Paddle Sports Rapidly Evolve
With the Times

The GoPro Mountain Games, held in June in Vail, Colorado, included whitewater events as part of its mix of sports. Paddle sports are seeing a growth of interest thanks to new venues available for events. Photo courtesy of Cal Sport Media via AP Images
The GoPro Mountain Games, held in June in Vail, Colorado, included whitewater events as part of its mix of sports. Paddle sports are seeing a growth of interest thanks to new venues available for events. Photo courtesy of Cal Sport Media via AP Images

By Greg Mellen

Paddle sports such as rowing, canoeing and kayaking conjure images either of the great outdoors and wild remote places or of elite Ivy Leaguers sculling upriver pre-dawn. And while those images hold true, times are changing.

Racing watercraft goes back thousands of years. Until recently, the venues for rowing, canoeing and kayaking—the Olympic disciplines in paddle sports—have been constricted to a rather limited number of cities. “There are a finite number of water resources that aren’t used by other watercraft,” said Glenn Merry, chief executive officer of U.S. Rowing. “We’re looking at ways to change that.”

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