both slalom and wildwater racing in the United States occurred in 1979 in Jonquiere, Quebec. For the first time, the World Championships were contested outside of Europe, and a group of teenagers from Washington D.C. took the slalom world by storm and ended European domination. The Russ Nichols production, Fast & Clean, documents the emergence of this young group of racers that rewrote the book on slalom racing. And while the slalom team was making history at Jonquiere, the U.S. Wildwater Team captured its first World Championship. Carol Fisher, Leslie Klein and Cathy Hearn won gold in the team race. Chuck Lyda, Kent Ford and John Evans missed being World Champions by a mere .47 seconds and won a silver medal in the C1 team race. The C2 team of Ben Cass-Joe Stahl, Jeff Huey-Paul Grabow and Ron Lugbill-Davey Hearn finished 4th in their team race, missing the bronze by 21 seconds. Perhaps equally impressive is the fact that there was a top ten performance in each class by Americans including a 4th place finish by Carol Fisher in K1W (missed bronze by 3.46 seconds) and a 4th place finish by Chuck Lyda in C1 (missed bronze by 4.42 seconds).

The United States Whitewater Team (as slalom and wildwater were referred to back then) was declared the World Championship Team at the 1979 World Championship based on the International Canoe Federation (ICF) scoring procedure. It marked the first time that an American Canoe Association governed team won a World Championship in any paddle sport since joining the ICF in 1936. Wildwater racers representing the United States in World Championship competition won a total of one gold, two silver and five bronze medals between 1969 and 1979. The dedicated athletes of the 1970's crossed the bridge between hobby and hard-fought sport and in the process, raised the standards for success for Americans competing in future World Championships.

Wildwater Racing in the U.S.: a brief history, Whitewater 82, 15-17.
World Champions in Slalom and Wildwater, American Canoe Association 1880-1980 100th Anniversary Yearbook, 68.
World Whitewater Championships Merano, Italy 1971, American Canoeist, Summer 1971, 22.
Whitewater, Canoe Sept/Oct 1973, 25.
Downstream, Canoe Sept/Oct 1975, 6.
Bound For Glory, Canoe Oct 1977, 18-22, 72-73.

I would like to thank Jim Seymour, ACA Director of Programs and Special Events, who made it possible for me to research the information needed to write this article by letting me look through the ACA publication collection.

The story will continue in the Fall Newsletter with a look at U.S. wildwater racing in the '80's. To view results from past World Championships (1971-1998) check out "USA Wildwater Archives" at Unfortunately, this listing of World Championship results is not complete. Research is being done to create permanent documentation of this important information.

A personal thank you goes out to Ben Sandiford who provided race results from World Championships held during 1981, '83, '85 & '87. Results are still needed for 1991 & 1993.

Thoughts from the Chairman

I would like to thank everybody who responded to the USA Wildwater News Winter 1999 Newsletter. Your comments, ideas and input were encouraging as well as pertinent to the purpose of this newsletter. I heard from racers and paddlers living in all corners of the U.S. who offered advice, expertise and filled in gaps in the information provided in the newsletter. I welcome any and all comments. And if anyone has some expertise to share that will help the wildwater community, please step up and offer it. The sport and all those participating will benefit. Until the fall newsletter, TRAIN HARD and take a junior or new person to the sport with you the next time you head to the river or go out for a workout.


I want to thank Chris Norbury for offering to maintain a ranking of wildwater paddlers in the U.S. Please forward all race results to Chris at The following races were used for this initial ranking: Potomac Feb 6 & 28, Tohican River; Nantahala Glacier Breaker; Nantahala Spring Splash Classic and Sprint; and Ocoee Double Header. Therefore, don't be alarmed if you live in another region of the U.S. and don't see your name listed. These rankings represent only a snap shot of racers in the mid-Atlantic and southeast portion of the U.S. A more complete list of races around the country, which will be used for rankings, will be identified in the Fall newsletter and will be weighted for importance, difficulty and field strength. Also, to encourage paddlers who are new to wildwater racing, we are adopting the British Canoe Union method of adjusting (reducing) Wavehopper race times by 7% to compare them more equally to composite

boat times. The intent is to provide racers paddling Wavehoppers with a benchmark for progress in order to encourage them to make the leap to composite racing boats.  (I appologize that rankings are not listed below.  They will be added to a future newsletter).