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A Preview of Next Year’s Freestyle Kayaking World Championships

Ever since Bryson City and the Nantahala Gorge were named hosts of the 2013 IFC Canoe Freestyle World Championships, there’s been a lot of buzz about an extreme sport that few of us have actually witnessed. Next weekend should change all that when the 2012 Freestyle Kayaking World Cup Championships come to the Nantahala Gorge.

While smaller than next year’s World Championships, the World Cup is attracting athletes from more than 17 countries and 5 continents. Preliminary events were held last week on the on the Caney Fork River in Rock Island, TN, and on the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN. The competition now moves to the Nantahala Gorge for next weekend’s Finals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 7, 8 and 9.

Freestyle kayaking has been called the X-Games for whitewater. If you’re entertained by the spins, flips, turns and tricks of freestyle snowboarders, surfers and skaters, or the half-pipe freestyle event in skateboarding, you’ll love freestyle kayaking. Legendary kayaker, “Fearless” Pat Keller described it as “doing a floor routine in gymnastics during an earthquake.”

The event is free. Competition will begin at 10 am each day and end around 7 pm. Spectators can expect shaded riverside seating, live DJ and event announcer. On Saturday, there’ll be special riverside kids activities from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Competition will be followed by free live music on Friday and Saturday evening. Parking will be available in remote lots along Silvermine Rd, with free shuttles driving to and from the event site approximately every 10 minutes.

You’ll find more information on the official website FreestyleKayaking2013.com

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