Paddlesports Industry Poised for Growth as Olympics Approach
S2o Design whitewater park project roster foretells surge in whitewater
Beyond the usual uptick in interest most summer sports enjoy during an Olympic year, whitewater paddling in particular seems poised for growth in 2012, says former US Canoe Slalom Olympian Scott Shipley.
Shipley should know. His company S2o Design and Engineering, one of the world’s leading whitewater park design builders, is on the front lines of the industry with a project roster that is booming.
For starters, the world’s eyes will be focused on Shipley’s handiwork at the Lee Valley Whitewater Park, host to the 2012 Olympic Canoe Slalom competition. S2o completed the design of the Lee Valley Whitewater Park this past summer. Lee Valley was the first of London’s Olympic venues to be completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Looking ahead to 2012, S2o will be working on a diversity of projects around the globe including the following:
- – North America. Freestyle parks in Montana and Idaho. A second feature at the freestyle park in downtown Missoula and an in-stream restoration via a new whitewater park in Ketchum.
- – Pacific. A new whitewater park in Hawea, New Zealand
- – Europe. A mammoth whitewater park in Moscow, Russia; in conjunction with UK-based Engineer Paddler Designs
Shipley notes that S2o’s proprietary RapidBlocs are also contributing to the surge in demand for projects. RapidBlocs allows operators to alter whitewater park thanks to a proprietary system of large synthetic blocks that can be easily re-positioned to create different hydraulic features. Since their invention two years ago, RapidBlocs has been installed in seven whitewater channel and has become the standard for all modern whitewater parks in the world. These include:
• Two channels at the Lee Valley whitewater Park, the official Olympic Slalom course and the Training Channel course. Lee Valley will also host the 2015 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.
• Two channels at Teeside (UK), the world’s first “green” pumped whitewater park. RapidBlocs are installed in Teeside’s Main Channel, an Olympic Training Venue, as well as a short and steep channel that doubles as a swift water rescue training channel. Both channels operate on a system that includes Archimedes screw pumps that can be operated in reverse to generate hydroelectric power. The system allows for rafting on-demand and also generates more power in a year than is used to operate the facility.
• Two channels at two different venues in the Czech Republic, one is the classic Prague-Troja channel that has played host to a number of international events in the past thirty years. The new obstacles are a part of a remodel of the course for the upcoming 2013 World Championships. The other RapidBloc course is the Budejovice Course (that is Budweiser to us Americans). This new whitewater channel features the RapidBloc obstacles and is being prepared to host the 2012 Czech Olympic Team Trials.
Shipley noted RapidBlocs installations are also planned at Cardiff International Whitewater Course in Wales and Dutch Water Dreams, a unique, Olympic-level whitewater sports complex in the Netherlands, as well as a new international standard channel in Moscow, Russia.
For further information on Shipley’s services and RapidBlocs, or to submit a request for consultation, visit the S2o Designs website at www.s2odesign.com