The Nantahala Gorge has been picked as the site of the 2013 Freestyle World Kayaking Championships
The International Canoe Federation (the sanctioning body for all world championship and Olympic canoe and kayak events) announced Saturday, April 17, the selection of the Nantahala River Gorge as the site of the 2013 Freestyle World Championships. The Nantahala Gorge was selected alongside other international metropolitan centers like Moscow, Prague and Toronto for events in eight other paddling disciplines.
The World Championship is expected to draw up to 500 paddlers from forty to fifty countries and spectators in the thousands to western North Carolina, and is tentatively scheduled for mid-September 2013. To participate in the bid process, NOC CEO Sutton Bacon submitted an 87-page presentation on behalf of the Nantahala Gorge community of outfitters and local businesses. The bid received public support from Duke Energy and government representatives at the city, county and state level, including endorsements from the Chief of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Michell Hicks, U.S. Congressman Heath Shuler and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.
“The tremendous growth of the outdoor adventure community in western North Carolina has created an ideal foundation to host high-profile events such as the World Freestyle Championships. I have no doubt [the] event would be a perfect match for our region,” wrote Congressman Shuler. The only time the World Freestyle Championships were held in the U.S. was in 1993, on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.
The Nantahala will also host a World Cup Freestyle event in 2012 as a test event for the World Championships in 2013. To compliment the 2012 World Cup on the Nantahala, two other World Cup Freestyle events will occur in the Southeastern United States during 2012. “The Nantahala Gorge has been home to several national slalom championships over the years, but this bid solidifies our area’s status as a paddling destination,” says Juliet Kastorff, owner of Endless River Adventures, a Nantahala-Gorge-based outfitter and paddling school. “Bringing the spotlight back to a place where thousands of paddlers learn will be critical to maintaining interest in the sport.”
“Our vision for the World Championships is to raise the stature of freestyle kayaking for inclusion in the Olympic program, to inspire a new generation of paddling enthusiasts from all disciplines and to create a lasting event venue for paddlers to enjoy for years to come,” says NOC CEO Sutton Bacon. “The Nantahala community eagerly welcomes the world.” NEWS
What is Freestyle Kayaking?
Freestyle kayaking, similar to vert-ramp skateboarding, features an athlete performing technical moves and tricks on a single feature, only instead of using a half-pipe, kayakers use rivers features like waves and holes. Freestyle moves are usually highly stylized spins, turns, cartwheels and flips that often involve the boater going completely airborne.
International Canoe Federation (ICF)
USA Freestyle Kayaking (USAFK)
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