Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 Freestyle World Championships Spectator Update

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In less than two months, the biggest whitewater event in the Southeast since the 1996 Olympics comes to the Nantahala Gorge, the 2013 ICF Freestyle World Championships.  The world's top whitewater freestyle athletes will be competing from September 2nd to September 8th on the Nantahala River for thousands of spectators.  Even if you're not an athlete, get ready to enjoy a week packed full of events, entertainment and a cultural experiences.

NOC Raft Guides put on their own Mini-Me
Rodeo every Monday night at the 2013 Wave. 
Here is a sneak peek at the planned spectator events. Keep in mind that the winners of these events all get very cool prizes from event sponsors like boats, paddling gear and other outdoor equipment.
  • NOC Mini-Me Rodeo - Grab a crew up to four people and hop in a small raft, also known as a mini-me. The goal of this game is to surf in the 2013 Wave as long as possible!  Scoring will be based of the length of your ride, what moves you can pull off while staying in your boat and, of course, the best carnage.
  • Dagger Presents: 8-Ball through the 2013 Wave - Paddle a course from the Founders Bridge to the Driving Bridge. Watch out for tricky obstacles and black-clad kayakers deliberating getting in your way and trying to make you swim.
  • Wilderness Systems Lake Demos and Challenge- Prefer to paddle flatwater? Head to the lake below Wesser Falls on NOC's Campus to demo a lake kayak with Wilderness Systems! After demoing a lake kayak, participate in the Wilderness Systems Challenge relay race.  Maneuver around obstacles as fast as you can to beat the other paddlers to the finish.
  • Bomber Gear Dress for Success Challenge - Grab a partner and gear up for success.  This relay race will have you dress up in paddling gear, paddle across the river and back, gear back down and pass it off to your friend to do the same.  First team to finish wins!
  • AT Canoe Ball - Adventure Technology is hosting a ball - a canoe ball of course. Grab a team and play a splashy, fun version of basketball from your boats!
  • Dagger Presents: The RPM Stern Squirt Session - Test out your rodeo skills in this old-school classic: The Stern Squirt Competition!
Stern Squirt Preview

There's also going to be plenty of entertainment on shore.  From art vendors and beer gardens to shopping and live music, the World Championships will be busy with things to do and see for all ages and adventure levels!

For more event information, a full schedule and list of activities, click here.

Best Play Spots on the Nantahala River

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With the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships coming to the Nantahala Gorge in September, the 2013 Wave has become one of the most popular playspots on the Nantahala (and in the country).

But, where should paddlers go when they don't want an audience, are just learning to playboat or just want to explore new features on the Nantahala River?

NOC Paddling School Manager, Tosh Arwood, gives the inside scoop on the "other" top play spots on the Nantahala, where they are and what tricks paddlers can perform at these features. Here's what he has to say:

Location: Surfing Rapid
How to get there: Park at the pull-off just upstream of Pizza by the River.
Best for: Front surfing, back surfing and flat spins. (An aptly-named feature.) Look for "Surfers" to get even better as water levels increase. At high water it can be the best all-around play spot on the river.  
NOC's Paddling School Manager Tosh Arwood and Information Technology Specialist Raymond Brugger
at Surfing Rapid.
Location: Bridge Wave
How to get there: Under the Founder's Bridge at NOC. Park in the main river-left parking lot. 
Best for: Front Surfing, back surfing and flat spins. This wave appears and disappears with different water levels, but when it's there it's as good a place as any for beginner paddlers to log some surfing time. 
Raymond Brugger getting his surf on
Location: Whirlpool Rapid
How to get there: Two rapids below the rock quarry (no easy park and play access). 
Best for: Squirt Boating, front surfing and stern squirts. This rapid has pretty strong eddy lines, so it's easy to practice stern squirts here. Bring an old RPM for maximum fun. The surfing wave is stable too, but watch out for downriver traffic: the swirling eddy lines will eventually push someone into you.  
Tosh Arwood doing a huge stern squirt
Location: Nantahala Falls
How to get there: The last rapid on the Nantahala rafting trip. A well-marked pull-off directly above the Falls provides good access; it's the first pull off upstream of River's End Restaurant.
Best for: Downriver freestyle moves, loops, stern squirts and enders.
Trey Lawson pulling off a huge ender at the bottom hole of the Falls.
Location: Camel Hump
How to get there: Park at The Ledges rapid and walk the short trail upstream until you see a rock in the center of the river resembling a camel's hump.
Best for: Side surfing, spins and low-angle cartwheels. 
Jon Clark mid-cartwheel at Camel Hump.

So, next time you're paddling down the Nantahala keep an eye out for these opportunities. If you have any questions about playboating or if you're looking for some advice feel free to give NOC's instructors a call at at 800.232.7287.

Caught on Camera: Whitewater Rafting Photos

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As most NOC guests know, we take multiple photos of every rafting trip. That means we take hundreds of thousands of rafting photos each year. And while the vast majority of these are "honest," candid photos, some of our guests and guides make elaborate plans to stage their big moment in the rapids. 

Below are some of the best staged photos we seen this season. Enjoy! Let us know if you've got a good idea for a shot, or start making plans for your group's upcoming whitewater photo-op.

"Touch the Sky"

"The Classic Titanic"

"Rock the Boat, Rock the Boat Baby"

"Asleep at Nanty Falls"

Keep an eye out for a photo contest coming up soon on NOC's Facebook page. We'll give away some cool prizes to the winners, like free rafting and zip lining packages.

NOC's Top 5 Facebook Posts of the Summer

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The first half of the summer has come and gone, so we wanted to recap our Top 5 Facebook Posts so far this season. Drumroll please!

#5 - June 28th - NOC  Pigeon River Discount Special
"As you're gearing up for the weekend, don't forget about our Pigeon River "Discount Special." Save $13 per person as you enjoy a late afternoon or early morning trip down the Upper Pigeon."
Click here to see the full post.

#4 - July 4th - Happy 4th of July from NOC!
"To all of our friends in the U.S., HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! Wishing all of you a happy and safe July 4th. Get out and do something adventurous!"
Click here to see the full post.

#3 - July 2nd - Brevard is ranked the second best town to raise adventure-loving children!
"Look who is ranked number 2 for Outside Magazine's top 5 places to raise adventurous, outdoor-loving kids! All the more reason to come visit NC."
Click here to see the full post.

#2 - July 15th - NOC's Nantahala River Campus under a breathtaking rainbow.
"Look at the beautiful rainbow we saw over the Nantahala last week! It was a welcomed sight after a few days of rain."
Click here to see the full post.

And the Number One Post of the First Half of the Summer was on July 11th:
NOC Master Guide Brad McMillan paddles over a 45-foot waterfall in Oregon in his canoe.

"Check out NOC Master Guide Brad McMillan running a 45-foot waterfall in Oregon in his canoe! This is just a little taste of what some of our river-staff do during their down time..."
Click here to see the full post.
A video of Brad's run was posted on NOC's Facebook few days later.
With so many activities and events happening at NOC, the easiest way to stay in the loop is through our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. You can also gain access to exclusive promotions, win free trips, and see cool photos from other outdoor enthusiasts and paddlers.

Guest Reviews: NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour

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Because I'm a guide here at NOC, you probably expect me to say that NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour is "One of the Best Canopy Tour Adventures in the Southeast." And you'd be right: after I did the new zip line tour, I couldn't stop talking about it for days. But since I'm clearly a biased reviewer, I thought I'd share some feedback we received (without solicitation) from some of our actual guests on Facebook and Trip Advisor.

These folks definitely don't rely on NOC to make a living, so you can trust their opinions. If you want to make your own judgment, watch this promotional video or plan a trip and experience the tour for yourself!

-Michelle, NOC Marketing Department

NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour Guest Reviews:

"The views were amazing, and the knowledge of the guides was superb. This was not our first zip line tour, and easily rivals the best I have seen in Costa Rica."

"The lines were awesome with incredible views, and the instructors were very helpful and fun."

"Great bang for the buck and an excellent experience that we will repeat when we head back next year."

"This is the only place I would go zip lining."

"The half-mile zip line was epic."

"I was extremely apprehensive about zip lining but determined to complete the trip. Both guides took care of us, kept me calm, and in the end I had a fantastic time and will definitely zip line again!"

"I've been a zip instructor and was never taught the level of safety measures implemented by Nantahala [Outdoor Center] and delivered by our guides."

"The new canopy-style zip course through the mountainside was gorgeous!"

"...Our most favorite experience was the Mountain Top Zipline Adventure [sic.]. This is a SERIOUS zip line, but even the faint of heart (like me) can really enjoy it thanks to the expert staff and the excellent equipment provided."

"The scenery was unreal and the zips were fast."

"Charlie and Will made our first Zipline experience awesome with their concern for our apprehensiveness and their attention to safety. First rate line equipment that was new and in excellent shape. Wife and I wish we had time to go right back through again. Thnx guys!!"

"Thank you we can't stop talking about the zip line."

"Just wanted to put the word out...the MOUNTAINTOP ZIP LINE is AWESOME!!!!!!!! Charlie & Alex were wonderful guides...Both of them help to ease my extreme fear of heights...They were very patient and encouraging."

View from the top of the half-mile "Megazip."

So there you have it, NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour is AWESOME! To learn more about the tour call us at 800.232.7238 or click here for more information.