Whitewater paddlers ages 18 and under will converge on the Nantahala River for three exciting days of paddling and racing August 9 – 11. Hosted by Nantahala Racing Club (NRC), the non-profit partner of Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the event features competitions in all three whitewater disciplines (freestyle, slalom and downriver).The elite athletes participating in the Junior Olympics will be aspiring to the junior national team with trials being held in September in Washington DC. For these athletes, the event is an opportunity to practice racing under pressure, to explore other disciplines, and to expand upon what they have already achieved. Some of these promising young competitors may one day grace the Olympic podium.
An all-inclusive experience, the Junior Olympics is the largest event being hosted by NRC this year, with children gathering together from across the United States. It will include a fun Ducky Cross through the 2013 Wave, a Stand up Paddle Giant Slalom, and off-the-water community events such as a run and other social activities to encourage camaraderie among participants, families and the broader community.
While NOC offers daily a wide-range of activities such as rafting, kayaking, zip lining, hiking, stand-up paddling, and much more, the organization also partners with NRC to involve young paddlers in casual weekend paddling sessions run by professional instructors and coaches, whitewater races and clinics, and high-level competitions. All activities support the mission to get youth outdoors, promote healthy alternatives for children, and engage families in outdoor recreation.
The Junior Olympics is the ideal setting to achieve this mission. Kids meet other outdoor-oriented youth who are inspired by whitewater; they build lasting relationships with peers who have similar interests and goals; and they become part of the movement to broaden the sport of whitewater. Fourteen year-old Miller Kaderabek of Fairview, North Carolina, is competing this year and shares his thoughts on training and even making his own boat:
The 2014 Whitewater Junior Olympics is sponsored by USA Canoe/Kayak, a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The registration fee is $40.
Logo and video courtesy Nantahala Outdoor Center