Friday, August 30, 2013

What to Expect: Six Days of Free Live Music

Need another reason to attend the biggest whitewater paddling event in years? How about free live music from some of the Asheville area's best bands? Come for the competition, do your own outdoor activities and stick around to celebrate the day alongside 200 paddling athletes from all over the planet.

See the official live music schedule below to find out who we've got lined up for your visit.

Live Music Schedule. All Shows on Main Event Stage at NOC Competition Venue:

Tuesday, September 3rd
5 PM - 8 PM The Broadcast - Rock/Neo-soul/Classic

Wednesday, September 4th
5 PM - 8 PM Chalwa - Reggae

Thursday, September 5th
5 PM - 8 PM The Fritz - Electronic Funk Rock

Friday, September 6th
4 PM - 7 PM Playing on the Planet - Contemporary Bluegrass
8 PM - 11 PM The Freight Hoppers - Bluegrass/Strings 

Saturday, September 7th
4 PM - 7 PM Buncombe Turnpike - Traditional/Contemporary Bluegrass/Gospel 
8 PM - 11 PM The Mad Tea - Rock

Sunday, Septebmer 8th
4 PM - 7 PM Unspoken Tradition - Bluegrass
8 PM - 11 PM Dirty Bourbon River Show - Folk/Rock/Blues/Jazz/Latin/Gypsy/Traditional New Orleans Styles

Please note this is a tentative Music Schedule.  These bands will play on specified days of the week, but times may vary. Check here for a final Music Schedule for the week of the event.

2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships: Parking and Lodging Information

With thousands of spectators anticipated for the 2013 Freestyle Worlds, it's a good idea to know your parking and lodging plans before you arrive. So here's the official scoop on what to expect:

Event spectators have three options:

1) Park in the Gorge and ride a very short shuttle into the event. There are approximately 500 parking spaces with two miles of the event site. All these spaces are East (downstream) of NOC. Drive to NOC and follow directions to the nearest open spaces. Shuttles start at 9am every day and run until the end of the day's official festivities.

During the weekend and at peak times NOC will open 250 more parking space on the West (upstream) side of the Gorge. These lots are approximately five miles from NOC. When open these lots will have a flagger waving event traffic into the open lots.

There is a $5 per-vehicle per-day fee for all parking in the Nantahala Gorge. 
Click here for the Gorge shuttle schedule.

2) Enjoy free parking in Bryson City and take advantage of hourly shuttles to the event. Take Exit 67 off US 19/74 and head downhill into Bryson City. Follow signs to the free shuttle parking lot at the Ingles supermarket.

If the Ingles supermarket lot fills, signs and flaggers will lead you a short distance to additional parking areas.
Click here for the Bryson City shuttle schedule. 

3) The coolest option: the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is offering one-way shuttle tickets to the Gorge for only $10. Guests riding the scenic railroad will park at GSMR's Bryson City parking lot, and ride the hourly NOC shuttle bus back to town when they're ready to go home.

Click here for the Bryson City shuttle schedule.

The World Championships has a host of official lodging sponsors offering a variety of accommodations at a full range of price points.  Click here to view your lodging options and reserve the best spots before you arrive for the event. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nantahala Bridge Dedication Honors NOC Staff Member's Heroism

Earlier this summer, members of the Nantahala River community gathered to honor NOC's Vice President of Operations, Rob Kelly, for his heroic rescue on the Upper Nantahala last September. In a ceremony held at the Mystic River development, representatives from the Mystic Lands community dedicated their bridge over the Nantahala to commemorate Rob's selfless act and his quick action.

On behalf of the Mystic Lands homeowners Ami Shinitzky made the following remarks:

"Heroes in literature and mythology have always had roles that go farther and deeper than surface plots would suggest. Acts of heroism are acts of transcendence. These are moments in which we exceed our normal or habitual capacity, reaching heights that set new standards for ourselves, and even for all mankind.

Though mostly isolated acts, these heroic acts are important nonetheless, for they reassure us of our hidden reservoirs of strength, even if we do not often tap into them. When we cheer for heroes, we cheer for ourselves, for heroes are the harbingers of the greatness within mankind that is in our collective future to come.

Heroic acts may be as private as holding the hand of a dying friend, or as spectacular as jumping into the rushing whitewater river to rescue a drowning fellow human being. With hardly a thought that both might perish, on that last Saturday of September 2012, that moment of singular supreme courage is what Rob Kelly displayed to the wonderment and admiration of us all.

While we gratefully acknowledge the contributions of others to this memorable rescue, it is your singular yet modest display of heroism, Rob, that hereby shall be memorialized so as to inspire the countless, nay millions, who will raft or kayak down our beloved Nantahala under this Mystic River bridge. A bridge that from this time on shall be known as the Rob Kelly Bridge, underscoring an act of human triumph that you selflessly and heroically displayed: COURAGE!

And who better to dedicate the Rob Kelly Bridge than Sue Martin, for whom what was going to be but another adventurous run down the Upper Nantahala, transformed from a near certain death, to a life where joys, small and large, and not the least the joys of motherhood of her two children, are hers to savor again.

It is our honor to know and celebrate you, Rob."

The ceremony took place on June 30 led by Sue Martin, the rescued paddler. The bridge is located between Patton's Run and Ferebee Park. Look for it next time you paddle the Nantahala, and use it as a reminder to be alert and aware of the other paddlers on the river.

Fight the Back to School Blues

As if summer wasn't short enough already, record rainfall across the Southeast stole away some of the best outdoor days of the year. The good news? Rafting only gets better with rain, and there are plenty of warm, summery days still ahead.

So, to help families across the Southeast get their summer adventure fix, NOC is offering all enewsletter subscribers 20% savings on any August raft trip! To take advantage of this great deal, simply book a trip between August 15th and August 19th and receive this special  discount. The offer applies to any weekday (Monday through Thursday) raft trip in August. Call 800.232.7238 or book online.  Use offer code B2SRF for discount.

For more information about NOC Whitewater Rafting Trips, click here or call NOC Reservations at 800.232.7238

2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships: Schedule of Events

Athletes from Japan, Slovakia and Britain are already in the Nantahala Gorge training for the 2013 ICF Freestyle Canoe World Championships.  This event is gearing up to be the biggest paddling event in the US since the 1996 Olympic; you definitely don't want to miss the action!

For a preview of what's to come in the competition, watch the official 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championship Trailer here:

Competition week will be filled with live music, spectator games and mini-events. The official craft marketplace will be packed with local vendors selling authentic, handmade mountain crafts and distributing information about their products. And the Adidas Outdoor Gear Zone will feature representative from the hottest brands in paddlesports and outdoor industries like Adidas, Confluence, North Face, Columbia and more!

Below is a tentative schedule for the week of competition; go ahead and choose the dates for your visit! An official list of 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championship Lodging Partners is available here if you're looking for a place to crash.

Event Schedule - Subject to change at Organizer's discretion
Monday, September 2
6 pm: Athlete Parade & Opening Ceremonies in Bryson City
6:45 pm: Warriors of AniKituhwa, presented by Duke Energy
7:30 - 10 pm: Live Music in Bryson City
8 pm: Big Air Show - Everett Street Bridge, Bryson City
Tuesday, September 3
11 am - 12:30 pm: Competition: Heats (K1 Men Junior)
12:30 pm: NOC Mini-Me Rodeo
2:30 - 4:30 pm: Competition: Heats (K1 Men Junior, OC1 Men)
5 - 8 pm: Live Music with The Broadcast
Wednesday, September 4
11 am - 1 pm: Competition: Heats (Squirt Women & Men)
1 pm: Wave Sport Wesser Falls Extreme Race
3 - 4:30 pm: Competition: Heats (Squirt Men, K1 Women Junior)
5 - 8 pm: Live Music with Chalwa
Thursday, September 5
11 am - 1 pm: Competition: Heats (K1 Men)
1 pm: Bomber Gear SUP Head-to-Head Race
3 - 5 pm: Competition: Heats (K1 Men)
5 pm: Dagger Dash Attainment Race
5 - 8 pm: Live Music with The Fritz
Friday, September 6
11 am - 12 pm: US Wildwater Nationals Classic Race
12 - 2 pm: Competition: Heats (C1 Men, K1 Women)
2 pm: Bomber Gear Dress for Success Challenge
3 - 4 pm: Competition: Heats (K1 Women)
4 - 7 pm: Live Music with Playing on the Planet
5 pm: Rubber Duckie Race to benefit Swain & Robbinsville High School athletic programs
6 - 7 pm: Competition: Quarterfinals (K1 Men)
7 pm: Dagger presents 8-Ball Competition thru 2013 Wave
8 - 11 pm: Live Music with The Freight Hoppers
9 - 10 pm: Competition: Quarterfinals (K1 Men)
Saturday, September 7
11 am - 12 pm: US Wildwater Nationals Sprint Race
11 am- 2 pm: Wilderness Systems Lake Demos
12 - 3:20 pm: Competition: Semifinals (Squirt Men & Women, K1 Men Junior, C1 Men)
2 pm: Wilderness Systems Challenge
3:45 pm: VIP Raft Race
5 pm: Rubber Duckie Race to benefit PAWS No-Kill Animal Shelter
4 - 7 pm: Live Music with Buncombe Turnpike
7:20 - 8 pm: Competition: Semifinals (K1 Women)
8 pm: AT Canoe Ball
8 - 11 pm: Live Music with The Mad Tea
9 - 10 pm: Competition: Semifinals (K1 Men)
Sunday, September 8
11 am - 1 pm: Competition: Finals (Squirt Women & Men, OC1 Men, K1 Women Junior)
11 am - 3 pm: Wilderness Systems Lake Demos
1 pm: Awards Ceremony
1:30 pm: Dagger presents: The RPM Stern Squirt Session
2:30 pm: Rubber Duckie Race to Benefit the Nantahala Racing Club
3 - 5 pm: Competition: Finals (K1 Men Junior, C1 Men, K1 Women, K1 Men)
4-7 pm: Live Music with Unspoken Tradition
5 pm: Awards Ceremony
5:15 pm: Closing Ceremonies
8 pm - Live Music with Dirty Bourbon River Show

For full event descriptions and event information click here
We hope to see you in the Nantahala Gorge for the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships from September 2 - 8. 

NOC Paddling School: July Highlights

Named the "Best Kayaking School in the Country" by Outside Magazine NOC's Paddling School is dedicated to sharing a passion for whitewater paddling with as many people as possible. Every summer NOC Instructors teach a wide range of guests the joy of whitewater paddling and the skills to succeed at it.

And while the Paddling School instructors value every one of their students, sharing the sport with kids is extra-special, since the kids represent the future of the sport, and have a lifetime to take advantage of the beauties and thrills of whitewater paddling. These two programs made this summer great for our instructors:

NOC Kids Week Kayak Camp - Five times this summer the NOC Paddling School hosted children from 9 to 17 years old in a week-long camp, teaching the basics of kayaking, building kids' confidence and encouraging the creation of life-long paddling friendships and acquaintances.

The highlight of the kids' camp is always the last day where all parents are invited to come see the progress their children have made throughout the camp.  Group parents and children paddle together, with "uninitiated" parents paddling the Nantahala River in "duckies" (inflatable kayaks).

Group shot of parents, children and instructors at Ferebee Park before padding the Nantahala River

Cherokee Choices Program - This summer NOC also worked with Cherokee Choices, an organization that teaches local Cherokee residents how to lead an active lifestyle and take advantage of area outdoor recreation opportunities. In one three hour session, NOC Paddling School Instructor, Bailey O'Sullivan, taught fifteen teenagers the basics of stand up paddle boarding.  Most of the students had never been on a paddle board before this program, but now they have the experience to get back out on their own to paddle board on their local lakes and rivers.

The group SUPing and swimming in Lake Fontana
To get a child you know the skills he/she needs to enjoy a lifetime of paddling, click here to read about NOC course offerings, or call NOC Paddling School directly at 828.488.7288. NOC can tailor instruction for all ages and skill levels.