I recently returned from presenting at the 5th annual Whitewater Symposium. The energy was high and discussions dynamic during the course of the weekend. Over 80 influential industry professionals from instructors, to kayak academic programs to manufacturers gathered to share information and ideas on how to continue to grow and develop the sport.
The venue for the Symposium this year was the ASCI whitewater course in Maryland. The attendees got a demonstration of the technology that allows the course to create and change wave features and rapids. With the flick of a switch they can turn a wave into a very retentive pourover and vice versa. While EJ was surfing the wave they turned it into a pourover to try to make him swim, but to everyone’s disappointment, he managed to get out after several attempts by using the tubing on the sides to pull himself out! It was really cool to be able to go for a quick paddle between presentations and to take advantage of the great playboating features. Man-made whitewater parks are really fun!
To me the Symposium is the most valuable think tank that the whitewater industry has for developing cutting edge ideas on instruction, growing participation, safety, boat and gear design, marketing, stewardship, entrepreneurship and anything else that you would associate with whitewater. Everyone who wants to be at the forefront of the industry should be attending the Symposium, and if everyone who is involved in the industry would attend I think we would create limitless opportunities for all paddlers. So keep your eye out for next year’s Symposium because you shouldn’t miss it.
Thanks to Bob Campbell, Bruse Lessels and Kent Ford for leading the charge and to all of the cutting edge minds who attended.