Freestyle Canoe-ing: ‘The Long Search For The End Of The Internet… And What A Finale!’


Most days of the year, social media is a dumpster fire. Exhibit A is the comments section on New Matilda’s own Facebook page… specifically this post, about Peta Credlin, Sky News and all the trouble in ‘Afghanistand’. But every now and then, something comes along that restores faith in humanity. And by humanity, we mean Marc Ornstein, and the thing of beauty that is his performance at the 2007 Mid-West Freestyle Canoe Championships.

Right from the outset, the community news coverage of the event gives you the sense that this is what the internet was invented for.

“Alright,m” declares the commentator. “Our next paddler is going to be Marc Ornstein. There’s no way I can pronounce this, but I think it’s Honey-O Balls…”

Ornstein politely interrupts: “Honeoye Falls.”

And then we’re away, and things just get and better.

We don’t want to spoil the show, but if you’re thinking this ‘This must be a joke’, it’s not. Freestyle Canoeing is a thing. A real thing. Behold.

Once you’re finished watching, the bonus treat is the comments section, which should be read when you’re feeling down, and convinced that the internet is all the proof you need that you’re living in a computer simulation, and the person in charge is a spoilt pre-teen who is getting bored.

Chris Turpin writes; “This was Ornstein at his peak, before the glitz and the glamour of American freestyle canoeing got to him. Sad story.”

And this from Andrew Kennedy-Reagan: “I want to see the 30 for 30 on Marc Ornstein’s career. He’s in his prime here, but injuries, drugs, groupies and the pressure of the competitive canoe circuit would derail his promising career.”

And Self Blumpkin writes; “I was happily married for 35 years. Then my wife and I went to the 2007 freestyle canoeing championships. Not only does Marc have my wife in his harem but he gets 25% of my pay in alimony. I feel like my name should be on some of his trophies too.”

From TheLapaEsquire: “If you mute the music it seems like his Alzheimers kicked in and he keeps forgetting where he’s going.”

And from Keith L: “It’s 2021, covid has taken many things we love, yet this remains…… Okay, you win, interwebs. You win….”

But the comment of the decade, the one which speaks on behalf of us all (with 2,300 likes at the time of press) is this one, from KS6DAY: “It’s been a long road but it looks like I finally got to the end of the internet and have now seen everything. And what a magnificent finale this is.”

Speaking of which, Marc Ornstein’s breathtaking performance is not, as KS6DAY asserts the end of the internet. The video was first put up in 2008, and since then, it’s had almost three million views, which is no mean feat. But nor is it particularly staggering, and the views come in fits and starts every few years. As one commenter notes, “Nice to see everyone again. Looks like I’ll be seeing you boys next time the algorithm units us.”

Whatever Youtube did recently… more of that.

You can follow the man, the myth, the legend at this personal Facebook page here. You can find out more about the whitest, polite-est sport ever invented here.

And just finally… “Registration is now open for the Midwest Canoe Symposium. Available slots are limited and interest has been heavy. If you’d like to attend, don’t dilly dally.”

That’s a direct quote from Mr Ornstein himself.


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