Here’s a story about a guy you don’t know, but will, Bill McKnight. He is tall, super nice, kind of quiet, but a full force Hurricane on the water. He is on the dark side, yes, he is a C1er. Many years ago the battle cry of the C1ers in Wash., DC (Jon Lugbill, Davey Hearn, Bob Robson, Elliot Weintrob, Jed Prentice, and more) was “Beat the Kayaks”. And often, they did, on shorter tighter courses.
Well, I have been beaten numerous times by Bill in some of our training exercises. Why? Because he is that good. He can throw down righty vertical cartwheels in the big hole at Rock Island so fast it is hard to count. He can clean blunt, 2 feet out of the water, throw another vertical end, and stick it on the Brave Wave. He can event do sweet big backstabs and flip turns. He is still working out his Helix, since he doesn’t have a blade to roll the boat back up with.
My favorite thing about training with Bill is his quiet determination and dedication. He is at the river on time, always ready for two workouts or one heinously long one. He doesn’t even complain about his knees hurting when he gets out to stretch them.
Bill is paddling an orange T2 (Wave Sport Transformer) with his own outfitting. Bill proved his skills last summer when he won not only the U.S. Team Trials, but also won the Pre-World Championships. I expect that the worlds this year will be between Bill and Barry Keenan (another of Bill’s training partners)
A brief bio:
Bill McKnight is C-1 paddler from Nashville, TN who began paddling 13 years ago at the age of 11. He got his start in a wooden canoe at Camp Mondamin in Tuxedo, NC, and quickly switched over to closed boats. He spent five summers as a camper at Mondamin taking advantage of it’s strong canoeing and kayaking program and it’s highly experienced instructors. McKnight chose C-1 over kayaking because having come out of a canoe it was the natural progression. Since many of his instructors at Mondamin were seasoned C-1 slalom racers, it was considered whimpy to choose kayak of C-1. Kayakers simply could not handle the pain of sitting on their knees for hours.
After graduating from the University of the South in 2001, McKnight decided to move o Asheville, NC and train year round for the 2002 US Freestyle Team trials. He trained with experienced C-1 competitors Chris Manderson and Barry Kennon. After a winter of hard training he won the team trials and earned a spot to travel to Graz, Austria for the 2002 Pre-Worlds.
Good Luck in the World’s Bill