Discipline/Event: Canoe Slalom, C2 and K1
Position: Bow, front of boat
Hometown: Woodstock, Georgia
Birthplace: Marietta, Georgia
Current Residence: Gastonia, North Carolina
College: Gaston College
Club: Nantahala Racing Club
2014 U.S. Senior Team Member
- 2012: 12th
How He Qualified: Consistency was key for Hurd, 26, and Jeff Larimer, 31, to emerge among a trio of U.S. doubles canoe boats with the lone Olympic slot. earned the Olympic boat quota slot in Men’s Slalom Kayak for the U.S. by winning Gold at the 2012 Pan American Championships in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil on March 10. Hurd and Larimer then earned points toward Olympic selection by finishing 1st at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Charlotte on April 14. Finally, the tandem clinched the spot for themselves with a 9th place finish at the 2012 World Cup No. 1 in Cardiff, Wales on June 10.
- 2014 U.S. Team Trials: 2nd in C2 with Jeff Larimer
- 2014 U.S. Open: 4th in K1
- 2012 U.S. National Championships: 1st in C2, 2nd in K1
- 2012 World Cup No. 1: 9th in C2
- 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials: 1st in C2, 5th in K1
- 2011 Pan American Championships: GOLD in C2
- 2011 World Championships: 32nd in C2
- 2011 National Championships: 2nd in C2, 2nd in K1
- 2011 World Cup No. 3: 18th
- 2010 U.S. Open: 1st in K1
- 2010 ICF International: BRONZE in K1
- 2008 Pan American Championships: SILVER in K1
Like Fathers, Like Sons: Hurd, 26, and Larimer, 31, are both following in the wake of their paddling fathers, Mike Hurd and Mike Larimer. The elder Hurd and Larimer trained with each other on the Chattahoochee River just north of Atlanta. Mike Hurd was also a high school All-American basketball player. Mike Larimer narrowly missed out on paddling for Team USA at the 1992 Olympic Games, but he was able to coach the U.S. Canoe/Kayak Team at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. Surprisingly, their sons have only recently joined forces in doubles canoe. But the duo quickly established themselves as the best C-2 boat in North and South America with a Gold medal at the 2012 Pan American Championships.
Fiance: Becca Kirlin, wedding set for September 29, 2012
Hobbies: alternative fuels, recycling
Quote: "Some run a race to see who's fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts."
How’d you get that name? I believe it was spring 1999. I was at a training camp in Washington D.C. on the Potomac River, with a team of all ages. I was the youngest, so naturally, I was the one to get the dares and pranks. One evening, while at a steak restaurant, my teammates bet that I couldn’t eat all the butter that came with the bread appetizer. Of course, looking up to the older athletes, I ate it all - without thinking twice. It was just one of those nicknames that stuck. It fully solidified on a world level later that summer. At the Junior World Championships in Poland, I had just [secured] 15th place in the world for the “18-and-under” category. I was 13. My coach came over to me and said, “I guess you’ve got to be Butter, because you are on a roll.”
Eric’s training began at the “waterworks” in Atlanta- a single class II rapid with numerous gates set up for training during the week. On weekends he and his father would travel to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, in western North Carolina, for more extensive workouts on the Nantahala River. In August 2006, the US National Whitewater Center opened in Charlotte, North Carolina. Naturally, Eric moved to train on the hardest racecourse ever built in the country.
Overall, the sport has enabled Eric’s incredible work ethic and dedication to shine, as he is a strong-willed and big-hearted athlete. He has taken on other roles in the local community such as volunteering for organizations like the Gastonia Junior Chamber, the Schiele Museum of Natural History and Keep Gastonia Beautiful. Eric has continued to challenge himself as he continues his education, going to school in the fall semester when training is less intense. He intends to continue until he receives a Bachelor’s degree.
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