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Addison competed internationally in whitewater slalom in the early 1990s. He finished 38th in the K-1 event at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In 1987 Addison successfully ran the highest waterfall ever attempted in a kayak: a 31m vertical drop into Lake Tignes in France. The record stood for over a decade until it was broken in 2004 by Ed Lucero's 34m waterfall in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
Addison competed for South Africa in a number of world freestyle kayaking championships, winning more events than any other competitor in the years 1993 to 1999 and obtained a silver medal in 1995 and 1999, and bronze in 1998. He also produced a number of kayaking films between 2002 and 2007.
Addison has had a long career in kayak design.
He made a name for himself in the whitewater kayaking community by pioneering a number of innovative designs (including the planing hull kayak which was Addison's invention and is the technology by which all modern kayaks are based). He worked for Perception kayaks before starting Savage Designs in 1994, leaving in 1996. His marketing at Savage designs laid the groundwork for the Generation X marketing that was to be followed by his next start up company Riot Kayaks, where he worked as chief designer and head of marketing.
The Riot brand was notorious for cutting edge designs and a go for broke attitude to freestyle kayaking and extreme white water. Addison was responsible for the design of one of the world's best selling kayaks, the Corsica, in 1990. In 1995, he went on to design the Fury, which was the worlds first planing hulled river kayak. These were followed by the Glide, the kayak that is reputed to have been responsible for a last minute rule change at the 1997 world championships because it was so far ahead in technology that he was considered to have an unfair advantage by the other athletes. He also designed the Disco in 1999, the design by which all modern freestyle kayaks are measured against today.
Addison was in his day considered somewhat controversial in the conservative world of whitewater kayaking by his brash and cocksure attitude. However the young kayakers of today mirror the young Addison in many ways and so it would seem he helped pave the way to a new generation of kayaking which subsists in today's pro paddlers.
After leaving Riot in 2003, he began designing for Dragorossi, a new Kayak brand out of Italy. He was already losing interest in the sport at that time and had begun moving on to surfing. Addison now owns and designs for his surf company called Imagine Surfboards, based out of Montreal. Imagine Surfboards is considered a cutting edge company in the field of sustainable and ecological business, and have been leading the way in promoting responsible manufacturing in the surf industry. He is also a competitive Stand Up Paddle Surfer and competed in the 2010 Hawaiian World Cup.
He pioneered surfing the Habitat 67 wave in Montreal. His company Imagine Surfboards offers river surfing lessons, teaching over 3,500 students in Montreal since 2005. Imagine also manufactures and sells surfboards, suits and accessories.
- Woodley, Matthew (June 9–15, 2005). "Surf’s up St. Lawrence". Montreal Mirror. Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Lamey, Mary. "Everybody's gone surfin' on the St. Lawrence River". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Hufman, Jesse (July 10, 2009). "Surfing a River When the Wave Doesn’t Move". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-10.