John Gregory’s ICF Podcast: ‘Scott Shipley on Slalom Course Design”

International Canoe Federation (ICF) podcast host John Gregory chats with S2O Design founder Scott Shipley about whitewater course design, RapidBlocks, and the way in which canoe slalom and paddlesport park venues have evolved.

Listen here – https://icfslalom.libsyn.com/scott-shipley-on-slalom-course-design – or wherever you get your podcasts!

PRESS RELEASE: S2O Design and Engineering Redesigns Iconic Competition Venue in Bratislava, Slovakia

Famed Cunovo Water Sports Centre Completes Renovation with a Nod to the Future

      

 

Originally built in 1996 on an island in the Danube, the Cunovo Water Sports Centre in Bratislava, Slovakia hosted its first World Cup kayak event in 1997 and its most recent in 2013. To continue progressing with this growing sport, the Slovakian Federation tapped S2O Design and Engineering to lead a major renovation of the iconic dual-channel venue. S2O Design’s new channel configuration and incorporation of the RapidBlocs™ system gives Cunovo a better experience for recreation-level users, and adds a cache of features for advanced paddlers to play, train, and race at the highest levels.

“We love working on projects like this, but this one was a little more personal for me,” said S2O Design’s founder and president Scott Shipley, the three-time Olympian and World Cup slalom champion who also medaled for the U.S. at Cunovo in 1999. “We were fortunate to work closely with the Federation and with coaches who have been using the course for 20 years. That much insight and experience go a long way toward building a world-class whitewater competition venue that can evolve along with the sport.”

S2O Design’s work on the iconic venue included reconfiguring the channel layout and updating the obstacle structures. The unique parallel courses, which allow paddlers to change from one course to the other midway, had become outdated, and unfavorable conditions on the left channel made it largely unusable for recreational paddlers and not conducive for competitions.

S2O Design redesigned the left channel to integrate their patented RapidBlocs™ system, highly customizable three-dimensional obstacles that form the course’s waves, holes, drops, and eddies. The flexibility of the new system allows the operators to customize the configuration with the desired amount, type, and shape of features for any level paddler. The RapidBlocs system was also used for the newly built venue that hosted the 2021 Olympic Games.

Cunovo’s new competition channel configuration included repositioning the starting gate, adding a spectator-friendly features in front of the grandstand, and reconfiguring the bottom features on the racecourse.

The result of the renovation is better, more consistent whitewater throughout the channel, providing favorable conditions for both guided commercial operations as well as technical and endurance training and beginner to Olympic-level racing. The new configuration also makes Cunovo Whitewater Water Sports Centre an ideal venue for spectating and televised events.

“The reconstruction of the water slalom complex in Čunovo is an important milestone in the development of water sports in the Slovak Republic,” said Matus Stulajter, project manager at the Slovak Canoeing Federation. “In collaboration with Scott Shipley and the S2O Design team, we have managed to create a unique channel with elements that are nowhere else in the world. I believe that this unique project will contribute to the sustainable development of sports infrastructure in Slovakia.”

Cunovo Whitewater Park will host the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships Sept 22-26. The new course should help Slovakia return to a once-dominant position in whitewater slalom when it was part of the Czech Republic.

The Bratislava course is just one of many high-profile whitewater courses the S20 Design team is credited with designing, including the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., RiverSports Whitewater Park in Oklahoma City, and the Lee Valley White Water Centre in London, site of the 2012 Olympics. S2O Design is currently leading the design and development of Montgomery Whitewater, the new $50 million recirculating whitewater center in Montgomery, Ala.

Wave of enthusiasm builds as $50 million whitewater park breaks ground in Montgomery

from Montgomery Advertiser
June 10, 2021

How do you turn a storm into a chamber of commerce day? Add $50 million worth of water.

Government officials, military leaders, business executives and representatives of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians exchanged smiles and hugs in a downpour Thursday as they cheered the official start of construction on a $50 million, government-backed whitewater park and outdoor center here. It’s a project that originally was announced two years ago as a complex public-private partnership, led by Montgomery County, and the expected opening was delayed as those deals shifted during the pandemic.

Those meeting in the rain Thursday praised a tenacity and spirit of collaboration in reaching the groundbreaking event. “We are Republicans and Democrats with the same vision,” Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean said. “… They care about making Montgomery… a whole better place to live in.”

The park expects to open in summer 2023 on a 120-acre site between Maxwell Air Force Base and Interstate 65. A pump-powered channel will carry kayakers along a man-made course that winds around a restaurant, shops, an amphitheater and many other amenities. Other planned attractions include a water slide zip line tower visible from the interstate, a biking trail and even a beach area with cabanas.

The city of Montgomery is donating land to the project and has worked to reach an arrangement on a new facility for the Salvation Army, which still has a shelter on the site. Mayor Steven Reed said the Salvation Army “has the final details of the contract now” and that he expects that deal to close soon. That site would not be involved in phase one of construction.

Alabama Power Vice President Leslie Sanders said the property started with 58 different land owners, and the city was able to negotiate all of those deals successfully. “There is no project of this magnitude that does not have challenges every day,” Sanders said. “… A lot of people still think it’s a whitewater amusement park. It takes explaining, and it takes perseverance.”

Boat paddles to be used for shovels during the groundbreaking ceremony for the whitewater park and outdoor fun center in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday June 10, 2021.

The construction work ahead is just as daunting, as is the aggressive two-year timeline.

Phase one alone includes a 310,000-square-foot channel for the whitewater course, a system to filter and manage 18 million gallons of water a year, 40,000 square feet of restaurants, retail and other buildings, and more. Senior project manager Jeffrey Gustin of Southern Whitewater Development Group said the first seven to eight months will be spent on site work and prep.

Former Olympian Scott Shipley designed the U.S. National Whitewater Center in North Carolina as well as the 2012 Olympic venue. Shipley has spent the past few months working on a scale test model of the Montgomery facility in the Czech Republic. He said it required him to get special permission from the Czech government to enter the country during the pandemic.

“This will be the most modern whitewater park in the world when it opens in 2023,” Shipley said. “We want to be able to bring international competitors here and have that Olympic standard course, but we also want to make the hurdle to getting your church groups, and your school groups, and your family and friends out on that whitewater much lower.”

Scott Shipley, President S2o Design and Engineering, speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the whitewater park and outdoor fun center in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday June 10, 2021.

Shipley said they’ll offer two channels — one Olympic standard and one for “families to explore whitewater for the first time.”

A local board called the Montgomery County Community Cooperative District was formed to oversee construction, and in April it named JESCO Inc. the general contractor for the project. JESCO also was involved in the construction of Riverwalk Stadium, the Montgomery Regional Airport and several other showpiece projects across central Alabama.

Duke Partnering with SC to Develop Massive New Whitewater Center for Charlotte Region

The Charlotte region is about to boast another major whitewater recreation center to compliment the US National Whitewater Center.

Duke Energy’s new multi-million dollar project, called the Great Falls-Dearborn Development, will completely revision Dearborn Island, including building a massive pedestrian bridge to the 650-acre island, install three canoe and kayak launches, restructuring water channels into class 2,3 and 4 whitewater rapids, and partnering with South Carolina to develop an entirely new state park.

Duke Energy will be working with S2O Design, designer of Charlotte’s U.S. National Whitewater Center, and HDR Engineering to build 2 new bypass channels, with the longest one being about 1 1/2 miles. The new channels will gradually dissipate the reservoirs released energy using switchbacks and a series of progressively challenging waves. Each bypass will use notches and gates to regulate the water flow.

“If you came out here 200 years ago when the river was down, it’d likely look exactly as it is today,” said Tim Huffman, Duke Energy’s senior project manager charged with implementing the FERC agreement. “The reservoir now has very limited access. When the elements of the Catawba River agreement are put in place, not only will access be improved, the two dried out reaches will have their flows restored for recreational access as well as biological and habitat enhancement.”

Work is currently underway at the Nitrolee Access Area and construction on the short and long bypass is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2021. The completed facilities are planned to be finished within the next two years.

Source:

https://www.charlottestories.com/duke-partnering-with-sc-to-develop-massive-new-whitewater-center-for-charlotte-region/?fbclid=IwAR12w9OYyNWWvvUYePx8olN3pHuvLi2R8z-obkh1bFqstytvxCMnr-TNhNA

The Municipal: “Poudre River Project Strikes the Right Balance”

The City of Fort Collins, Colo., and its community members had a dream: the revitalization of the Cache la Poudre River corridor. With the river passing through the city’s downtown, it was an invaluable asset that simply needed rediscovering.

View full article here: The Municipal_Jan_21

 

PRESS RELEASE: S2O Design Leads Dynamic River Restoration Effort for The River Mile, Denver’s Largest Development

South Platte River restoration project will reconnect the city to its iconic urban waterway, improving natural habitat, flood control, and recreation access

   

Downtown Denver, Colo.’s largest mixed-used development, The River Mile, has tapped S2O Design and Engineering to lead a signature component of this complex, dynamic restoration of the heralded South Platte River. Spearheaded by developer Revesco Properties, this one-of-a-kind neighborhood — comprising 62 acres and ultimately up to 15 million square feet of commercial and residential property — will reconnect the city to its iconic urban waterway, improving riparian and aquatic habitat, flood control, and recreation access.

“With $80 million in federal matching funds, river restoration is the project’s fundamental purpose, and it will be one of the most significant river restorations ever undertaken by a private enterprise, anywhere,” says Gregory V. Murphy, president of Calibre Engineering, The River Mile’s civil engineer. “S2O is helping us develop a design solution that’s in alignment with all the stakeholders’ interests.”

Since 1860, the South Platte River has been highly impacted by urban development. In a major commitment by the developer, in partnership with the City of Denver, the Greenway Foundation, and other environmental experts, the project’s goal is to return the river to a more natural state ecologically and physically. The effort will incorporate sustainability, aquatic and riparian habitat enhancements, and flood control along a more than 1-mile-long stretch of this valuable waterway. The project will also improve recreational access via a trail system leading to new fishing and paddling features. The restoration will add 27 acres of riverside parks and open spaces while energizing this new downtown neighborhood.

A leader in river restoration and development, S20 Design brings a unique expertise in integrating recreation into river restoration efforts. Led by engineer and three-time Olympian Scott Shipley, S2O Design has designed and engineered a variety of highly successful in-stream recreation projects and has served as lead designer of some of the world’s most high-profile whitewater recreation and competition venues.

“We are honored to work with such a talented team in restoring and revitalizing this vital natural resource for Denver,” says Shipley. “We are working with some of the early visionaries in urban floodway restoration including the Greenway Foundation and the Mile-High Flood District. This project will set a new standard in how to approach and realize environmental and flood enhancements while also prioritizing human interaction with the river for recreation and relaxation.”

Restoration efforts will improve this section of the river’s in-stream habitat and its riparian and wetland corridor, with fish benefitting from a fully connected habitat throughout the reach and the removal of thousands of tons of silt and sand. The team will replace the existing floodway configuration with a more natural restoration that will create a narrower, deeper low-flow channel. It will also aid in moving sediment better, which helps prevent flooding, but will also provide cooler water for fish habitat and the opportunity for a multi-stage channel with a vibrant riparian zone.

“S2O Design brings the technical expertise with hydraulic modeling, stream restoration, and recreation design needed to make this project a success,” says Heather Houston, President and Senior Ecologist at Birch Ecology. “They have done a great job of listening and facilitating conversations to realize a successful outcome.”

In the past two years, S20 Design has completed in-channel river parks on the Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colo.; the Arkansas River in Canon City, Colo.; the Eagle River in Eagle, Colo.; and the Boise Whitewater Park in Boise, Idaho.

PRESS RELEASE: S2O Design Drops New “Whitewater Park Toolkit”

New guide shows paddlers how to take a local river park from an idea to reality.

LYONS, COLO. (April 1, 2020) – Well-designed, whitewater-centered river parks are transforming underutilized or inaccessible rivers into treasured community assets. Paddlers interested in championing a project in their own community now have a resource to help make it happen: the WHITEWATER PARK TOOLKIT A Paddler’s Guide to Championing a Local Project. Produced by S2O Design and Engineering, the world’s leading whitewater park design and river engineering firm, the Whitewater Park Toolkit provides an inside look at whitewater park design and development and shares what it takes to initiate a river park project locally.

Whitewater Park Toolkit“We’ve built dozens of successful whitewater parks across the country, and nearly every one was set in motion by a paddler who simply had a vision and took the first step to make it happen,” said S2O Design founder and president Scott Shipley, a three-time Olympian and three-time World Cup whitewater kayak champion. “This Toolkit is designed to foster that enthusiasm and engagement and help take a local river park from an idea to a reality.”

The Whitewater Park Toolkit provides a general understanding of the process, players, and costs involved in building a fun, safe, and environmentally friendly river park, while illustrating that successfully building one requires a mix of planning, preparation, and passion.

The Toolkit includes sections covering site and river considerations, the design and development process, the costs involved, funding opportunities, identifying community stakeholders and key decision-makers, and building municipal and community support. It also addresses the role of the Feasibility Study and Economic Impact Study, and delves into working with river engineering and whitewater park design specialists.

“We’re proud to both create the Toolkit and have it in our arsenal to help river and paddling enthusiasts find their joy in paddling locally,” Shipley added.

S2o Design has planned, designed, and built some of the highest profile whitewater venues in the world, including the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C.; the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre, site of the 2012 Olympics; and the Riversport Rapids Whitewater Center in Oklahoma City. The firm has also designed and built a variety of in-stream recreation projects, including the Durango Whitewater Park (CO), Boise Whitewater Park (ID), Eagle River Park (CO), Poudre River Whitewater Park (CO), and Camphill River Park (Wanaka, NZ). S2O Design has also led numerous river restoration projects, including Denver’s River Mile River Restoration Project, the Canyon City River Master Plan (CO), and St. Vrain Creek Watershed Master Plan (CO).

PRESS RELEASE: S2O Design Completes New Whitewater Park for the City of Fort Collins, Colo.

Poudre River Whitewater Park adds recreation, economic growth to northern Colorado.

Coursing through the heart of downtown Fort Collins, Colo., the Poudre River is now home to the country’s newest whitewater park. Driven by river park engineering firm S20 Design and Engineering, the new whitewater park features a series of waves for rafters, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders, a wading area for families, a pedestrian bridge, and extensive bank reconfiguration. The project, located near Old Town at Vine Drive and College Avenue, brings the river back to a more natural state, provides the community a greater connection to the river, and invites economic development to the area.

“The Poudre has always been a classic Colorado destination for river running, and now its recreational amenities will be more accessible than ever,” said S2O Design founder Scott Shipley. “Not only is it a beautiful site for a river park, it’s also a perfect example of various entities coming together to create a great focal point for the town.”

Lyons, Colo.-based S2O Design provided design, planning, permitting, and construction services to the project. S20 was chosen because of its expertise with whitewater park development and familiarity with the market. The park will officially open in September 2019. 

Design and construction of the Poudre River Whitewater Park was a complex process with several moving parts and a broad array of stakeholders. S2O Design was charged with converting the dangerous Coy Diversion Dam, which was a barrier to fish passage, into a usable park area that also encourages fish migration. The river features needed to provide low- and high-water functionality to a wide variety of users, with extensive bank restoration and reconfiguration to bolster animal habitat and improve stormwater management. 

Funding the $12 million project was achieved through both public and private partners. The city’s Building on Basics tax initiative, a program introduced in 2015 for community improvements, contributed $7 million; the city’s Storm Water, Natural Areas, and Parks and Rec departments contributed $3 million; and private donations totaled more than $2 million, including a $1 million gift from longtime Fort Collins residents Jack and Ginger Graham.

“The Poudre holds a very special place in our city’s history,” said Jack Graham, former U.S. Senate candidate and Colorado State University athletic director who spearheaded the school’s new on-campus stadium. “It has been in need of some TLC for decades and the park’s environmental repairs and restoration, coupled with its recreational features, will bring needed energy and economic development to the River District and downtown.”

Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell added, “The river, and its new park, is a true treasure for our community and a legacy for our future. It will build community, strengthen our downtown, and contribute to our vibrancy and prosperity.”

Bringing the project to fruition was a long time coming. It was formally approved by voters in 2015 as part of the city’s Community Capital Improvement Program, but was in the works for nearly 20 years prior. “We first started talking about it way back in 1986, so it’s great to finally see it come to fruition,” says Tim O’Hara, a commercial photographer who served as the lead fundraiser for the project.

Previous efforts at building a river park there had stalled. Shipley, who holds a master’s degree in Engineering and is also a three-time Olympian and World Cup slalom kayak champion, was able to organize the project’s multiple stakeholders, navigate the long public process, and drive the design decisions that led to its final construction. “A lot of other companies had looked at this, but we were the only ones who were able to get it done,” said Shipley.

S2O Design has completed several other river recreation and restoration projects in Colorado, including the Eagle River Park, Durango Whitewater Park, Canon City Whitewater Park, and Bohn Park in Lyons, Colo.

About S2O Design

S2O Design is an engineering firm specializing in innovative river engineering, restoration, and community-focused whitewater park design. Our team of expert boater-engineers has planned, conceived, designed, and created some of the best in-stream whitewater parks as well as largest and most dynamic recirculating whitewater parks in the world. S2O Design is led by engineer, Olympian, and three-time World Cup Kayak Champion and Freestyle Kayak Champion Scott Shipley. For more information, visit S2ODesign.com.