Engineered Whitewater Attractions with Olympian Scott Shipley | Next-Gen Waterfronts

Olympic champion kayaker helps create coolest waterparks

On this episode, Dan Martin speaks with Scott Shipley, President of S2O Design & Engineering, a firm that specializes in creating artificial whitewater attractions. Scott is among the best-known American kayakers in the world today. A veteran of three Olympic games (’92, ’96, ’00) and holder of four world titles, Shipley has more than 25 years experience as a whitewater competitor.  Scott also holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from top-ranked Georgia Institute of Technology. Shipley’s combined expertise in both Whitewater and Engineering Design has made him the go-to designer for some of the world’s most demanding whitewater design projects.  Shipley has been credited with driving innovation in the whitewater park industry by pushing the design envelope. Shipley’s innovations include a patented Whitewater Terrain Park system that redefines whitewater recreation and a patented moveable obstacle system that is the world’s first three-dimensional modular obstacle allowing for complete reconfiguration of an existing whitewater park.


Dan Martin

Dan Martin, a 21-year veteran and Vice President of Economics Research Associates (ERA), has directed more than 300 land use economics projects over the last 25 years and assisted on many others with Real Estate Research Corporation (RERC) and Cornerstone Development, as well as ERA. Projects include redevelopment strategies, feasibility studies, master plan economics, and economic impact studies. Dan works directly with clients assisting them and their planning teams to determine the best mix of land uses at a site and to determine and project the market demand and financial outcomes for those specific land uses at the site over time. He also has worked on many renewal and repositioning strategies for existing developments and facilities. Dan’s work includes analyses for market segmentation, attendance and revenue by segment, seasonality, and other critical operating assumptions. He uses these assumptions to prepare and update operational pro formas and financial analyses to help clients make tough decisions and pursue capital. Dan’s rich portfolio includes downtown and corridor plans, retail and hospitality feasibility, museums, zoos, theme parks, water parks, resorts, aquariums, destination retail developments, and public parks and recreation facilities in 30 states and provinces across North America and in Asia and the Middle East. This broad range of experience, across many types of facilities helps him work on both simple and complex developments at many different budget levels. In addition, Dan has published extensively on real estate and commercial and cultural attractions, including articles in Fun World, Urban Land, and Planning and has addressed myriad conferences and professional meetings. Dan is a native of Boston and a graduate of the University of Texas – Red McCombs School of Business in Austin, Texas and the Catholic University of America – School of Architecture and Planning in Washington, DC. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife and four children.