International World Championship Whitewater Competition Comes to North Carolina

Aug. 26, 2013, 8:29 p.m. (ET)

One of the Southeast’s Most Popular Vacation Destinations to Host World’s Best Paddlers

Bryson City, N.C. (August 26, 2013)--For the first time in a decade, world championship kayaking returns to the United States. The 2013 International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Championships will take place September 2-8 on the Nantahala River near Bryson City, NC. Over 300 of the world’s best paddling athletes will compete for the title of world champion in front of up to 10,000 spectators per day.

Click HERE for a recap of the 2013 U.S. Freestyle National Championships.

Like freestyle snowboarders, most famously Shaun White, freestyle kayakers perform tricks, spins, turns and flips to impress judges and spectators. The paddling competition is reminiscent of the freestyle skateboarding, skiing and surfing seen on ESPN’s X-Games. But instead of a half-pipe or a slope the kayaking competition will be take place on a new custom-built river wave at Nantahala Outdoor Center, one of the Southeast’s most popular tourist destinations.

Besides bringing world-renowned athletes and paddling enthusiasts from around the globe to the Nantahala Gorge, the Championships will also showcase the cultural, recreational and natural features that make the North Carolina Smokies one of the Southeast’s most popular tourist destinations. Free demonstrations, instruction sessions and games will get spectators involved in the outdoors, and live music performances and on-site crafting exhibitions will engage guests in Western North Carolina arts, both traditional and modern.

The seven-day event will be free, though spectators should expect to park remotely and pay $5 per-car, per-day shuttle fee. Event spectators will also be able to purchase guided rafts trips, zip line tours, lake kayak tours, mountain bike rentals and other outdoor activities at the event site, making it easy to both watch and participate in outdoor sports.

Charles Conner, marketing director at Nantahala Outdoor Center—the host site of the event—commented, “Many of the classes in last year’s World Cup event featured spectacular, dramatic showdowns that ended on the last ride—freestyle’s equivalent of a walk- off home run or game-winning shot. We expect even more out of the athletes this year; they’ve had plenty of time to train on the feature, and I think the extra motivation of being crowned World Champion will result in record-setting point tallies. Both die-hard paddlers and general outdoor enthusiasts will really enjoy the performances provided by the freestyle athletes.”

The event begins at 6pm on September 2nd in Bryson City, NC with opening ceremonies, a dance performance by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian’s Warriors of AniKituhwa dance company and a Big Air Show—where kayakers will slide down a large ramp, go airborne and perform an acrobatic trick. Daily competitions will be held at Nantahala Outdoor Center.

For a full event schedule, directions, lodging information and more, visit ###

Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is the nation’s largest outdoor recreation company. Almost a million guests visit NOC annually to embark on a diverse collection of more than 120 different whitewater rafting and land-based itineraries, learn to kayak at NOC’s world-renowned Paddling School, travel to 12 foreign countries with NOC’s Adventure Travel program, test the latest outdoor gear and shop at its flagship retail stores or enjoy NOC’s resort amenities such as its four restaurants and multi- tiered lodging. A privately-held, employee-owned company, NOC is one of the largest employers in Western North Carolina and 22 Olympians and Olympic coaches have called NOC home. NOC has been recently recognized by The New York Times as the “Nation's Premiere Paddling School,” “The Best Place to Learn” by Outside, and as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint, Whitewater Slalom, the Paralympic discipline of Paracanoe and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at