The Important Role of Whitewater Companies in River Protection

The Small World Adventures/Ecuadorian Rivers Institute Fundraiser is coming to a close

There are 5 days left in Small World AdventuresSave the Piatua fundraiser. At SWA we stand fully behind the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute and all the hard work they put into protecting rivers in Ecuador. 100% of the money raised in our fundraiser goes directly to the ERI.

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Don staying focused on one of the Piatua’s many boofs

What’s Going On?

A lot has happened since we launched the fundraiser earlier this spring. For those of you who need to get up to speed, here’s the quick low down:

This spring the ERI brought the company who is building the dam on the Piatua to court because we felt they did not follow all the laws during the permitting process. We lost the initial court ruling–the judges ruled in favor of the dam. We appealed. While awaiting the decision on the appeal, one of the judges was caught accepting a briefcase with $40,000 and 2 bottles of whiskey, what everyone assumed was a “thank you” for his upcoming vote in favor of the dam. 2 days later, the remaining 2 judges voted in favor of a free-flowing Piatua. A lot is up in the air now as we await the fate of the judge who accepted the bribe, and as we wait to see if more corruption might be uncovered. We certainly assume the company will appeal this decision to the Constitutional Court in Quito. So we know the fight is far from over. We are still accepting donations for another 5 days. With the probable appeal to the Quito Court, the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute will certainly need more funding. Anything we raise over our goal will go towards funding the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute into the future as we’re sure this won’t be the last battle over a river in Ecuador. We aren’t celebrating quite yet, but this case has shown what local involvement can do to protect a river. The ERI has united local indigenous communities and many people from the whitewater and other tourism industries and we are making our voices heard. The ERI’s efforts are working, and we should keep supporting them!

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Typical boulder garden scene from the awesome Piatua River

River Businesses and Environmental Work

Beyond the fact that our businesses depend on the existence of water in the rivers, most of us in this industry have spent our lives outdoors. Most of us spend the majority of our time playing and working in these rivers that we love. We have a deeper connection with rivers than most of the rest of the world, and for that reason, we have a higher duty to do everything in our power to fight for these rivers when they are in danger. We must join forces with local communities affected by dams, mining and other development that puts our rivers in danger.

SWA has long been a supporter of river conservation efforts. We are a member of 1% for the planet and we know that what we do as a company makes a difference. Throughout this process, we’ve re-learned just how important it is for whitewater-based businesses to support grass roots, community led initiatives to protect rivers around the world. So we want to take the time in this blog to give a huge shout out to the companies who have supported us and the ERI during this long fight to save, not only the Piatua River in Ecuador, but all rivers in the Amazon Basin.

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A crew enjoying the many boofs, eddy moves, and the incredible scenery on the Piatua

Read below for a list of companies supporting the movement and what they’ve donated that you could win if you donate to Save the Piatua in the next 5 days.

Small World Adventures

You could win a week of kayaking in Ecuador with SWA! They’ve been guiding kayaking trips in Ecuador since 1993. With the logistics dialed, and SWA guides’ intimate knowledge of the rivers and the country, all you have to do is worry about your paddle strokes. If you want the best week of kayaking of your life, look no further.

Jackson Kayak

Win a 2016 Rock Star! Jackson Kayak’s success is largely due to delivering high quality products through paddlesports specialty shops globally; all supported by regional, national and international team members who are engaged to promote the paddling lifestyle.

Werner Paddles

Win a Werner Surge or Strike (winner’s choice) with specs customized for you!  Beyond just keeping jobs in the US, Werner designs and builds to a higher standard. An attention to detail that truly makes Werner paddles perform the way they do. That pride in their work spans from designers, testers and craftsman to, they hope, the very hands of paddlers everywhere.


Win a Kokatat Mythic Shorty Top and a Maximus Centurion PFD! All Kokatat products are manufactured to exacting quality standards, developed by paddlers for paddlers over 40 years. All products are backed by a lifetime guarantee against defects in manufacturing or materials and their repair service facility inside the Arcata factory is unsurpassed in our industry for customer satisfaction.

Snap Dragon Designs

Two lucky winners will get a Whitewater EXP skirt and a Flirt EXP skirt (custom sized for the winners). SNAP DRAGON DESIGN is proud to be more than a designer and manufacturer of kayak accessories. They are avid participants in the worldwide sport of kayaking. Their distinctive designs arise from personal experience as well as through feedback from customers. They seek to improve performance and comfort with the latest construction features and materials.

AS Watersports

Win a Watershed Ocoee dry bad donated by AS Watersports! AS is first and foremost a Kayak Shop. They have accessories; from cags, spray decks, buoyancy aids, paddles and clothing, as well as boats, trailers, trolleys and anything for the paddling enthusiast or beginner. It is all available online and from their Exeter store.

Kayak Session

5 lucky winners will win a year-long subscription to Kayak Session Magazine! Kayak Session is the premier whitewater kayaker’s magazine!

American Whitewater

American Whitewater has supported SWA and the ERI in a variety of capacities of the the years, and they were kind enough to write an Amicus Brief for the Piatua hearing this spring. If you are a kayaker and aren’t already an AW member, sign up now! They are a huge part of the reason we have such amazing whitewater rivers (with flows) in the the US!

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It’s a maze out there!

Thanks for reading, and remember, you have 5 more days to help save the Piatua. Please share this blog with anyone who may be interested.

Small World Adventures

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