Kayaking pioneer Jeff Snyder rocks a sport back onto its heels
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Dispatches, March 1998
Five years ago, Jeff Snyder had a rather tragic mishap. Kayaking over a 45-foot waterfall in Mexico, Snyder misfired and his boat landed perfectly flat — a shock that seriously injured his spine. As you might imagine, the accident was an eye-opening experience. And upon returning to his job as a rafting guide on Maryland’s Youghiogheny River,
Thus was born the new sport of striding, in which Snyder — using a ten-foot-long paddle and an inflatable kayak and wearing an impressive array of homemade, wooden protective devices (shin guards, helmet, breastplate) — takes on Class V flows such as West Virginia’s Gauley and New York’s Moose standing up. Challenging as this is, what with maneuverability limited by
Could it be that the nation’s kayakers will soon rise up, both literally and figuratively, to forever change their sport? Snyder certainly has the craze-starting credentials, having previously been in on the invention of squirt boating (a brand of kayaking involving sleeker boats designed to travel under the surface of the water). Thus far, however, Snyder has lured but one