New York State had the only teenager to compete in the Whitewater Grande Prix World Class Kayaking, a 14-day, five race event held in Chile in December 2012, which attracted 30 of the world's best kayakers.
Galen Volkhausen, 18, from Ithaca, N.Y., was honored to be invited to participate and place in the top 10 in the world. He has signed a contract to be on the kayaking teaching staff this summer at a camp in Canada.
Volkhausen is the son of Christiann Dean, who is from Westfield and currently living in Ithaca, and the grandson of Jack Dean of Westfield.
Galen Volkhausen kayaks on a 79-foot drop on Rio Palguin in Chile.
Volkhausen said Chile was the ideal location for the grande prix because of its many world-class white water rivers. These free-flowing rivers are a big part of Chile's strong ecotourism economy. He said waterfalls make a race more technical, and it is no longer about paddling as hard as one can, but about paddling as hard as one can while hitting hard lines down waterfalls and steeper sections of whitewater.