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Whitewater slalom world champion Scott Shipley. Photo courtesy S2O Designs.
Whitewater slalom world champion Scott Shipley. Photo courtesy S2O Designs.

Kayaking champion helps design whitewater parks in Canton, Potsdam

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The country's best known whitewater kayaking champion is helping design whitewater courses in Canton and Potsdam. Three time World Cup winner and three time Olympian Scott Shipley met with community members Monday night.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

The goal is to reshape the Grasse and Raquette Rivers in the two villages to attract fast water paddlers to the region. But Shipley says the parks aren’t just designed to attract thrill-seekers.

"Probably nine out of ten people who come to these parks never get wet at all," says Shipley. "They come to walk on the banks. They come to picnic. They come to watch events. They come to just be by the river and enjoy themselves, and so the deisgn of those trails, and the boundary zone between the river and the bank, these sorts of enhancements are some of the biggest surprises of a whitewater park because I think my people envision, gosh, we’re going to build this skate park on the river."

Shipley’s company, S2O, has designed artificial and natural whitewater parks around the world, including the course at the Olympics games last summer in London.

The towns of Canton, Potsdam, and Colton hired S2O to do a $46,000 preliminary study. The study will be done in January. But raising money to build the whitewater parks will take much longer.

David Sommerstein spoke with Shipley about how he came to design courses and equipment for the sport he competed in. Shipley is an engineer, and he said he started by necessity. Listen to their conversation.

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