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Challenges for 2006

The USA's world-class wildwater program is still in its infancy.

by John Pinyerd
Chairman - USA Wildwater

November 20, 2005 -- Atlanta, GA

Over the past two years, we have tripled our budget and doubled our participation, but the USA's world-class wildwater program is still in its infancy. Our next steps are:

  • Participation of the Wildwater Board Members is the base for our continued progress. We will need the dedication and involvement of every board member.

  • 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 for everything from travel expenses to funding for top athletes
    • Sponsors for the Junior Team and Junior Development to provide boats and travel expenses. I am ashamed to say that several of our top Juniors stayed home this year due to inadequate funding
    • Prizes and/or prize money for major races to improve participation

  • Publicity is a real key to the growth 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.

  • We must increase the frequency and participation in our Training Camps. Training camps not only help to improve the skills of our racers, but they also facilitate grass-roots growth and development.

  • We must support our Race Organizers in the following areas:
    • Providing support for publicity
    • Providing expertise to ensure the races are well run with a minimum of effort
    • Developing new organizers for National level events

  • We must implement Age-Group Classes at all major races. The lack of age group classes is a serious deficiency of Wildwater at the National and International levels. It does not take a demographics expert to tell you that Masters have almost all of the money and they will bring their kids (who are the future of our sport) to the to races. Our approach to implementing this no-brainer for the improvement our sport needs to include:
    • Petitioning the ICF to have Age-Group World Cup/Championship races in conjunction with the World Championships (or Junior Worlds)
    • Getting local race organizers to split out Cadet, Junior, Open/Senior, Masters, and Grand Masters Race Results where feasible

I believe if the Wildwater board, our sponsors and our volunteer organization all work together in the future, we WILL all be proud of the progress that our beloved sport of Wildwater continues to make.

Thanks again for your efforts.

John Pinyerd
Chairman - USA Wildwater