I always liked that age old Chinese proverb of “ A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” unfortunately the saying stops there and there is no mention of the slow, laborious, up hill, plodding and trudging that must be done in order to reach your destination.
Three years ago when Send started, one of the ideas and visions that burned brightest was to bring back a multi stage competition to the huge whitewater of Eastern Canada. I always find having ideas especially within groups, follow an unfortunately general trend. The idea is had, shared and expanded upon, plans are made and then sweet f€*k all comes out of it. It takes a special combination of an idea, something you really believe in and a great set of people to bring a concept in to fruition.
One of my favorite quotes is “you learn by doing, not talking about doing it”. It would be more than fair to say that we jumped in at the deep end with Unleashed. 30 of the worlds best kayakers, 4 stages, 1 competition inside a week. The first event was held on little more than a wing and a prayer but the whitewater community got behind the event and somehow everything came together and things worked out.
There are levels to every venture and hidden depths that no one on the outside can have any concept of and nobody on the inside ever considered at first. Which is how we have found ourselves putting together 180 page insurance documents, establishing working relationships with enormous companies and committing to the most savage week of work you could ever imagine. For reference, myself and Adrian edit the highlight reels, we have 12 hours to squeeze in a few days work to put out a finished product and we have to do this four times throughout the week. Kalob has to do write ups for magazines and deal with 30 free thinking individuals, make sure they get to events on time and don’t cause too much havoc when partying. Dane has to deal with sponsors and video judging. And we have only scratched the surface on the job list. There is a lot of stress in that week and honestly I think if we didn’t all believe in the concept we are trying to create we would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.
As it happens we are now into our third year of Unleashed events, we have ironed out the kinks and each year I feel like progress in the event flows forwards. For everyone that has an idea, something they believe in – I can only encourage you to go for it. Surround yourself with awesome people, throw yourself in at the deep end and see what comes out of it.
There is no set way to do anything, only some methods that have worked out in the past for some people. I am most proud of Unleashed not for being able to push the progression of the sport but also because it as a different way of looking at kayaking events and as a team of four we manage to put out a clean, professional product… Despite the reality being that the product is made by a bunch of sleep deprived, high school drop outs fueled by Red Bull and Pizza.
Thank you - to everyone that believes in Unleashed, we are stoked for many more years of events to come. If you want to be a part of the journey we have a select few pieces of merchandise left and the profit from each sale goes directly into keeping the event happening.