Olympic kayaker from Colorado designs London kayak course
LYONS, Colo- You don’t have to be a Colorado resident for very long to figure out the “river folk.” They are the people who live for water.
The people who like to spend their free time paddling any type of boat in the water. They are also the same people who find a way to work less and play more.
The people always smiling, happy and … tan. As Scott Shipley explains it, “There really is a DNA to river people.”
Shipley is a perfect specimen. He was a three time Olympic kayaker. He was ranked number one for eight consecutive years, a ten time national champion. He met his wife on the water who raced on the German team. And water is still a big part of Shipley’s life.
“We design fun. More often than you realize in Colorado, when you’re in an inner tube floating down a rapid, it’s probably something built by our company or a company like ours.”
The Lyons resident is the founder and owner of S2O design.
“I studied engineering at Georgia Tech, got into ship design. Kind of very last minute, I saw an article about a guy that did river design and thought gosh I want to get into doing whitewater parks.”
When Scott is out of the water, he is wading through computer models and blueprints, including the biggest project of all, the 2012 Olympic course.
“To be a part of the design team on that London park was literally a dream come true. I so much wanted stay part of that Olympic movement.”
Part of the Olympic design includes giant Lego like blocks, called RapidBlocs that create obstacles and whitewater just like a natural boulder would. Brand new technology, invented by Scott and his British partner.
In London the Lee Valley Whitewater Center outside of London is already in use.
“The feedback we’re getting is, ‘Oh my gosh! This is what we dreamed of,’ and we’re hearing that from the Slovakians, the French, the British, it’s not just the U.S. Team saying it’s the crème de la crème of white water parks.”
All those hours playing in the water are definitely paying off.
“The most rewarding thing by far for me, because I did live that Olympic life for 20 years, to go back to an Olympics and watch it on a channel we designed. Watch it on a channel we built.”