Enabling Confidence to Win Out Over Fear: Bellyak Takes on Therapeutic Role with Team River Runner

Author:
Updated:
Original:
BellyakOval jpeg
TRR logo PMS 281

April 25, 2013 - Asheville, NC – When Adam Masters, lifelong whitewater kayaker, initially came up with the concept for his invention known as a Bellyak; his goal was to make the water accessible in a whole new way and for all levels of paddle sports enthusiasts. His unique, but approachable boat designs are meant to be paddled while lying down. With the aid of webbed gloves, the user’s hands become the paddles and the feeling of flying over water is achieved. Masters knew that in creating Bellyaks, he was creating a whole new category of water craft, one that would appeal to the beginner paddler, while presenting new creative ideas and challenges to those already pushing the limits of paddle sports. What Masters couldn’t predict was that Bellyaks would be used in a rehabilitative setting for individuals recovering from trauma or injury. 

Bob Alexander, a volunteer with Team River Runner in Washington DC, discovered Bellyaks in a video and ordered two boats for his Team River Runner Chapter. Team River Runner (TRR) is a non-profit organization affiliated with Walter Reed Medical Center promoting the idea of 'Health and Healing through Paddlesports.' TRR gives active duty service members and veterans an opportunity to find health, healing, and new challenges through kayaking, whitewater boating and other paddling sports. After speaking with Bob, Masters quickly realized his boats were taking on a more meaningful role – one that would contribute to mental and physical healing of our nation’s wounded and disabled war veterans.

Sean McCarthy, a veteran of the Vietnam War and a Team River Runner chapter coordinator at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, was wowed by the concept of maneuvering on the water in a Bellyak. He began sharing his realizations with other leadership staff members of the TRR program.

“I am always on the lookout for equipment which can better serve our target clients and after seeing the video, I immediately saw the value Bellyaks would have for the range of participants our program serves,” says McCarthy.

In addition to providing a therapy outlet for recovering amputees, Team River Runner facilitates paddling therapy sessions for active-duty and veteran service members who are coping with Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Spinal Cord Injury, or Emotional Impairment. Bellyaks are designed to be used on any type of water. This is especially great for programs like Team River Runner because their paddling sessions always begin in a swimming pool and later progress to outdoor flat water venues such as a lake or coastal inlet.

“The unique design and easy approachability of these crafts allow the user to get into a challenge zone defined by them so they can choose to push it or not,” notes McCarthy. “Everything we do with our participants is focused on enabling confidence to win out over fear and the Bellyaks are fitting in perfectly with this critical goal.”

Thus far, 10 Team River Runner chapters are using Bellyaks in therapeutic and adaptive paddle sports programs. Masters is well on his way to meeting his goal of supplying each of the 30 plus chapters with at least two Bellyaks.

“I’ve long been familiar with the many social and athletic benefits of participating in paddle sports, as it’s been part of my life since I was a kid,” says Masters. “As a designer and an entrepreneur, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see Bellyaks taking on this unexpected purpose for rehabilitative programs like Team River Runner. It’s also heartening to see that consumers are connecting the lines between the intuitive nature of swimming and the easy approachability of our boats.”

Though Bellyaks were born on the banks of the French Broad, an iconic whitewater river that flows throughout the Western North Carolina region, they are built to be used on any type of water.

For more information about Adam Masters and Bellyak, please visit bellyak.com

For more information about Team River Runner, please visit teamriverrunner.org

Related

Screen shot 2012-11-13 at 9.59.13 AM

The bellyak: Paddling Rivers With a Whole Different Perspective

Asheville, NC - Kayaking is no new thing, in fact 13 million people take to the sport annually. But would you do it face first? On whitewater? Now you can, thanks to innovative paddle sport company, Bellyak. Having designed and produced three models of the lay-on-top kayaks - or ...read more

HillsoundLogo

Hillsound Welcomes Mountain Trail Runner Phenom to Its Ambassador Team

Vancouver, BC – Hillsound—the leading producer of winter traction equipment and gaiters for urban and outdoor enthusiasts—is excited to welcome John Tribbia to the family. Tribbia is a prominent Utah-based mountain trail runner and a member of the newly formed ...read more

Team Dagger Athlete Pat Keller Wins 18th Annual Green River Race

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Team Dagger athlete Pat Keller took first place overall and third place in the short boat competition at the 18th annual Green River Narrows Race last weekend. This year’s first place finish marks Keller’s third time winning the Green Race since 2006. His time ...read more

1401_0400

Hillsound Adds Ultra Runner Duncan Callahan and Athlete Lindsay Gonzalez to Ambassador Team

Vancouver, BC – Hillsound—the leading producer of winter traction equipment and gaiters for urban and outdoor enthusiasts—announced the addition of champion ultra-runner Duncan Callahan and female athlete Lindsay Gonzalez to its ambassador program. As leaders in their respective ...read more

Untitled

currex Takes Center Stage At The 3rd Runner’s World Running Shoe Symposium

The Most Important Event Of The Year For European Sports Retailers Features Leading Footwear Innovators currex Munich, Germany (January 26, 2016)—currex, leading footwear innovators and the creators of award-winning sport-specific insoles, were marquis speakers at the 3rd Annual ...read more

hoka-logo

HOKA ONE ONE® Signs Middle-Distance Runner Mike Rutt To Elite Team

Rapidly growing running shoe brand’s revolutionary design works on and off the track Richmond, CA – HOKA ONE ONE®, designers of the revolutionary oversized cushioned running shoe with engineered midsole geometry and a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation (NASDAQ: DECK), is ...read more

Snews Photo

The New Primal Launches Brand Ambassador Team With Surfer Cyrus Sutton & Ultra Runner Kyle Dietz

(Charleston, SC) - The New Primal - makers of the world’s healthiest, most responsibly sourced 100% grass-fed beef and free-range turkey jerky, is pleased to announce the launch of their 2015-2016 brand ambassador team with cinematographer/surfer Cyrus Sutton, and ultra runner ...read more

Mountainsmith Promotes Jeremy Dodge to New Role as Digital Marketing Manager

Golden, CO (January 8, 2014)—Mountainsmith, craftsmen of iconic backcountry equipment and recreational outdoor gear, is excited to announce the promotion of Jeremy Dodge as the company’s new Digital Marketing Manager. Dodge, who has been with the company since 2012, brings ...read more

MS Box Logo - Registered 2013

Mountainsmith Sponsors Blackwater Drifters’ Epic US River Conservation Expedition

Golden, CO (June 2, 2014) – Mountainsmith—craftsmen of iconic backcountry equipment and recreational outdoor gear—is sponsoring the Blackwater Drifters’ kayak expedition of the longest navigable waterway in North America. The team will traverse 14 states and almost 4,000 miles ...read more