River Conditions

WhiteWater Voyages Media Articles

January 1, 2000
Paddler Magazine

Paddlers of the Century

Bill McGinnis

Bill McGinnis As we celebrate the end of a spectacular century of paddling, certain individuals stand out from the crowd. Some are well known as visionaries, innovators, Olympic athletes or legendary explorers, while others have gone quietly about the business of paddling for its own sake, logging thousands of miles for nothing more than the experience itself and some entries in an obscure river journal. Many of you will have heard of these people. One of them may have discovered your favorite river or designed the boat you're sitting in. One of them may have taught you to roll. Some you've likely never heard of at all. But this group shares something in common, something more important than fame: a love of paddling and water, with a lifetime spent discovering both.

Did we miss anyone? Perhaps. And we're sure you'll let us know who it was. But like the rivers themselves, this list will always be changing; growing and evolving and shifting shapes like so many sandy beaches. What we share here is a sampling of those who've made a difference, 100 from the United States alone, whose head, heart and bow were always pointed the right direction and who, without even knowing it, took us along for the ride. The heroes of the next century are already being created. Here's to those who paved the way.

Bill McGinnis

When Bill McGinnis wrote "Whitewater Rafting" in 1975--the same year he founded his rafting company Whitewater Voyages--the sport, as a commercial endeavor, was still in its infancy. When his second book, "The Guides Guide" was published in 1981, it helped shape the way boatmen look at a trip and a lifestyle.

McGinnis learned to guide in 1965 at the age of 16, and though he has a number of first descents and pioneering raft runs in California to his credit, McGinnis says it is this influence on guiding that he is most proud of. "I helped foster a style of that got everyone involved," he says. "It made everyone a component of the overall trip."


© 2000 Paddler Magazine

 

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