River Community Hears Ideas For Improving Freestyle Wave Into A Permanent Feature
Wednesday evening, May 18th, paddlers and rafting outfitters had an opportunity to meet with John Anderson of the McLaughlin Whitewater Group and Lee Leibfarth of the Nantahala Outdoor Center to learn about the proposed development of the Nantahala River for the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships. For years, local paddlers have maintained by hand “wing dams” that channel the river’s currents into a surfing wave. The main objective of river development project for the 2013 Worlds is to stabilize the river bed for a permanent feature, provide better “eddys” or pools with slow water for rafting and paddler take-outs, and prepare the site for temporary spectator view and judging platforms.
The McLaughlin Whitewater Group has years of experience developing whitewater parks across the United States, including the nearby Upper Ocoee Olympic Whitewater section in Tenessee. Some of the unique technologies that the McLaughlin Group has pioneered is an adjustable wave shaper that can form different wave features for events or just general surfing. The proposed project for the Nantahala includes possibly installing a “wave shaper” device in the river bed to create the wave feature for the 2013 Worlds competition. John was very interested with the input from the local paddlers on what the ideal wave “feature” would be and how it would fit in to the natural riverbed of the Nantahala.