One of my non-paddling friends currently is complaining about a recent pro-am cyclocross race that was won by a guy on a dual suspension mountain bike. For those of you who never heard of the sport, 'cross involves racing an off-road course on road bikes with knobby, but still skinny, tires. The courses usually are muddy/nasty and include barricades, steep hills, etc. designed to force riders into dismounting and running. The sport used to be nothing more than winter cross training for road racers and pre-dates mountain bikes, so the rules don't really address them beyond banning forward-facing bar ends to prevent people getting speared in a crash. The guy who won this race was able to ride many of the obstacles that everyone else was having to dismount and run on.
The bike he used was perfectly legal the way the rules are written, but 'cross purists are all over him for not observing the "gentleman's agreement" to only use a modified road bike. Like open boating and c-boating, 'cross has a conservative contingent that looks down on any technological change that makes things "easier." Heck, disc brakes are still banned by the UCI, I'm pretty sure. Hard core 'crossers insist that cantilever brakes are the only appropriate equipment. If you've ever used such brakes at all, let alone on a long, steep, muddy descent, you'll know it's a lot like running a long rapid half full of water. Add road bars and skinny tires, and it's a lot like doing it in a Grumman with no bags.
It's not a perfect analogy, since we're talking formalized racing. Probably a closer comparison would be the use of the Spark in slalom rec races, since that's basically a purpose built race boat designed to just meet the standards for a category that originally was meant to accommodate the "I can't afford a dedicated race boat" crowd. It's also possible that 'cross rules need to be tightened up, since getting off and running is supposed to be an unavoidable part of the sport.
Anyway, I found it amusing to go from a thread in one niche sport to a thread in another niche sport where conservatives were up in arms about people choosing not to handicap themselves in specific ways, so I think the comparison holds water (so to speak