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Nantahala Hosts ICF Freestyle World Championships

Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) is set to host the ICF Freestyle Kayaking World Championships in Bryson City, N.C., September 2-8, 2013. Considered an elite freestyle kayaking event in the world, more than 300 of the world’s top paddling athletes will come together next week to compete for the title of World Champion on the 2013 Wave.

This event marks the first time since the 1996 Olympics that world championship freestyle kayaking has come to the United States, and more than 10,000 spectators are expected to show up to cheer on their favorite competitors, engage in demos and public contests, and enjoy live music and art exhibitions. Guided raft trips, zip line tours, mountain bike rentals, and other activities will also be available.

More than just a competition, the seven-day event is a celebration of the outdoor recreation culture for everyone from world-class athletes to entry-level outdoor enthusiasts, say event organizers. In keeping with its spectator-friendly goals, and in an effort to continue moving the growing sport of freestyle kayaking forward, the NOC has introduced a new scoring system for the Championships. For the first time ever, a completely paperless, real-time scoring system will help determine the winners, while also informing athletes and spectators alike of the competition’s status immediately after each run.

Created by NOC’s IT System Administrator Raymond Brugger, the new system – a year in the making – will debut next week. The system essentially removes human error from the scoring process by using an intuitive touch-screen interface and by integrating large, illustrated score cards to allow the head judge to quickly and accurately scan for anomalies before issuing score approval. Beyond the instant results, the system also provides a comprehensive solution to event organizers by handling athlete registration and auto-generating competition heats, as well as allowing athletes to better strategize from round to round.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the 2013 World Championships,” said Charles Conner, marketing director for NOC. “Not only does it put on display the incredible skills of these whitewater athletes, but it brings the outdoor community together to celebrate our culture and further explore the possibilities of our industry.”

The 2013 ICF Freestyle Kayaking World Championships is sponsored by event host NOC, top paddlesports company Confluence Watersports, Adidas, Balsam West, Coca-Cola, Columbia, Duke Energy, Fontana Village Resort, Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, Sierra Nevada, Subaru, Teva, US Forest Service, and Watershed Cabin. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 2 with opening ceremonies, a dance performance by the Museum of the Cherokee Indian’s Warriors of AniKituhwa dance company, and a Big Air Show. For more information on the event, visit www.freestylekayaking2013.com.

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