Latest Headlines More Headlines News Archive E-Zines Committee Meeting Minutes Bylaws of the Wildwater Committee Subscribe to E-Zine Article Submission Guidelines ICF Rules ICF Rules - 2008 Update Resources for Event Directors
2016 Wildwater Calendar Archives
Want Ads Vendors Reviews & Repairs
USA Wildwater USA Canoe/Kayak Coaches/Mentors
Current Team Members Former Team Members/Athletes   -- The official Website of the United States Wildwater Team.


What I learned at Glenwood Canyon, Colorado and the USA Wildwater Western Junior Team Trials/Colorado High School Cup Race 2

by Michael Hyde

April 23, 2012 -- Glenwood Canyon, CO

This past week was spent in beautiful Glenwood Canyon, Colorado for the USA Wildwater Western Junior Team Trials and the #2 Colorado High School Cup event. It involved Wildwater Classic & Sprint, Freestyle, and slalom (for those who still had any energy left in their bodies).

Thought I wish we'd had more in attendance, both competing and as spectators, it was nonetheless brilliant racing to behold. What I learned is that while safety boating is a noble thing to volunteer for, it is also brutal in direct sunlight. My big mental note was to bring more water in my boat, or at least one of the filter straws as the river is still cold this time of year.

The kids looked great from the oldest on down to the youngest, they were there to work their butts off and race. They did exactly that. I also learned that this discipline of the sport is in dire need of more bodies in it. Now while I am pretty sure that 9 year old Orrin Huff needs to grow a bit more to fit into a DR boat, my 11 year old son has proven he can not only handle a DR boat, be it K1, C1, or Denny Adam's very expensive C2 (Henry learned it is also sometimes better to ask for permission than forgiveness and to never assume), but he also proved he can straight up compete with anyone on the river.

What does that mean? It means we need more kids out there. It means we need to think about recruiting younger boaters. It means we need to figure out how to retain them in the sport. The one sure-fire way of getting kids retained is getting them into more than one discipline of the sport. Wildwater, Freestyle and Slalom each lend something to the others. It makes for a better boater, a well-rounded boater, and most importantly, a very wise and safe boater. Lastly, all of the aforementioned will keep them having fun.

It was fun seeing the kids race, then hump their boats back up to the start during the sprints. They had to work hard and in the end of it, I believe they felt like they had earned something beyond the usual recognition of winning a class. They each grew up a little bit on Saturday and Sunday, that was good to watch.

If any of you get a chance this summer, spend some time talking to these kids. Spend some time talking to the younger kids who are truly elite boaters. There are thousands of kids with the right stuff out there, but you have to draw them in and be willing to help them. Help prepare the next generation of champions.

-M. Hyde-