The third annual Nantahala Ooutdoor Center Freestyle Shootout kayak rodeo on the Nantahala River will happen this weekend, April 17 and 18, in which some of the biggest names in paddling will dish up their best stunts and tricks.
Similar to skateboarding or snowboarding on a half-pipe, freestyle kayaking involves technical tricks and highly-stylized moves — including spins, turns, cartwheels and flips that often involve the boater going completely airborne.
The NOC Shootout is one of only six events in the country where paddlers can score points toward the USA Freestyle Kayaking national championship series. Paddlers are hoping freestyle will be recognized as an official Olympic sport for the 2012 games.
The NOC competition begins late Saturday morning and runs throughout the afternoon. The top five paddlers in each class advance to the finals on Sunday. The awards ceremony is Sunday evening with $10,000 in cash and prizes on the line.
Throughout both days, visitors can enjoy a festival-like atmosphere that includes live music.
Open surf will be offered on the wave feature from 8–10 p.m. tonight. Afterwards, there will be a freestyle kayaking presentation by Eric Jackson, founder of Jackson Kayak. He will talk about the rules, moves and scoring of freestyle kayaking at The Pourover.
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