• Happy Discovery of the Rosetta Stone (1799)! 𓋹𓂀𓀮𓀛𓀾𓁀 𝞹βδΔ

Sad News: Bob and Elaine Mravetz

Glenn MacGrady

Staff member
Oct 24, 2012
Reaction score

The Freestyle Committee has very sad news to report to the larger canoeing community, regarding our good friends Bob and Elaine Mravetz.

Bob and Elaine were involved in a serious car accident while driving to our Pine Barrens event on October 14th. Elaine did not survive her injuries. Bob sustained multiple serious injuries, but is making good progress at the rehab facility, which is near his home.

Bob and Elaine were many times the national freestyle tandem champions and Elaine was many times the women's solo champion. They both held the highest instructional ratings in freestyle teaching and tirelessly hosted and taught freestyle symposia for decades.

Elaine solo:

Bob and Elaine tandem:

Last edited:
Heart crushing news for those of us who knew Elaine. She was a very sweet person and a heck of a freestyle paddler.
Their Midwest Canoe Symposium was a top notch event. Was fortunate to teach there several years and I will miss her sorely. Assume it will not go forward without them as they were the driving force behind it. Their organizational skills were amazing.

Will miss buying a year’s worth of Bob’s homegrown garlic at each event 🙂.
Amazing paddlers and instructors as well and just plain ole good people. Elaine and Diane the Church Lady fed 40-60 people three meals a day at Midwest as well as Elaine running around instructing and organizing.

Bob is doing better even though he broke what seems like most of his bones( except one leg is fine) and he has his garlic friend putting the alliums to bed for the winter. I hope MFS continues as there is a lot of support for it.

If you like click on the link Glenn gave as it's got the mailing address for cards.

Bob and Elaine did a hysterical routine to Peter Paul and Mary's "Right Field".. Canoeing isn't always serious. However the Internet seems to have buried the video.. I did find it somewhere last week.. ( maybe its with the socks)
Bob and Elaine did a hysterical routine to Peter Paul and Mary's "Right Field"

This may be one video of it. Note that they have changed boats from a Loon Works Duet in the first video posted to what looks like a Placid Boatworks Starfire, of which I doubt many were ever made.

Thanks for finding that Glenn.. They first had a Duet, then a Placid Starfire, then for some reason later a Colden StarFire.. Talk about rare boats. They worked tirelessly with the American Canoe Association and Cleveland Metroparks in making canoeing accessible for all including those with disabilities. I took one of there Adaptive Paddling workshops where one able bodied worked with one disabled as a team to fit out a canoe or a kayak that would allow the disabled one to paddle. Then the final was on the water where we found out what worked and what did not. There was screening before.. all had to be able in a PFD to turn from face down to face up. And never paddled alone. Kayak outriggers worked well for paraplegics and functional quads. Canoe was a little trickier. My partner wanted NOTHING to do with a kayak and we figured out how to block him in safely to support his body in a canoe. WIthout Bob and Elaine I would have never have had the chance to do this.. That they could really cook was a plus after!
I remember Elaine and her enthusiasm from a solo canoe gathering that I attended. She projected a strong positive energy.

Her paddling skills were beyond impressive. Her paddling style seemed unique and captivating.

Rest in Peace
I live across the street from Bob & Elaine. Here is a link for the Go Fund me setup for Bob & Elaine. Please share with your community.

Thanks for the link and info, justinnoll. When you see Bob, tell him an international army of canoeists, even though most have not met him, is wishing him all the best for his recovery and expressing their deepest condolences for Elaine.
Bob has indicated he would prefer donations go to his church in memory of Elaine. He needs no direct financial aid.
Donations will be graciously accepted by Sharon Center United Methodist Church, in memory of Elaine, 6407 Ridge Rd, Wadsworth, OH 44281 or online at https://www.sharoncenterumc.org/giving/
Tears in my eyes. How very sad. Deepest sympathies to all who will miss her.
I just noticed that Bob and Elaine were named 2022 winners of the ACA's Legends of Paddling Award, which is "[p]resented to one or more individuals each year for their legendary contributions to paddlesport."

Their award bio reads:

Bob & Elaine Mravetz were among the founders of the ACA’s Adaptive Paddling Program. Since 1990, the ACA has led the adaptive recreation industry under the leadership and enthusiasm from Bob, Elaine, and others, training instructors and program providers in the best practices of inclusive paddlesports. The core of the ACA Adaptive Program evolved from seamlessly integrating individuals with physical disabilities into outdoor recreation programs in the context of paddlesports, to also serving paddlers with vision, speech, or hearing impairments. Elaine served as an energetic, organized, and empathetic trainer hosting these programs, complimented perfectly by Bob who passionately participated as an adaptive equipment distributor and expert. In addition, Bob and Elaine had a true passion for freestyle canoeing and hosted the Midwest Freestyle Symposium in Peninsula Ohio each year. This was a sizeable event that drew paddlers from many states; it included instructional classes and certifications, skill demonstrations, and the famous evening Freestyle Canoe Exhibition. Bob and Elaine’s tireless passion, dedication, and genuine personalities made a welcoming community for every paddler they met and their contributions to paddlesport will reach paddlers for generations to come.

Thanks for letting us know….it’s well deserved. When Elaine and Bob first came to FreeStyle their passion to improve was evident. I was fortunate to help teach them at the beginning. I do remember Elaine was very nervous about heeling the boat, but if you have watched any of her videos you can see that she got over that fear in spades! Such a sweet, generous couple, awesome paddlers. I think she may have been born to be a FS paddler.

After they became excellent FS paddlers their passion to share their knowledge was evidenced by creating and running the Midwest FreeStyle Symposium which introduced MANY new folks to the sport.
I just noticed that Bob and Elaine were named 2022 winners of the ACA's Legends of Paddling Award...
Well deserved. I was fortunate to have been able to see them perform their baseball-themed Free Style exhibition in 2019 at the Adirondack Canoe Symposium. Impressive maneuvers, with Elaine seemingly floating in the air off the side of their canoe. I took some free style building block courses and they both were very welcoming and supportive in bringing us newbies into the world of free style canoeing. Same can be said for all the cadre.
I also took an adaptive paddlers instructor training course from Bob and Elaine. They served paddlers with all sorts of disabilities.. On the water a paraplegic was just like any other paddler once they were fitted to the boat and adaptaions in equipment made.