When the 2012 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup in Rock Island, Tennessee kicks off tomorrow (Friday) it will be the first time that an international Canoeing event has been hosted in the Southeast part of the USA since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. As many as 100 athletes from 18 countries have confirmed their appearance.
The 3 day event which will take place from 24-26 August will see an entirely new generation of local, national and international paddlers show off their spectacular moves on the Caney Fork River, with the hope of winning a coveted World Cup medal.
"This is going to be a high energy event that will host some of the top whitewater athletes in the world," said Zuzana Vanha, Special Events Coordinator. “This gives us an opportunity to really showcase and share a piece of Western North Carolina with people from around the world."
Undoubtedly the focus will be on the Freestyle legend Eric Jackson (USA) and his children Dane and Emily Jackson (USA) who are looking to put on a show in their home state of Tennessee. Thousands of spectators are expected to visit the venue to watch them and a field of other internationally renowned freestyle paddlers.
Dane won four medals at the 2011 World Championship in Plattling (GER) and represented North and South America in a freestyle exhibit at the Canoe Slalom competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Excitement amongst the local community and regional paddlers has been building up and both communities look forward to welcoming the international paddle community to the town. Two local freestyler paddlers, Matt Anger and Pat Keller shared some insight on the competition. Anger said:
I'm looking forward to the World Cup because this is going to be my first international event.
Many other boaters in southeastern USA are also looking forward to testing themselves against the international competition. This year, Anger has been concentrating on advancing his freestyle skills, and he looks forward to meeting and learning from some of the international paddlers competing in the event.
Legendary boater Pat Keller, known both for his accomplishments as an international expedition paddler as well as his multiple victories at the Green River Narrows extreme race in North Carolina, USA, describes freestyle paddling as "doing a floor routine in gymnastics during an earthquake."
For the opening event of the 2012 Freestyle World Cup, all the action will take place on Rock Island, which boasts an epic feature on the Caney Fork River, located in beautiful Rock Island State Park, TN. This challenging feature in this remote location provides the world’s best freestylers an opportunity to show off their most spectacular moves.
The US is hosting all three ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cups this year, with the next two World Cups taking place in Hartford, Tennessee and Bryson City, North Carolina. This time next year, North Carolina will host the 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championship on the famous Nantahala River.
Event website: www.freestylekayaking2013.com