A Tale of Winning Ugly

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Outside magazine, December 1995

A Tale of Winning Ugly
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta

You think no good can come of a paddler waxing Dickensian? Then don’t ask David Hearn about Gate 24. “It was the best and worst of slalom moves all wrapped into one,” says the newly crowned king of solo canoeing about the style with which he passed through the second-to-last gate at the world championships last August in Nottingham, England. Sunk in a monstrous hole and
requiring some frantic upstream stroking, the gate chewed up and spit out most contestants. In Hearn’s case, however, the tricky maelstrom more or less vaulted him into first place, whereupon he was lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates and carried upstream in celebration.

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