If you are downtown on a Wednesday afternoon, chances are you will see dozens of kayaks floating on the Tuckaseegee River. The “Tuck”, as residents fondly call it, flows right through the center of Bryson City. And no, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you – the kayaks are tiny! That’s because the paddlers are very young – most around the age of 8 but some as young as 4! This is Nantahala Kids Club, a community group of kid paddlers that gets together once a week when the weather is nice. Local kayaking outfitters (Endless River Adventures and Nantahala Outdoor Center) volunteer their awesome instructors (and a company founder – Juliet Jacobsen Kastorff!) to teach the kayaking skills to the kids.
Bryson City is home to quite a few Olympic paddlers and they love to have the chance to share their passion for the sport with young people. Most parents of club members also enjoy paddling with the group. While most club members are just getting into the sport, others are more experienced and have already participated in freestyle or slalom competitions. With access to great whitewater and wonderful instruction, it is indeed possible that several NKC members could compete in the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships that will be held in nearby Nantahala Gorge! For more information on the club, visit the Nantahala Kids Club facebook page.
On Saturday, July 2nd, the Nantahala Wave was the site of the third event in the Hometown Throwdown series. This event series gives paddlers a chance to experience competing in a casual and fun freestyle event. There was a great turnout for the event which started late in the day to finish up in the evening with the Nantahala Wave lit up for the paddlers.
An official proposal from the Nantahala Outdoor Center to the US Army Corps of Engineers has been submitted for impact and development of the Nantahala River site for the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships. This proposal to create a whitewater training and event site includes construction and maintenance of existing rock jetties, an adjustable wave structure, a weir, a pool, temporary flashboards, temporary viewing stands, and a temporary judging platform. One major concern with the proposed project is the impact to the Nantahala riverbed and creating a site that fits in with the natural river ecology. With the permitting process, the Army Corps is soliciting public opinion on the possible impacts of the proposed development and will include submissions into a decision process for the final outcome of the project. Comments gathered will also be used to determine the need for a public hearing. This proposal will have a significant impact on the local paddling and rafting communities in Swain County, it is important to make a submission of opinion to the Army Corps. Information on where to submit written comments is in the proposal, page 5.
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.
Find Things To Do In The Area in and Around the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina! This blog provides info on events, happenings, and things to experience with your family while on vacation in the Bryson City and Cherokee, NC areas. The locals always know best!