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Thanks for 4 Great Years

Outgoing Two-Term Chairman John Pinyerd Thanks You for Your Support

by John Pinyerd
USA Canoe/Kayak
Wildwater Committee Chairman

December 23, 2007 -- Marietta, GA

Wildwater has made some huge strides forward over the past four years and I'm confident that our momentum will continue to grow. I cannot think of a better group of leaders to turn control of our sport over to than the newly elected Wildwater Committee. As many of you know, Doug Ritchie (the Chairman elect) has worked very closely with me for the past two years.

So much has changed over the past four years. While we started off with lots of enthusiasm in January of 2004, we had $0. Wildwater was so poor that had it not been for local paddling clubs, a few individual donors and my willingness to put my credit card on the line, we would not have even had uniforms for the team. But thanks to the efforts of our sponsors, our race organizers, and our board over the past four years we have made some huge strides with wildwater. And we have really worked hard to open up the lines of communication. For example the current state of Wildwater and our progress is well covered in this article:

Everything from our bylaws, budgets, and board minutes are on For example the latest board meeting minutes can be viewed at:

Obviously, USA Wildwater's progress is due to the efforts of many. Please allow me the opportunity to thank them:

The USA Wildwater Team, training camps and coaching simply could not exist without our sponsors. No sponsors equals no team, no programs, no nothing. And to date, practically all of our cash funding comes from individual sponsors. In short, we could not have done it without the support of our donors and we thank you for your continued support. A few of the sponsors that come to mind are:

  • Tom Calhoun - has generously supported our team for all fours years

  • David Mason - continues to support the team with things like a Team Dinner at the worlds and many other contributions. Dave's contributions were a primary source of our funding at the Jr. Worlds this year.

  • Jamie McEwan - supports whitewater racing at all kinds. Like me (and many of the veterans), McEwan raced both Wildwater and Slalom.

  • Person X - some of our major sponsors are anonymous and we thank them just the same.

Our Corporate sponsors have included USACK (who provides us with a modest stipend) and Carolina West and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (who have twice sponsored our Team Trials on the Nanty). Dart Transit has supplied hats for several teams and Old Dominion Freight Lines continues to supply us with a viable way to truck our boats around the USA.

USA Wildwater relies on race organizers to organize, host and run our events. A few of the organizations (in alphabetical order) that we have come to rely on over the past four years are:

  • FIBArk - Race Director Ed Loeffel has twice hosted our National Championships and has helped to put the FIBArk classic race back on the map. We are looking forward to the 2009 FIBArk Wildwater extravaganza/USA Nationals. FIBArk will also host the 08 Jr. Western Team Trials.

  • Mountain Air Productions - Race Director Donnie Hudspeth annually runs the Animal Upper Gauley Race as well as our Team Trials in 2004.

  • Nantahala Racing Club (NRC) - hosts a plethora of wildwater events and races every year beginning with the Glacier Breaker in February and ending with the Jiffy Wildwater Race in December. The NRC has hosted our Team Trials twice in the past four years. These well-run events drew 50 racers each.

  • USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK) - I have to admit, I was somewhat shocked that USACK ran the Jr. World Championships. But thanks to the leadership of David Yarborough and Race Director Susan Chamberland, USACK did a wonderful job of organizing and running the event. This should bode well for securing future international racing events (of any discipline) in the USA.

  • Wilderness Adventures - hosted our 2007 Team Trials and will do so again in 2008.

  • Zoar Outdoor - It's great to work with Race Director Karen Blom again. We loved the Zoar Nationals venue in 07 and the incredible prizes and are looking forward to 2008 Nationals.

Our sport owes much of our progress to the Wildwater Committee (Board) that I have had the pleasure of serving with over the past two terms (four years). Please allow me the opportunity to thank them:

  • Ben Sandiford was our Vice Chairman on my first board and has served as Race &Events Coordinator on the current board. We thank Ben for his many countless hours that he donated to ensuring that the Jr. World Championships were run without a hitch.

  • Charles "Chuck" Brabec (Newsletter Editor/Webmaster) has taken the website to be the premier website of its kind in all of paddlesport. Chuck is the cornerstone of our communication and we owe much of our progress to him. I continue to be amazed at his editing abilities and how fast he can get articles on the website.

  • Chris Hipgrave was the Treasurer on my first board and my right hand man. Working together, Chris and I devised our Tier Budget concept that has been described as pure genius. Chris is currently helping to better the planet by serving as USACK's Director of Olympic Sports.

  • Chris Wiegand served as Events & Race Coordinator on my first board. Chris has also served as a many time coach/manager for the Junior Team and is a huge promoter for paddlesports.

  • David Jones is a veteran racer and member of the WWC. He is currently supporting our sport by serving as our Treasurer.

  • Doug Ritchie served as Vice Chair for the past two years and has been my right hand man. I am thrilled to be turning control of the WWC over to Doug. His many accomplishments include putting together our group orders to Zastera and starting the listserv.

  • Geoff Calhoun served as Athlete Rep on my first board and an At Large Member on the last board. Geoff is a spirited promoter of our sport who is also helping to significantly coach and grow our junior team base in the Washington, DC area.

  • Rob Murphy has quietly and steadily served as Rankings Coordinator over the past two years.

  • Shaun Smith has continued to support paddle sport and race both wildwater and slalom.

  • Tom Wier is currently our top athlete but also gives back to our sport. Tom is willing to do whatever it takes to help. He has well served our sport over the past 4 years by being a very active Athlete Rep and race organizer on a local level.

There are lots of folks that were not mentioned above that have had a huge impact on our sport. A few of them are listed below and we appreciate their efforts.

Thanks to the efforts of the Junior Worlds management and coaching staff - Maurizio Tognacci (Head Coach), Tom O'Sullvian and Denny Adams (Managers) and Lisa Adams and Blake Sparks (Assistant Managers) - we successfully fielded and help train our largest Junior Team ever. The team went on to win 3 medals and place several athletes in the top 20. Denny also serves as coach, manager and mentor of the Blue Herron Wildwater Club which is rapidly becoming a powerhouse for development in our sport.

And I cannot think of development in our sport without thinking of Nate Lord and the Dawson School in CO. On the East Coast, Middy Tilghman continues to serve as a coach and mentor in the Washington, DC area.

Michael Beavers will always be one of those guys that I have really enjoyed working with. Michael was the original designer of And he donated all of his gear, etc., this year to our sport.

My lovely bride of nearly 30 years, Lynn Pinyerd patiently supported me as I served as the Wildwater Chairman for the past four years.

Please accept my apologies to those folks that I have accidentally forgotten to include. Thanks again for all of your help and support over the past four years.

John Pinyerd
USA Canoe/Kayak - Wildwater Team Chairman