Open Boater Theory

The following is an excerpt from a journal article by renowned hydrosociologist Dr. Eddy Walls. Food for thought. - Fish

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My latest theory challenges the current theories that attempt to explain the extistence of open boaters. The leading theory up to this point has of course been the so-called "Theory of Boater Evolution", which holds that open boaters are remenants of a sub-species of modern day decked boaters, sort of a "missing link" between decked boaters and river-going primates, if you will. I, and many open boaters, find this assertion to be both ludicrous and very offensive. Despite the superficial physical differences, one would have to be crazy to believe that open boaters and decked boaters are not of the same species. In fact, there have been documented cases of open boaters actually transforming into decked boaters, implying a closer link between the two than was originally postulated.

My theory, tentatively called "Boater Metamorphosis", holds forth the idea that open boaters are merely a larval stage of the common decked boater. (Obviously this makes the often heard decked boater synonym "river maggot" somewhat ironic.) I believe that open boaters use their canoes as a type of cocoon, in which they incubate during their early formative stages. When the time comes, the open boater will shed its clumsy cocoon and emerge as a fully fledged decked boater with an overdeveloped draw stroke and no semblence of a roll. The discarded cocoons of open boaters are often found wrapped around a rock or tree, where the open boater has obviously used the obstacle to assist in freeing itself from the cocoon (like a snake shedding its skin). These newly transformed boaters can soon be seen taking their first tentative steps into their watery home. But the newfound freedom of movement that they at first find awkward soon becomes second nature to them.

Despite the overwhelming body of evidence that supports this theory, others in the hydrosociologial field have challenged it. Their only solid piece of evidence? They cite the fact that, infrequently, a decked boater may be seen to transfomrm itself into an open boater. The mechanisms that cause this regresive behaviour are not fully understood at this time, but it is thought to, at least partially, be the result of brain deterioration, possibly due to consumption of alchohol based chemicals or to prolonged periods of inverted submersion. Whatever the case, it should be noted that these exceptions to the rule are relatively scarce, and that they do not support the "evolutionary" theories either. If this subject interrests you, you are encouraged to correspond with me at or send snail mail to: University of Hydrogeology, 8008 Whitewater Ave., Bryson City, NC. And be sure to read a copy of my recent essay, "Squirt Boaters: The Next Stage in Boater Evolution or Testosterone Mutants?"

- Dr. Eddy Walls, Ph.D., M.S.H.S., B.S.