Get ready for some fast paddling on the Nantahala River. The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) will host the 2015 International Canoe Federation’s Junior and U23 Wildwater Canoeing World Championships August 2-7, on the Nantahala River near Bryson City, N.C.
The event will be the premier competitive paddling event in the United States this summer, featuring 140 athletes ranging in age from 15 to 23 years old. Fifteen countries will be represented, with many paddlers coming from Europe and as far as Australia.
“The Nantahala River has a very long legacy of wildwater sport,” says NOC general manger Chris Hipgrave.
Wildwater is one of the most challenging paddlesports disciplines, where athletes race down a whitewater course for 3 to 4 miles in the classic race or for 450 meters in the sprint. The fastest times at this year’s race are expected to be approximately 13 minutes in the classic course and 70 seconds in the sprint, with the most difficult rapid occurring at the end of each course, Class III Nantahala Falls. The finish line is located in the heart of NOC’s main campus.
The competition is one of several recent world-class competitive events hosted by NOC. In 2013, it hosted the Freestyle Kayak World Championships, bringing 171 international competitors and 30,000 visitors to the region. The US Open is also held at NOC each year, as well as the Junior Olympics.
Former NOC president Bunny Johns was a gold medalist in the mixed C2 Wildwater division in 1981 at the World Championships in Bala, Wales.