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Wednesday, 19 March 2014 12:37

Paddlers emerge for first big race of the year

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out paddlersA major paddling race will be held on the Nantahala River March 22 and 23, with around 60 of the country’s top slalom paddlers coming from as far away as Colorado, Texas and Washington.


“The U.S. Open is one of the few events in the United States where all the best slalom athletes participate and is the first indication of how well the athletes are prepared for the season,” said U.S. National Team Coach Silvan Poberaj.

Featuring both slalom and wildwater races, the U.S. Open is hosted by the Nantahala Racing Club.

The race carries even more weight for slalom paddlers age 23 and under, as it will solidify the final line-up for 2014 U.S. National Team.

As the first national-level race of the year, the U.S. Open offers a welcome reprieve from “the doldrums of winter training” for wildwater athletes like John Pinyerd of Atlanta. Pinyerd, who competes in the C-1 Masters class. He looks forward to racing against his biggest competitor at the U.S. Open: himself.

“At this point in my life, I am racing my old times and results,” said Pinyerd, who has been participating in the annual event for “as long as NRC has had them.” 

Though many U.S. Open paddlers are elite athletes who train year-round for whitewater sport, Nantahala Racing Club also offers recreational classes in both wildwater and slalom disciplines to encourage participation amongst recreational paddlers and enthusiasts. 

The event is free to spectators, with competition beginning at 10 a.m. both days. For more info, go to NantahalaRacingClub.com/events.

Parking, dining, shopping and restrooms are available at Nantahala Outdoor Center’s all-inclusive outdoor recreation resort on the Nantahala River.

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