The second annual NOC/Dagger Freestyle Shootout is set for August 1-2 this summer, and it'll be twice as big as our very-successful 2008 event. Proof? The purse is twice as big, there're twice as many sponsors and, instead of fumbling around with an ipod, we're gonna have a DJ spinning on the bridge during the event. Sweet. Combine live music Saturday night at the venue-bordering Pourover (our new riverside pub), some brewery reps handing out schwag and our spectator-friendly campus, and you've got all the ingredients for the best freestyle paddling festival in the East.
Also, we've changed the scoring system to make the action more spectator friendly. Into cartwheels? We are too, but only so many. Therefore, in addition to the standard technical and variety judges we've added a "Personal Style" judge who will evaluate contestants on "ride presentation and crowd involvement". You'll have to throw some big moves, or at least try them, to win.
For those of you wondering what the heck a kayaking freestyle competition is, well, it's similar to a half-pipe freestyle event in skateboarding. Kayakers compete at a single feature, in this case a stationary breaking wave, and perform tricks like cartwheels, loops (full flips) , blunts (really fast, near vertical turns that spew a curtain of water) and even dynamic airborne manuevers that require the paddler to spin while totally out of the water. Think X-Games for whitewater, right here in western North Carolina on the Nantahala River.
For a casual spectator it's a really cool event. Hang out by the river, enjoy the scene, watch some stellar athletes, do your own water activities, come back and enjoy the festivities at night. I recommend bringing a lawn chair and plopping down in the shade. Below are some photos of the 2008 event, so you can get a feel for the scene (courtesy of Pat McDonnell).