Dream of a virtual space where paddlesports professionals, enthusiasts, competitors and those curious about the sport can share stories, products, and training tips? That’s the aim of WhitewaterTV, a new online paddlesports lifestyle video channel.
WhitewaterTV was dreamed up by kayaker Antoinette Lee Toscano, who is a former IT executive turned freelance writer, blogger and public speaker. Launched in late November, WhitewaterTV is a new feed on the new video sharing platform XOTV. Whether you’re a competitive class V boater or just getting into the sport, Toscano aims to create a virtual space with something for paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities, with content shared from around the world.
[ Diversify Whitewater: Antoinette Lee Toscano and Lily Durkee are on a mission to build a river community for everyone ]
“You can get training, see interviews of your favorite kayakers and competitive kayakers, but also hear from others new to paddling,” Toscano says.
There are a couple of dozen videos currently on offer, including: paddling in India with professional kayaker Pramod Magar, meet Ugandan professional kayaker and raft guide Sadat Kawawa, get your butt kicked with a multitude of workouts by coach Natali Zollinger (co-host of the Eddy Out podcast), hear Antoinette’s clapback on a Hammer Factor episode, or dive into limiting cultural beliefs.
In WhitewaterTV’s debut episode, Antoinette says she’s acutely aware of the stereotypes about who can be a paddler—myths like “paddlesports are not for people of differing physical abilities or people without a lot of financial resources or even people of color.”
“These are often limiting beliefs that came from the larger society,” she continues. “However, throughout my whitewater career, I’ve found the community to be warm and welcoming folks, who want to teach and mentor me—a U.S. Army veteran and multi-cultural women of color in this sport. I hope that through this channel and bringing people together, everyone will feel welcome and visible.”
New episodes are released Friday mornings. The Eddy Out podcast is released in video on Mondays and instructional standup paddling and river surfing videos will join the weekly queue next month.
Most of WhitewaterTV’s content is free, but you need an account to view it.
Below, Toscano, a contributor to Paddling Magazine with an article in our next issue, tells us about WhitewaterTV and the special episode available today.
Why create WhitewaterTV?
I wanted to create a home for people like me, who don’t aspire to be a professional kayaker, but enjoy those stories and photos. I was looking to create a space where people around the world in the adventure sports and paddlesports community can come together to view the people, places and products important to them.
How can paddlers access content?
The majority of the content is available for free, but you need to create an account to view it. I want people in developing countries who don’t have a lot of disposable income to have access to this content, and people in my home country of the United States to have access to this content, even if they can’t take a subscription fee out of their budget.
The other goal I intended with this channel is it would be a way to raise funds for the non-profit organization that I co-founded with my friend, Lily Durkee, which is Diversify Whitewater. One percent of all subscription fees are donated to Diversify Whitewater to help support our mission.
Tell us about today’s new episode release?
We’re releasing an episode featuring an expert panel where we’re unpacking cultural baggage and limiting beliefs. It’s geared toward the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community, however, the intention is everyone who is in the adventure sports space can benefit from this information. I’ll give you an example.
Sometimes I have been hurt when told by other people of color that, “You’re acting like a white girl,” or “You’re not Black enough. Why are you always doing white people stuff?” because I’m an adventure sports enthusiast. So, not only do people of color face microaggressions from some white people who think we don’t belong in outdoor spaces, but also from other people of color, who view us as doing things that are outside of the BIPOC community’s general area of interest. So, we’re unpacking where that cultural baggage came from and how it shows up as a limiting belief.
The episode isn’t just for people of color—it’s also for gear manufacturers, apparel providers, instructors and everyone else. Because if you are creating amazing instructional content or gear for everyone who wants to participate in paddlesports, you also want people of color to know that your product or service exists. And you can have the most amazing marketing message, but if you’re not aware of cultural baggage and limiting beliefs that are hidden barriers, then you might feel frustrated that you’ve put so much work and effort into promoting diversity and perhaps it’s not getting you the results you wanted.
The episode will be available for free on Friday, February 12, 2021, for 24 hours only. Click here to watch it. Most content is free on WhitewaterTV with signing up, however some of the channel’s content is part of a subscription program. 1% of your subscription is donated to Diversify Whitewater to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion BIPOC and allies to enter and excel in whitewater paddlesports.
What sorts of submissions are you looking for?
The kinds of content we’re looking for people to submit to us is anything they geek out on, get stoked by, or are excited about is probably going to be relatable to our audience. Professionals and enthusiasts can submit their content to us. Some of it is interviews where I’m interviewing other people, others are from interviews created by other paddlers. We also have instructional videos and fitness videos for adventure sports enthusiasts. Everything is geared to the paddling and adventure sports lifestyle.
Main Illustration: Hailey Thompson / Watercolorwoods