More than 70 paddlers from across the U.S., Canada and as far away as Tokyo will invade Wausau's Whitewater Park this weekend for the Open Canoe Slalom Nationals.
Racers will use recreational and racing boats of all different sizes for this weekends competition.
Paddlers were able to make practice runs through the course today, prepping for this weekend's races.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:
WAUSAU, WI (July 9, 2013) –
More than 70 open-canoe paddlers will compete Friday through Sunday, July 12 to 14, at Wausau Whitewater Park. Event organizers are getting ready for competitors from more than 15 states who will compete along with paddlers from Canada for the American Canoe Association’s Open Canoe Slalom Nationals and North American Championship titles.
Spectators are welcome and seating has been expanded along the course on the east channel of the Wisconsin River. Wausau Whitewater Park is located along River Drive, southwest of the Marathon County Public Library.
The kayakers who most often race on the course have covered boats with spray skirts to keep the water out, but this event, as the name points out, is for open canoes. Inflatable bags can be lashed into the boat, but the top must be open. The canoes come in solo and tandem models, allowing for different classes of competition. Unlike kayakers, the canoeists use a single-bladed paddle.
To make things predictable for spectators who want to see the timed action as the racers make their way through slalom gates, some of which have to be navigated while paddling upstream, the schedule is the same for all three days.
Paddlers take their first runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is a one-hour lunch break and racing resumes from 1:30 to 4:30. Some awards will be presented at a Saturday evening dinner and some will be presented after Sunday’s competition.