Bryson City, NC (December 8, 2011)—The Nantahala Gorge Organizing Committee (“NGOC”) will celebrate the grand opening of the 2013 Wave on Friday, December 16 with a ceremony, reception and paddling exhibition starting at 12pm. The 2013 Wave is the competition site of the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships on the Nantahala River, an event expected to draw 500 international athletes and thousands of spectators.

During the 30-minute dedication ceremony NGOC representatives will explain how the wave works, how it may evolve over time and the current state of the event plan­ning. Some of the world’s best freestyle paddling athletes will be on hand to discuss their impressions of the 2013 Wave, and the ongoing preparations for the games. These same boaters will be available for a photo opportunity following the dedication cer­emony as they paddle the new wave.

NGOC representatives will be soliciting paddler feedback so they can make adjust­ments benefiting the general public as well as advanced freestyle athletes. To facilitate the feedback, there will be an open paddling session after the meeting where boaters can paddle together to discuss their recommendations and impressions. Non-paddlers will be treated to light refreshments and will have the opportunity to watch the athletes surf the new wave.

“We completed the installation within the required time frame, clearing the biggest hurdle we faced in the entire planning process—I’m very relieved and excited,” says Lee Leibfarth, board member for the Nantahala Racing Club and member of the organizing committee. “We’ve still got work to do on the competition site though. The feature needs refinement and adjustments that can only be made through experimen­tation. As the Nantahala goes through its usual winter release schedule we’ll be tweak­ing the features that produce the wave to make it optimal for most paddlers.”

Now that the competition site is constructed, event organizers will move on to new challenges like scheduling, ticketing and other logistics. As that process gets underway minor work will continue on the 2013 Wave preparing it for its first big test: the 2012 World Cup event in September.

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