Tuesday, March 31, 2009

09 US Open Action

Hey whitewater slalom fans! Last weekend's rainy weather couldn't keep the hard-working paddlers down. The US Open at NOC was loaded with intense moments, like some of these, pictured here.

Scott Mann won his second title of the year in men's K1 competition.

D.C. paddler Jure Poberaj finished third in men's K1.

Jamie Burns goes 'up! up! up!' between gates.

C-1 paddler Colleen Hickey. This was the first year for women's C-1 competition.

C-1 paddler Erik Amason, in the thick of it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009 US Open Preview

This weekend, the 2009 Bank of America US Whitewater Open will kick off the year's major competitive events on the Nantahala River. The Open is hosted by Nantahala Racing Club and NOC.

While not an Olympic qualifier year, this weekend's event looks to be loaded with intense competition. Last month's Glacier Breaker race was won by Bryson City's Scott Mann, followed closely by Jure Poberaj of DC, Austin Kieffer of Asheville and Jim Wade of Atlanta. These paddlers are all vying for spots on the US Team, which will be awarded after the next race in Durango, CO.

This is also the debut year for women's C1 paddling as a qualifying event at the US Open.

Racing action kicks off each day at 10am. NOC's restaurants, lodging and retail stores will be open all weekend for visitors to the US Open. Click here for more information about competitive paddling events.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Flint Ridge Five Miler Start Pictures

And they're off! The first-ever Flint Ridge Five Miler has begun, and by now most runners have probably finished the race's difficult first mile, which climbs over 1,000 feet. From there they'll enjoy the rolling single track of our Flint Ridge trail and a nice downhill coast.

By the way, we'd like to thank our friends at VO2 sports for organizing the event. Those folks rock.

Here are some pictures from the (chilly) start. Up on the mountain the sun has been on the hills for a couple of hours, so hopefully it's warmer up there!

NOC Nantahala guide Becky Huncilman (right) and her roomate (I'm terrible with names). Check out #22's presenting pose in the background.

NOC Nantahala Head Guide Phil Hart is on hand, just in case someone takes a spill on the trail. I think he's got over 4,000 different medical certifications.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flint Ridge Five Miler, Tomorrow at NOC

This weekend at NOC Nantahala, you can participate in our first ever Flint Ridge Five Miler trail run!

Same day registration is available. The race kicks off at 10am and prizes will be given to the top three males and females overall. The race is organized by V02 Sports of Franklin, NC.

Great weather is predicted for tomorrow, the second day of spring. Get a jump start with a run on Flint Ridge!

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Guide Training on the Cheoah River

Check out some pictures from this weekend's Cheoah River release! A group of NOC guides began their extensive training on this extreme river in far western North Carolina. The limited water releases on this river means training starts early, no matter the weather. Their instructors are veteran NOC guides who have been working this river since releases began back in 2005.

Getting ready to hit a big wave.

The guides get feedback from instructor Will Norris.

Running the big one, Bear Creek Falls.

The next Cheoah release weekend is April 4-5.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Creek Week Instructor Rob Barham Talks Paddling Dogmas with Atlanta Whitewater

by Wayner

Rob recently headed down to Hotlanta to give a talk about proper creeking techniques to the Atlanta Whitewater Club members. He met up with a fun and excited crowd and gave his presentation with a lively discussion challenging paddling dogmas. Some say his presentation was in revival style, and told the members of AWC
"It is time to free yourself from paddling dogmas!"

As always, Rob can find a way to make instruction fun! At the end of the presentation, Rob gave away shirts and DVD's to excited participants. According to the Vice President of AWC Chuck Spornick,
"A good time was had by all."

To see more photos and info from Rob's presentation, check out Chuck's photo site.

Test Paddling The Z.One & Biscuit at Nantahala Falls

by Robert Bone, NOC Boat Buyer

This week, the weather was too incredible to pass up a chance to test new boats we recently stocked in the store. Tommy Yon and I took out the new Pyranha Z.One, while the Store’s Daniel Dutton took the LiquidLogic Biscuit out for a run. Check out these pics!

“The Biscuit is a boat that plays every feature the river has to offer. Its user-friendly performance design puts you into the driver's seat to make play moves look like gravy. On big waves, small waves, in a hole or just flatwater paddling you’ll be comfortable at all times in this boat.”—Daniel Dutton

And we can’t get over Tommy’s sick loop in the 8.5-foot Z.One. Incredible!

Speaking of the Z.One, we've been having a REALLY fun time with this boat. It paddles like an old-school retro kayak, but it's really stable for surfing, spinning and river running in general. Plus, it has modern outfitting. The bow of the Z.One scoops the water for huge enders and pirouettes.

I think this boat is going to be a huge hit for those paddlers that like down river play but don’t want to sacrifice the speed of a traditional river runner.

See both of these boats in-person at NOC's Outfitter's Store, or check out the specs online.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

French Broad Outpost Spring Update

NOC’s French Broad river guides had their first day on the water Monday, when they led a group of 50 down the river, and another 18 guests on Wednesday. Both groups were treated to unseasonably warm weather, and plenty of whitewater. Today, our second session of Raft Guide School Students are testing their mettle on the free-flowing French Broad River.

Outpost manager Eli Helbert says that the outpost is continuing preparations for a big season in 2009. “We're doing some spring cleaning,” said Helbert. "We're also excited to be updating our fleet of rafts with 12 bright yellow boats."

The NOC Hot Springs outpost (takeout) will be the location for the Headwaters Institute interpretive presentation on April 30. Area specialists will talk about the natural history, flora and fauna of the river basin. The following day, NOC’s French Broad guides will lead a river clean-up to proceed the French Broad River Festival.

We hope you'll join us at the French Broad this year!

NOC Fishing is Up and Running

Hey there fishing fans! Nantahala Outdoor Center is pleased to announce the opening of our fishing program and fly shop right here in Wesser, NC. We are excited about the upcoming fishing season and hope to have the opportunity to share our knowledge of our local streams with you. Stay tuned for updated trip blogs complete with pics and check out our weekly fishing report on our website.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Nantahala Rafting Underway!

Last Saturday we took our first guests of the season down the mighty Nantahala! It was warm, bright and sunny with temperatures in the middle 70s--it was even warm enough for some swimming. Just a perfect day all the way around.

Right now is the perfect time to see the Nantahala Gorge come back to life from its winter hibernation on an uncrowded river. Any day now the Gorge will burst into color as spring flowers emerge and tree buds pop open. Robins are building their nests. Woodpeckers are drilling new holes in trees. Herons are fishing from the shallow gravel bars and mallards are showing our raft guides how its really done on the water, navigating rapids and catching eddies as if they were born with webbed feet.

Rivers End Restaurant is now open daily from 8:00 am through 7:00 pm for a pre-rafting breakfast or an after river feast. You can't go wrong with our home-made pizzas with the dough made from scratch or our worldfamous chili or half-pound Wesser Burgers made with pure Angus Beef.

Spring time is a great time on the river, and we hope to see you soon!