Although it’s three years away, news that the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships will be held on the Nantahala River already has boaters abuzz. Local outfitters and politicians petitioned the International Canoe Federation to host the event in the Nantahala Gorge—which was chosen alongside major metropolitan cities including Prague, Moscow, and Toronto to hold competitions in various paddling disciplines. The contest is expected to bring hundreds of paddlers from nearly 50 countries and spectators in the thousands for freestyle events.
Juliet Kastorff, co-owner of Endless River Adventures and a community liaison during the bid process, says the championship will draw even more white-water enthusiasts and tourists to the region.
“For the gorge to be the site of international paddling events is just one more reason to come to the Nantahala,” she says. “The river won the bid because of the community and its support.” And the class II to V rapids, plus NOC’s world-class facilities didn’t hurt their chances either.