By Eugene Buchanan

No one did more to cement hairboating's place in celluloid than Wayne Gentry, 52, whose seminal whitewater videos set the tone for all that followed. The first, Green Summer, debuted at Gauley Fest in 1991, featuring a then-unthinkable sequence of Corran Addison hand-paddling the Class V Green River Narrows. Southern Fried Creeking, Vertical Addiction and Creeking USA further raised the bar—not to mention viewers' hackles.

"We just wanted to shoot the stuff we were running to show people the special places we get to see," says Gentry, a computer programmer now raising six kids in Georgia. "We thought it'd be cool to look at."

Others apparently did too. "He was the pioneer for whitewater videos, no question," says Milt Aitken, owner of "He took it to a whole new level before anyone else."

This story first appeared in the Dec. 2009 edition of Canoe & Kayak, as part of our feature The Innovators.

Canoe & Kayak Innovators: 14 Visionaries Who Changed Our Sport Forever
innovators-link-blockFun Brothers Jim and Jeff Snyder // Paddling Provocateur Corran Addison // The Prophet of Polyethylene // Warriors of the Self-bailing Revolution // Aluminum Canoe Guru Bill Hoffman // Sit-on-Top Visionary Tim Niemier // Open Boat Bomber Nolan Whitesell // Sea Kayak Savant Frank Goodman // The Bublik // Air Bag Revolutionary // The Royalex Miracle // Videographer Wayne Gentry