A number of years ago more than ten excellent paddlers died within a season, stunning many in the sport and putting a damper on the enthusiasm for pushing hard whitewater. The names included people at the top of the sport like Chuck Kern, Rich Weiss, Doug Gordon, and others who were less well known but extremely experienced, like Dugal Bremner, Tim Gavin, John Foss, and Joel Hathhorne.
Here at the end of the 2007 season, we’ve had another shock, as three excellent paddlers died in less than a month: Americans Conrad Fourney and Max Lentz, and German Tim Weinmann, each in a situation that can only be considered bizarre. None of the cases had a clear cause, and all of them lead to a sinking feeling about the sport. More than once after the loss of a friend, I have asked myself whether it is worth it.