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2010 USA Canoe/Kayak Wildwater Senior Team Trials and East Coast Junior Team Trials

Nantahala River, March 27-28, 2010
Hosted by the Nantahala Racing Club, Wesser NC

by Chris Hipgrave
USA Wildwater
Committee Vice Chair

March 9, 2010 -- Bryson City, NC

Please note that this information may change as the need arises and at the discretion of race organizers. Check back at frequently for the latest updates. This event will be part of the US Open which will also include an International Slalom event.

Entry Form & USACK Waiver now available:

Race Format - Team Trials will consist of two Sprint races both on Saturday March 27th, 2010 where the times will be combined for a Sprint result; and a single Classic race on Sunday March 28th, 2010.

Sprint - Saturday's Sprint course is on the Nantahala River and will start a little above Patton’s Run rapid located at the Forest Service put-in at the head of the river 8 miles upstream of the NOC, and will end below Patton’s Run rapid. The start line is the top of the eddy at the Forest Service put-in. The finish line is the second of the three concrete ramps below Pattons. Fastest K1 times are expected to be close to 70 seconds. Pattons Run is a straight forward rapid to get thru, but technically challenging to do fast. Racers should park in the abundant parking at the Forest Service put-in, NOT in the limited number of spaces at the overlook parking area. Shuttle can comfortably be walked along the wide shoulder on US-19/74. Please walk on the left facing the traffic and stay as far away from the road as possible.

Classic - Sunday’s European style classic race is on the Nantahala River and will start at Ferebee Park put-in and finish below the Ledges Rapid at Jump Off Rock, approximately 3 miles downstream. Fastest times are expected to be close to 13 minutes. This section of river includes long sections of fun class 2 and 3 whitewater. Ferebee Park will be closed to all parking as the Forest Service completes extensive renovations to the facilities. There are several put-in's immediately upstream of Ferebee Park allowing you to simply paddle to the start. There is NO racer egress or parking at the finish line at Jump Off Rock. The limited number of parking spaces will be reserved for the timing team at this location. Egress and parking for all racers is at Surfers, located about a mile downstream of the finish line.

Race Schedule
DateTimeEventMeeting Place
March 26
12pm - 4pm
2pm - 5pm
Slalom/Wildwater Late Registration
Slalom/Wildwater Boat Control
Behind NOC Rentals
Behind NOC Rentals
March 27
Bib Pick-up/Competitor’s Meeting
Sprint Begins
Forest Service Put-In
Patton’s Run
March 28
Competitor’s Meeting
Classic Begins
Awards Ceremony
Forest Service Put-In
Ferebee Park
Relia’s Garden, NOC

Classes - Wildwater men's kayak (K-1), women's kayak (K-1W), men's single canoe (C-1), women’s single canoe (C1-W) and men's tandem canoe (C-2); Cadets (age 14 & under), Juniors (age 15-18), Seniors (age 19 and above). NOTES: It takes 3 boats to make a class. You may race in no more than two (2) classes.

Team Selection - All paddlers are encouraged to race, but in order to be selected for the USA Wildwater Team you must meet the official team selection criteria as established by the USACK Wildwater Committee and the International Canoe Federation. These criteria are available on and All athletes competing at Team Trials (juniors and seniors) must be current members of USA Canoe/Kayak (USACK). Event-Only membership will be available at the event. Verify membership or become a paid member at or by calling (704) 348-4330.

Safety - The Nantahala is primarily a Class II river, with the occasional Class III rapid. Because of the ease of self-rescue on the Nantahala, race safety will only be provided at key rapids. If you are not comfortable with self-rescue, please reconsider your participation.

Boat Inspection – Wildwater boats, pfd’s and helmets will be inspected prior to the race. All boats will be checked for adequately installed and inflated airbags per ICF rules. Additionally, equipment will be re-inspected during and after the race to determine if ICF specifications are met. Be sure your equipment qualifies before you start or risk disqualification! Boat specifications and rules can be reviewed at the ICF Wildwater site ( It is the racers responsibility to familiarize themselves with the ICF rules and make sure that their equipment meets these standards. Failure to meet these requirements will result in disqualification.

River Pass - The race course flows thru the Nantahala National Forest and all races on the Nantahala are therefore sanctioned by the US Forest Service. This sanctioning body requires all river users to buy a river pass. Annual river passes are available at the NOC Outfitters Store for $5. A Daily Pass for $1 is available at most put-in and take-outs. It is your responsibility to comply or pay the fine if you do not and are caught by the Forest Service. The river pass fees are used to maintain and improve river access and facilities along the Nantahala River corridor.

Releases - Dams owned by Duke Power controls the water flow in the last 8 miles of the Nantahala before Fontana Lake. Race starts may have to be adjusted to meet the release schedule. If you’re coming to the Nantahala to train, you may want to check the dam release schedule at the link below. It takes approximately 2.25 hours for the release to reach the NOC. Special releases have been secured on Friday March 26th from 0700-1700hrs, Saturday March 27th from 0500-1700hrs and Sunday March 28th from 0500-1600hrs. Recreational flow schedules outside of these dates will provide training water from 1000-1500hrs every day from March 8th-25th, 2010.

For updated flow information, check

Airports – The closest airports are Asheville NC (70 minutes) and Knoxville TN (2 hours). The closest major international airport hubs include Charlotte, NC (2.5 hours) and Atlanta, GA (2.5 hours).

Available Boats – For those of you flying or driving large distances or those new to wildwater without the necessary equipment, a small number of boats are available. These boats include composite K1’s, C1’s and C2’s and a number of Wavehoppers and Fastwaves. This equipment is owned by the Nantahala Racing Club and is available on a first come first serve basis. Contact the race director early to reserve your equipment.

Accommodation - The Nantahala Gorge can be crowded and parking may be a challenge if the weather is warm. Make your lodging and camping reservations for race weekend early. If you are coming up to train before the race, you'll find many area campgrounds closed until April. Try the Nantahala Outdoor Center's Base Camp for an inexpensive alternative (828-488-2175 or or refer to Swain County's Chamber of Commerce listing of area lodging (

Rafts - While race organizers will work with area companies, some raft and private boater traffic on the Nantahala may be unavoidable. The Nantahala is wide and over taking easy in most situations. A simple shout as you approach private boaters is usually enough for them to move out of your way.

Shuttles - A shuttle will be provided to the start on both race days. If you are at the Nantahala training on weekends, it is fairly easy to leave your boat at the put-in, drop your vehicle at the take-out, and thumb a ride off a boater back to the top. The Nantahala Outdoor Center will also shuttle you for a small fee or for free if you are a NRC member.

Registration - To register for the race, complete a registration form and waiver from Early registration is recommended and saves you money, but race day registration will be available at additional cost.

Volunteers - Got a friend who is coming with you? Race organizers would be grateful for any volunteers who can help out race weekend. Contact race organizers to volunteer.