New class for open canoe downriver

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Mike W.
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New class for open canoe downriver

Post by Mike W. » Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:52 pm

New race class proposed for downriver nationals. Input is needed from OC paddlers. The Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Committee wants more racers. One way to accomplish the goal is to add a class. Since most racers are using Penobscot type boats in the 16% class they want to try a "playboat" class. This would include most of the OC-1's & OC-2's that are being used for whitewater. The thinking is that there are a lot of these boats being paddled & since they are slower than the Penobscots (ie. not competitive), a seperate class could encourage playboat paddlers to race.

They are looking into having maximum length & minimum weight rules for the new class. Floatation will probably not be limited in this class as it is in 14% & 16% boats. The committee wants to make this a class that anyone can get into competitively without modifying boats or buying specially sized floatation.

Here are the questions for you:

1-Which boat(s) do you paddle?
2-Would you race if there were a playboat class?
3-What would you like to see as a maximum length for the class?
4-What are your suggestions?

Even if you would never consider racing, let me know what you are paddling. The more information that the committee has the better the events will be.

Please e-mail responses to Mike Watson watson@telpage.net

Thanks,
Mike W.

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Post by NEOC Slalom Rules » Mon Oct 27, 2003 8:44 pm

Mike,
I have a virgin 1994 vintage ABS Howler, real slow but real dry. But how could it be competitive against a Penobscot or Dagger Legend that are bagged out? I bought the boat as a closeout from MRC and then hung it in the garage as the Open Canoe Slalom rules implemented the 14% and 16% rule and it was too narrow to run as a Rec class boat. Let me warn you about too many classes. Just visit the ACA Open Canoe Slalom site at events on the ACA site. We've wrestled with trying to be everything to everyone and we currently have a class list that shows it. It was better to follow our own rules that ask for a petition for a class and then if less than 5 boats enter it for two years do away with it but we never did away with any of them. In slalom one struggle has been getting the kids and the ladies to show up. We keep hanging on to the classes hoping they will but the numbers are minimal. In Rec Class boats, the women have been showing up in good numbers though. Good luck to you and your search for the Holy Grail of a full race.
Pat
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Kaz

Post by Kaz » Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:41 am

After 23 years of canoe racing I still enjoy it. I race for my own satisfaction. All I can say is that too many classes spoils it. Should everybody go home a winner? I think not. In my opinion, if you want to race, you buy a race boat, not create a class for the boat you have. That holds true for all sports. In downhill ski racing they don't have a special class for your type of ski. You want to race, you buy race gear. Again just my opinion.Thanks,
JohnKaz

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KNeal
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What to race?

Post by KNeal » Tue Oct 28, 2003 1:39 pm

So many boats to paddle :) . So many classes to create :o . If you have more classes for the different boats out there, will you get more boaters to race? I think not. Kaz and NEOC pretty much stated the reality about the sport of canoe racing. So, I'll just keep my post to just $0.02 :wink: .

Whatever class is created, the ones who intend on winning will buy the fastest boat(s) and gear allowable in that class. I bring my Maverick to the Cheat downriver because it is the fastest c-boat I have and I intend on winning my class when I show up. Our sport (canoeing) is one of the more obscure sports, and probably will always be. When you look at whitewater downriver and marathon racing, plus slalom racing, you are narrowing down the field of boaters that will be interested in participating. It is simply the nature of why boaters paddle and whether they want to race, in my narrow-minded opinion (but then again, that is why I paddle canoes in the first place :D !).

Personally, I like to compete, regardless of the class and equipment (that is because I do not have a lot of equipment and am not able to afford more specialized boats for those classes :cry: ). The only thing that keeps me from participating in more races is LOCATION! When races are held is important too, but where the races are decides whether I will go to them. When the WWOC national championships came to Richmond (in '98?), a LOT of people came out with their boats to participate because they were simply interested in doing the event. I believe that as long as the events are accessible (location-wise), you will see more people attending.

The bottom line is this: bring more whitewater races back to Richmond! :D

KNeal

How's that for just $0.02 worth? :lol:

To answer the questions:
1 I paddle decked plastic and composite decked canoes
2 A playboat class would not be what brings me to a downriver race
3 I have no interest in what would be a maximum length
4 More races in different locations every year (Richmond, preferrably :D

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Post by NEOC Slalom Rules » Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:30 pm

Another idea. At the slalom championships, we have several classes in the combined in which a slalom boat (Playboat in the Rec Classes) runs a short downriver race and then competes with the same equipment in slalom. As Kaz states, why not race with the best equipment. We could have a real combined race in which a real downriver is run in a real downriver boat and then a slalom is run in a real slalom boat. In Nordic combined you don't run 15K on jumping skiis. Maybe a new small group of racers will be created who will attend both "Nationals". There are already a few who do. The classes created will not be finished until both races are completed leaving plenty of time for trash talking and fun in between. And perhaps the combined racers will also enter other events. I know the two disciplines of downriver and slalom had a split but here is where we could come back together again to the benefit of both.

Another idea. Add Prize Money and get all the old wildwater racers to show up in open boats. As well as other fit athletes who see an apple for the picking. The problem there is getting sponsorship for the prize money. We are such a small group.

And as KNeal so eloquently said Location Location Location. I know there is large group of Canadians who regularly attend our slalom nationals when they are held in a desireable location. I believe the same would be true in downriver if it were publicized in Ontario and Quebec. It used to be we'd have a race in the south, a race in the north and sometimes in the mid-Atlantic. Now we are venturing off to Colorado and even California(2004 slalom Nationals). There is a core group of serious racers who generally go wherever the race is held, but different locations bring a different draw of local racers, some more successfull than others. These (the big local draws) are the locations that we should keep going to.

My two cents for now

Pat
Open Boat/Open Mind

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Mike W.
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Thanks for the input

Post by Mike W. » Thu Oct 30, 2003 9:01 pm

Wow, you guys shed a lot of light on this subject for me. Several things for the committee to consider. I will pass all of this on to them.
Thanks,
Mike W.

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Combined class

Post by sbroam » Thu Oct 30, 2003 10:07 pm

Speaking of the combined class - anybody familiar with the Curtis Dragonfly? There is one in mint, never seen the water condition, whiling away the years upstairs at a local paddleshop, serving as a display bin for PFDs. There is a lable on it saying it was designed for the combined class... It also has the original price tag, mind you this is a beautiful kevlar boat with wood gunnels and seat, of $1950. And that is what the owner of the shop is still asking for it lo these nearly 20 years later...

Sure is a sweet looking boat.

Kaz

Post by Kaz » Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:07 pm

Thanks Mike, I'm actually on THAT committee. I know we'll be voting on that subject soon.
Creating more classes won't bring flocks of people into the sport. Nobody is sure what the answer is. I see it as the major maufacturers not promoting the sport of canoe racing. They only put their money in products that bring their corporation the MOST money. Unfortunately for the future of racing, this doesn't bode well.
That Curtis Dragonfly was designed by Harold Deal many a moon ago. It's still a viable boat for that class or high performance river cruising. That price is over-inflated, offer him $900.
JKaz

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Post by Ocoee Boater » Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:17 pm

Hey,
I dont know if actually count cuz i am only 18 and i dont know if i could paddle in this comp but i paddle:
an ocoee open boat
i would like to race if there was a playboat class
i guess the max length for me would be a rival or genesis type length...
and this is kinda stupid :oops: but when are these comps and where are they..i'm out here in california and its so hard to find rodeos and comps and races...well ya that my two cents :lol: :D
bryce
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You can pick your nose
But you cant pick your friend's nose!

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Folks asked about you this year

Post by Mike W. » Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:33 pm

Kaz, I heard a bunch of folks asking where you were this year. It was my 1st nationals & I really think that it's just not promoted well enough. If one of my marathon racing buddies hadn't told me about it I would not have known about the race. It was right here on the Nantahala this year, the OC capitol of the world & not many NC folks showed up.
I'm not on the committee but was asked to help with the play-boat deal.
I think you're on to something about the manufacturers not promoting it. There were no vendors there. The Saturday prior to Nats I raced in a small, parks & rec. sponsored race & they had all kinds of door prizes from Wilderness Medical, to dry-tops, they even gave away 3 boats.

Mike W.
Last edited by Mike W. on Thu Nov 06, 2003 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

abird

boatin

Post by abird » Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:11 am

i dont know much about open boat racing, but am i wrong in thinking that the downriver nationals and slalom nationals were at different places/times this year? i know it's a lot of work to host, but those events should really be "juntos." that's the only way you would get me to race downriver.

i think prize money is a real good idea too.

and for god's sakes, have the races in the east, where all the open boaters are. i look at the results every year (be the races in wausau or whatever) and all the names are either canadians or NESS familiars. i know hosting a race is hard, but racing seems like it falls into a trap of hosting races in the same places, and that makes it stagnate. open boat racing is better about this than closed boats, but, man, if someone held the open boat nationals -- slalom/downriver -- in new england, i think the turnout would be spectacular. i'd go, that's fer sure! and id whip all yall asses!
later
Alden

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Slalom / Downriver

Post by Sir Adam » Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:41 am

I don't know. I think people are so competitive these days work-wise that they DON'T want to compete on the weekends too (this is a BIG generalization). 30 years ago 10,000 people or more would attend the Hudson River Whitewater Derby (Saturday-Slalom, Sunday-downriver). 2002 saw maybe 300 people. And I'm including competitors, AND being generous (what do you think LEW?). Mind you, I wasn't there 30 years ago, but i've read the news reports and heard the stories. Where did everyone go? The race is ALWAYS the first weekend in May, and has been the same course for 46 years (May 2004 will be the 47th annual Hudson River Whitewater Derby).

Are their trophies? YES. In LOTS of categories. I know-I have a bunch of them from being the ONLY C1 in a few classes :o .

It IS in New England (depending on your definition), or close.

So, is it the cost of entering? Lack of publicity (less entries has meant less $$ to publicize the race)?

So, do we choose to be less competitive? Less outdoor oriented (has TV, the internet, computers, etc... replaced outdoor recreation for a lot of folks?)?

/rant

As I said in the beginning, I don't know. But I sure wish it would change! And yes, I DO hope to attend a few NESS races next year (usually I just do the Derby...it IS local :D )
Keep the C!
Adam

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Post by the great gonzo » Fri Oct 31, 2003 2:52 am

What do I paddle?
- I currently have 3 open boats, a Pyranha Prelude, a Old Town Discovery Scout and a Mad River Rampage, although that one is barely floating. I also have C1, a Dagger Atom, a Prijon Delirious and a Robson Finkenmeister.

-Would I race if there was a Playboat class?
Not sure. My favorite among the OC is definitely the prelude, but it's emphasis is not flat out speed. How could I les say keep up with this boat with someone paddling a a Genesis or a Rival.
-What I really enjoy when paddling are playing in waves and holes, running big water or trying to catch as many eddies as I can. Going flat out down river does not overly appeal to me. I would probably try it out if there was a race somewhere close and if some of my friends would participate as well.

-What would I like to see as max. length for a playboat class?
That is a very tricky one.The problem is that whatever length you choose, you pretty much need a the longes allowed boat in order to be competitive in this class, which will automatically deter owners of shorter boats.
Realistically the max allowed length should probably be around 13 to 14 ft.

-What would I suggest?
Run a combination of slalom and downriver race to even out the odds between the faster and the more manoevrable but slower boats

martin
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combined

Post by sbroam » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:02 am

I've only raced a handful of times, mostly slalom and mostly on the Nantahala. Only once did I actually race in actual race boat - usually I raced what I had - a playboat (of sorts, the Viper 12!). I was at a decided disadvantage to the folks in "real race boats", but I had fun anyway. And while slalom more closely approximates what I like to do on a river (except you aren't supposed to stop and surf), the down river race was fun too. It feel weird flying past all the eddies and waves, but it was a different challenge.

I think I could really get interested in a combined class (it would give me a reason to go get that Dragonfly!). But my problem, race-wise is not the classes, but the locations - the closest I know of are at the Nantahala and either there are less of them or I'm just hearing about fewer. All the pod boaters around here want to do is work on thier flatwater loops (uh oh, I feel a Scott Wilkinson river-flip-monkey rant coming on).

Scott

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Why not a formula race?

Post by ezwater » Fri Oct 31, 2003 5:00 am

Why not a downriver formula race? We have computers, and we know a lot about what makes boats fast in a downriver race. Throwing all the WW boats in together is going to result in someone bringing a 15 foot MR Synergy and cleaning up. But if you use length, width, and perhaps some info about rocker, you can equalize people to some degree. It's been done for decades in ocean sailing.

g2d

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