The steep-walled gorge of Nantahala River may be one of the best spots to host a world class, extreme kayak competition — at least that’s what the organizers of the upcoming 2012 International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Cup final are hoping.
The competition, slated for Sep. 7-9 in front of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, will feature over more than freestyle kayaking, squirt-boating and canoeing athletes from more than a dozen countries, including Australia, Costa Rica, Slovakia, Japan and Russia. But the secret to making the river a churning pool of boat acrobatics and assorted water moves is hidden beneath the surface.
Economic development and tourism leaders in Swain County are treating the Freestyle Kayaking World Cup two weeks away as a dry run for the far more highly anticipated World Freestyle Kayaking Championship coming in 2013.
“This will start the ball rolling with the exposure,” said Ken Mills, the economic development director for Swain County. “For us, this is kind of a dress rehearsal.”