by Ashley Knutson
Over the years Wausau Whitewater has been host to Local, National, and International races and competitions both in the Slalom and Freestyle disciplines of canoe and kayak. Julie Walraven dedicated numerous years as the Operations Manager, learning and knowing every aspect of the organization and what it has to offer the Wausau and paddling communities. While the economy in our country is struggling, Wausau Whitewater is still holding strong bringing events such as the ACA Open Canoe Nationals and North American Championships to Wausau in 2009 and winning the ACA Event of the Year. As I attempt to fill her shoes in 2010, I see tremendous opportunities for Wausau to be the cornerstone of growth in the sports of whitewater kayak and canoe.
In 2009, Wausau Whitewater partnered with Bear Paw Adventure Resort to offer training and instructional classes during recreational releases at a very affordable rate. The classes include introductory to whitewater canoeing and kayaking, Kayak rolling, Class III Level Kayaking, and Fundamentals of Freestyle Kayaking. Additionally, the Jackson Kayak Team travels to Wausau in August to offer a 2 day Jackson Freestyle Clinic and Cathy Hearn, one of the National Slalom Team Coaches will instruction the 3-day Ray McClain Training Camp in July.
Training isn’t the only new development at Wausau Whitewater however. Michael Schroeder has worked hard to bring the 1st Annual Wausau RiverFest to life on June 11-13th, 2010. He’s also made some new changes to the course moving rocks and creating new waves for the enjoyment of our growing community of freestyle paddlers. Additionally, Karla Westcott continues her efforts to bring in National and International events such as the 2010 Team Trials, 2011 Pre- Junior World Championships, and the 2012 Jr. World Championships!
The future is bright but Wausau Whitewater has always and continues to rely upon the support of wonderful volunteers, sponsors, paddlers, and a dedicated board of directors to continue to host these activities. Thank you for your support and if you are interested in getting involved or finding out how you can help make the upcoming years a success, contact Ashley Knutson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!