Olympian's Lego-like Invention, Set to Debut in London, Revolutionizes Whitewater Course Design

Share Article

Olympic Innovation: Three-time US Olympian and coach Scott Shipley's Lego-like RapidBlocs revolutionizes whitewater canoe slalom course design.

London 2012

RapidBlocs Set to Bring Whitewater Excitement to London 2012

For the first time ever, athletes and coaches can choose the type of whitewater they want to race on.

Scott Shipley’s lifelong passion for paddling, education in engineering and Olympic spirit will continue on in London next month. But this time, even though the three-time Olympian won’t be competing for a medal, the whitewater course he built will be an integral part in deciding who will be this Olympiad’s medalists.

Shipley, and his company S2o Design and Engineering, were the designers of the London Olympic Park and created an innovative system for manmade whitewater parks that will make its global debut when the Lee Valley Whitewater Center hosts the Olympic Canoe Slalom competition July 29 – Aug. 2.

Some 1,200 of Shipley’s RapidBlocs helped sculpt the concrete channel into the type of whitewater course worthy of the world’s pinnacle of competition. The water-shifting, global patent pending, Lego-like plastic blocks in London's $48 million Lee Valley Whitewater Centre are lightweight and interchangeable, enabling endlessly evolving designs.

“For the first time ever”, Shipley said, “the whitewater park can literally be evolved into any configuration that the operators can imagine. This is huge for Olympic sport as it means the athletes and coaches can choose the type of whitewater they want to race on”.

A few adjustments of the Rapid Blocs can switch the Lee Valley venue from Olympic-level whitewater to milder flows perfect for recreational kayakers and rafters. The state-of-the-art facility, already widely touted in canoeing circles as the best facility of its kind in the world, also will also host the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships.

ABOUT SCOTT SHIPLEY
PLACES. Shipley grew up in the Seattle area; earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and lives outside Denver, CO with his wife and two children. Scott is a member of the Board of Directors of USA Canoe Kayak, the governing body of paddlesports in the US, which is based in Oklahoma City, OK.

COMPETITION. Shipley competed in K-1 on the 1992, 1996 and 2000 US Olympic teams. His best Olympic result was fifth place in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He earned three World Cup titles and three silver World Championships medals In 2010 he became the US National Champion in C-2. In July he will travel to Wausau. WI to coach the US team at the ICF Canoe Slalom Junior World Championships. For more about the sport visit the London 2012 website.

PROFESSIONAL. Scott is the founder and owner of S2o Design and Engineering. In addition to the Olympic venue, Scott designed the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC that opened in 2006. Other S2o Design projects can be found in Missoula, MT, Jackson Hole, WY and Sun Valley, ID, New Zealand, South America and Canada.

INTERVIEWS. Scott is available for interviews in advance of the Olympics as well as knowledgeable color commentary from on location in London. Topics could include: the technology of the venue, athletes to watch, technicalities and nuances of the sport and its future. Watch Scott on Outside TV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwcwET4OhjE

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Lee Hart
Visit website