Jim and Jeff Snyder revolutionized whitewater play.
The whole point was to modify the ender, to transform that seminal rodeo move from a single flop into a gymnastics routine, to make it retentive. To make it cartwheel.
To do that, Jim Snyder, now 55, lopped a foot off each end of the most cutting-edge kayaks then available, Jesse Whittemore’s 12-foot squirt boats. The result was the Arc, the first of some 70 designs to emerge from Snyder’s Albright, W.Va., workshop over the last 27 years. In the prototype’s first outing in 1983, Snyder says he linked 12 flatwater cartwheels. The boat, and Snyder, would become the spiritual precursors of a kayak design revolution and a new breed of kayakers called playboaters.