Posted by: Ashley | November 2, 2008

Name the Releases Contest

For a number of years, the Wausau Area Canoe & Kayak Organization (WACKO) has been managing the recreational releases for Wausau Kayak / Canoe Corporation. As of 2009, Wausau Kayak / Canoe Corporation (Wausau Whitewater) will be managing the release. We thank Tom Wood and his WACKO team members for their support for the last few years. The number of releases had always been negotiated between Wausau Whitewater and Wisconsin Public Service who operates our dam. When we gave the releases to WACKO to run, there were 20 to 40 paddlers attending each of the 4 to 5 releases per year. This past year, I made a concerted effort to work every release and cheer on our count. We had 80 to 128 paddlers at each of the 9 releases this year. Amazing! People come from a minimum of five states to paddle the Wausau Whitewater course.


Of course, the graduated annual improvements since 2006 by the team of John Brennan, Course Designer and Michael Schroeder, Project Manager have made the course undeniably better. Top to bottom, the course is better!


This change in management leads me to the point of this post. Recreational release is a mouthful that I don’t know that it makes sense. Let’s have a contest to rename the releases. What do you think they should be called? Put your comment in the comment section and I will keep track. In a later post, I will let you know who won. The official judging will be done by an unnamed panel of whitewater officials, how’s that for vague?


You are now charged with commenting your choice of name for whatever a recreational release is… the 6 hours of paddle time on the Wausau Whitewater course.


Looking forward to your answers! The prize is a season’s pass which will let you paddle at any or all of the 10 recreational releases, valued at $65. Winner to be named on April 15, 2009.



  1. Hi Julie;

    Play Days or Play Daze or Play Dayz ?

    That’s the best I can do and that’s sad 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for all the hard work that you and your crew do each release so we all have a place to paddle. Have a nice winter, maybe for a Christmas gift the power company will let you have all the water you want anytime you want it!

    Ken Nelson

  2. Hi Ken! Great responses! I know you love the river. Still remember your friend saying thank you for turning on the “Fun Machine”!

    Wisconsin Public Service gives us many Christmas presents. Part of their sponsorship is the gift of hours of water time. All the water we want all the time is probably a bigger gift than they plan though.

    Thank you for helping with the contest! Pass the word…

  3. Hi, maybe Open Paddling or Public Paddling? We all know what the Rec releases are but I don’t think the “regular” people do.

  4. I was thinking something similar “Open Play” – I
    have seen that used in other sports to denote
    times for people to just show up and play.

  5. … or “Open Play Paddling”.

  6. @Dave you’re getting the issue. We all know what we mean but for the person who might want to try the sport, they have no idea of the language. Thank you for your suggestions.

    @Doug Thank you too for your suggestions. We will put them all in a list and review them. I was thinking that By Thanksgiving everyone who has an idea should have sent it in. Pass the word!

  7. Well, the problem (to me) is that the name is likely to be either:

    Descriptive, attempting to convey what is happening, to someone who doesn’t understand what is happening (as “Recreational Release” does, to at least some extent).
    Cutesy, a fun pun or other semi-frivolity, which does not even attempt to do any better job of conveying meaning, but serves almost exclusively the goal of just being different terminology for the sake of being different (and for the sake of levity).

    Problem is, I’m not sure that any quick and easy (couple of words ‘name’) is going to do any better job of conveying any more ‘full’ meaning, absent going to a much lengthier phrase, which may or may not lend itself to a cute acronym (and then only likely by extreme contrivance).

    So . . . playing the word game . . . we’re getting a release from the floodgates, or ‘spilling’ water, for whitewater recreationists to get their jollies: “Spills for Thrills!”
    Or, we are getting the power company at Wausau to open their floodgates so we can have water: “Wausau Open Water — W.O.W.!”

    Trying the long phrase>acronym route, “scheduled open water for whitewater recreational opportunity” (or “opportunities”) ==> SOWWRO (Hmmm, sounds too much like ‘sorrow’, not a word association we want.)

    Short and to the point, it is (literally) “Water Over the Dam” (W.O.D.?, I don’t think so.)

    Recreational Opportunities on Wausau’s Whitewater (ROWW? Maybe.)

    Whitewater Opportunities for Freestylin’ (WOF) or Whitewater Opportunities for Freestylin’ Fun (WOFF) or Wausau Opportunities for Freestylin’ (WOF) or Wausau Opportunities for Freestylin’ Fun (WOFF)

    Or we could just call it our “Whitewater Period”, ‘cuz it’s the days of the month that we have our flow. (Ewww, probably don’t want to go that route!)

    Well, like I said, I’m not sure I expect anything is likely to trip any more easily of the tongue (than “recreational releases’), and in any way at the same time be any more descriptive for someone who doesn’t know what is going on. But, maybe some of the above wordsmithing will get someone else’s creativity flowing.

  8. Rob, excellent wordsmithing! Your posts to the boater forums are always well constructed, too!

    We will review all of your suggestions and also see if you prompted more paddlers to participate!

    The freestyle options you suggested are interesting because as you know, Wausau Whitewater’s course is an excellent course to practice freestyle moves because of the many features strategically placed throughout the course. However, we built the course to be a slalom and freestyle and just fun paddling course so we want to name the releases to be welcoming to slalom boaters, open canoes, and recreational paddlers of all types as well as the freestyle community.

    Lots to think about in your comment. Thank you, Rob for being such a supporter of Wausau Whitewater and whitewater in general!

  9. To Rob’s point about wordy acronyms:


    Wausau’ll Enjoy The Release Of Water.

  10. Thank you, Mark! We’ll add that to the list. I asked for help with the name because I was running into the same problem that Rob had. I wanted people who always wanted to paddle Wausau to know that this is their chance. Lots of people who do paddle especially Wausau people seem to think we are an exclusive Olympic venue. Though many Olympians have paddled the course and probably always will, we have paddlers coming from 5 states away with basic to advanced paddling skills.

    WET ROW>>> hmmm….

  11. Another option along the vein I was taking:

    Open whitewater

  12. how about

    Play Water Release dayz

    that should cover all paddlers plus safetys use of water

  13. HI Kevin, I will add that to the list! Thanks!

  14. suggestions:

    Dam’s Open Play Time

    Whitewater Open Play Time

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