Kayaker, Engineer, Athlete, Tinkerer

Monday, April 7, 2014


In 10 weeks I will be representing the United States at the Wildwater World Championships in Italy. Since wildwater isn't an olypmic sport there is no funding, so to try and raise money for this trip I'm selling t-shirts. $20 for cotton, $30 for synthetic. All proceeds go towards my expenses. Plus I have a pretty cool boat designed... So if your interested, message me or email krsmithgall@gmail.com. I'll be submitting the order on April 15th so if you are interested, make sure to get in contact with me before then, but donations are welcome anytime. Thanks, Kurt
T-shirt design

Polo Shirt Design

Boat Design

Fundraiser Letter

Hello my name is Kurt Smithgall and I am a member of the United States Wildwater Team.  In June, I will represent the United States at the Wildwater World Championships in Italy. I am contacting you in hopes of raising money for this trip.  In case you are unaware, Wildwater kayaking is a non-Olympic discipline where competitors race kayaks down different lengths of whitewater.  It is a sport that tests both the competitor’s skill as well as strength. While it is not an Olympic sport, it is quite competitive. When I first raced on the team in the summer of 2012 there were over 70 competitors from 35 different countries at the World Championships in France.  This coming summer I hope to improve my rank and better represent the United States in international competition.  Since France, I have continued to train hard and get faster.  For 2013, I was ranked 2nd in the national rankings for wildwater. Before I go over the specifics of what I am asking I want to tell you about my personal background.
  I first started whitewater kayaking when I was 12 and it quickly became a passion of mine.  Once I became comfortable on whitewater, I started racing and by my senior year of high school I had become hooked on the new challenge of racing.  I made a commitment to training and racing through college despite the rigors of engineering classes. It was a lot of hard work, and this May I will graduate from Penn State with a degree in Biological Engineering and with a 3.5 GPA no less. I apply myself in all aspects of my life and I have worked very hard to get to where I am now.
As I mentioned earlier Wildwater is a not an Olympic sport.  What this means is there is virtually no funding for the national team.  All major expenses from airfare and transportation to hotels and lodging are up to each individual competitor.  I work as both a teaching assistant and research assistant while being a full time student in addition to training ten times per week. There just simply aren’t enough hours in the day to work enough to afford this trip on my own.  I am asking if you would be willing to donate some money to help fund my trip. Every penny that you give will go toward my direct expenses.  Several of us on the team are starting to plan the logistics and I will need to book an airline ticket as well as start to save for my expenses while competing in Italy this summer.
My projected costs are between $6000 and $7000 and if you chose to donate I will be extremely grateful and you directly help me represent the United States in international competition.   As an added incentive if you donate $20 I will send you a cotton tshirt, a $30 donation will result in a synthetic tshirt, and a $45 donation will result in a US Team polo shirt.  If you would like to support me you can mail a check to the address below with your shirt size or send it by paypal to krsmithgall@gmail.com.  If you have any questions feel free to call or send me an email.  Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope to have your support.

Kurt Smithgall
225 Montour Street
Montoursville, PA 17754