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John Pinyerd

Canoe/Kayak

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Discipline/Event: Wildwater; K1 
Birthplace: Hunstville, AL
Current Residence: Marietta (Atlanta) GA
Occupation: Sales & Operations Manager for Dart Transit, Atlanta
Alma Mater: Auburn University
Family: Married 30+ years (to Lynn Pinyerd personal trainer), three children (grown)
Website: jpinyerd.blogspot.com/
My recreational articles all go to www.usawildwater.com


About:

How I got Started in Canoe/Kayak: 
I first started paddling in canoe when I was about ten. In many respects I was the luckiest kid on the planet. My oldest brother, Carl, had his driver’s license and an Old Town canoe, and would drag me out to paddle. As a result, I was very comfortable on flat water and easy whitewater at an early age. I still love to paddle and mess around in anything resembling a traditional canoe to this day.

How I got Started in Canoe Racing: 
My first real race was the Southeastern US Whitewater Championships in 1984 where I paddled in the cruising/plastic classes and won the C-1 slalom event and took 4th in OC-2 downriver/wildwater. As a result of my strong showing, I was asked by local racers Steve Thomas and Mike Larimer to come out and train slalom with them (in ATL). Under the tutelage of Steve and Mike and the Nantahala area racers I progressed quickly and became an “A Ranked” slalom racer by 1986, and I’ve been training/racing at some aspect of paddle sport ever since!

A goal of mine became making the USA Team for the 88/89 Savage Worlds but our top slalom racers were the best in the world. It would have taken a miracle for me to beat out the likes of Jon Lugbill, Davie Hearn, Bob Robinson, and Kent Ford for a spot on the team so in 1987 I switched to Wildwater. While I still really enjoy racing slalom and participated in local/national races (including a 6th place finish at the ’92 Olympic Trails in C-2 slalom with Tom Popp in 1992) the new love of my life quickly became Wildwater.

The Miracle of Wildwater Racing: 
The miracle of Wildwater for me was I could get really good at it and keep my day job and fulfill my duties as the head of my family. Another real plus was that Atlanta had a core group of racers including veteran Wildwater Team Member David Jones who took me under his wing. After finishing 10th in C-1 at USA Wildwater Nationals in ’87, I figured my best bet for making the USA Wildwater Team in 88/89 was in C-2. So in the fall of ‘87 I teamed up with Martin Bay in C-2 and started training our hearts out. We ended up earning a berth on the ’88 Pre-Worlds Team against some very stiff competition (16 boats). The Miracle has lasted for nearly 3 decades as I was blessed to have been able to earn berths on 17 Wildwater Teams and win a boatload of medals along the way.

My keys to success were good coaching/being a dedicated student, sound training techniques, and having a close knit core group too push each other. This is the same concept that our slalom World Champions (Lugbill, Robinson, and the Herns) utilized and what we attempted to replicate in ATL. And like my mentors, I have passed on what I leaned to the ATL core group to those that willing and in turn helped produce more National Champions (like Michael Beavers, Russell Bailey, Reid Bailey, and Tierney O’Sullivan). Over the years I have figured out that that what works best for me is to keep things simple and focus on the things that I love the most: i.e. my wife of 30+ years, my family, the Lord, my job at Dart, and my lifelong sport of paddling and racing. As a result of sticking with it, good things have happened.

National Racing Accomplishments:

  • Seveneen-Time qualifier for the USA Canoe/Kayak Team in Wildwater C-1 and/or C-2 (1988 - 2011)
  • Six-Time USA Team Trials Winner (93, 94, 95, 96, 08, 13)
  • Eleven-Time USA National Wildwater Champion in C-1/C-2 (93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 04, 07, 08, 13, 14) plus several dozen other medals at the national level.
  • Southeastern US Whitewater Championships: Course record holder in C-1, Twenty time winner of the Fastest Canoe Award.
  • WWOC Master’s National Sprint Champion (2012 and 2014)

International Racing Accomplishments:

  • World Champion in 2006 & 2008 – C-1 - Masters Class
  • Silver Medal – 2005 World Cups (C-1 - Masters Class)
  • Bronze Medal – 1988 Pre-World Championships (C-2 Team Run)
  • Two Dozen top 20 finishes in International Competition in C-1/C-2 including a 4th place finish in the '91 World Cups.

Leadership and Other Accomplishments:

  • Chairman of the Wildwater Committee of USA Canoe/Kayak from 2004-2011
  • Volunteer of the Year for 2005 - USA Canoe/Kayak
  • Amateur Athlete of the Year - Atlanta Sports and Fitness Magazine (2004)
  • Lifetime Member of the Georgia Canoeing Association (honorarium for setting Southeastern's course record)
  • Eagle Scout (Order of the Arrow)

Other Paddling/Sports/Hobbies: 
Training, racing, and messing around in canoes will always be my passion: from C-1 all the way up to Dragon Boat racing (after it’s a big canoe). Besides canoeing/kayaking and coaching in the sport, I am a lifetime athlete and outdoorsman who also enjoys hiking, trying to run with the dog, mountain biking, and messing around with a fly rod.

Equipment:

  • Boats: Wildwater C-1 or C-2 and OC's: whatever I can borrow
  • Paddles: Whitewater: Mitchell; Flatwater/Outrigger/Dragon Boat: ZRE
  • Shoes/Outdoor Footwear : KEEN