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September 7, 2012
News and Updates
Main Content Inline Small Freestyle World Cup Final Begins in Nantahala Gorge, Bryson City, North Carolina

2012 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup Series – USA

Bryson City, NC  –  When the 2012 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup Final begins today, September 7th on the Nantahala River outside of Bryson City, NC, top freestyle competitors from around the world will be hoping to bring a piece of the World Cup Series home with them.

“Although we have announced winners at each of the preceding World Cup events, the Final here at the Nantahala Gorge is what will bring it all together,” explained event director Zuzana Vanha. “On Sunday, we are going to recognize the World Cup Champion, the paddler in each class who has shown excellence as well as consistency throughout the whole of the series.

In the men’s K1 class, the largest class by far with 57 competitors, Peter Csonka of Slovakia leads the pack, while Dane Jackson, the southeastern phenomenon from Rock Island, TN, nips at his heals. Csonka has a 10 point lead on Jackson for his two first-place finishes, but that doesn’t mean he’s in the clear.  If he is to win the World Cup, he may have to place in the top three here in the Nantahala Gorge, and this is no small feat in a field littered with previous World Champions.  Spain’s young Joaquim Fontane came in 3rd in the last event at the Pigeon River in Hartford, TN. All are in contention for the medals at the Nantahala, and will be looking to put on a show of a lifetime on the Nantahala’s new challenging and dynamic feature.

In the women’s K1 class, Emily Jackson, USA, leads the pack with one first and one second place finish under her belt. She will be looking to follow up with a strong finish at the Nantahala to fend of Great Britain’s Clair O’Hara, who won both the K1 Women’s and the Squirt Women’s classes at the Pigeon River.

What’s at stake is not only a year’s worth of training. The World Cup Final is also a mental game as athletes begin their long preparation for next year’s World Championships, which will be held on the same feature here on the Nantahala River.  The athlete who wins here on Sunday will hope have a mental edge over their competitors at the beginning of next year’s competition.

Mental games aren’t enough to win the World Championships, however. Many international competitors plan to return to North Carolina a month or two in advance of next year’s competition to train and familiarize themselves with the river and the area. They will be joined by our hometown favorites, including Tommy Yon and Daniel Dutton of Bryson City, North Carolina. In a sport that is so tied to the river that the competition is hosted on, there is simply no replacement for time on the water.

Competition will start at 10:00 am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and athletes will have several chances to bring in scores that will move them closer toward’s their goal: the Sunday Final Round. Spectator entry is FREE. Kids and families are welcome, but for those who can’t make it down to the Gorge to catch a piece of the action, results, live video broadcast, and a daily re-cap of events can be found at www.FreestyleKayaking2013.com.

Contact Zuzana Vanha
NGOC Event Director
13077 Highway 19 West
Bryson City, NC 28713