The first two Saturday events are slalom competitions held on a course below Lesser Wesser Falls (a.k.a. Nantahala Falls) on the Nantahala River in Wesser, NC. On the third Saturday of the competition is a wild water race from the put-in to the finish just above the NOC, and the final day of the slalom competition. Again, points are awarded to the clubs based on the participation of their members, with a much heavier point weight on this final weekend.

 

The wild water event is co-sponsored by GCA in cooperation with the NRC and the NOC. It is the Southeastern U. S. Wildwater Championships, which GCA has sponsored continuously for 43 years, and for which participation had declined in recent years, until last year. Organizers were caught off guard when the partnership with the Canoe Club Challenge suddenly boosted participation in the wild water race from less than 20 racers in 2009 to about quadruple that number in 2010. They were still able to pull off the race through the super-human efforts of the small group of volunteers involved.

 

To put it mildly, it was a disappointing showing for the race sponsors, including GCA, in planning and organizing the race, and a disappointing showing for GCA in the race results. So at our last meeting, the GCA Executive Committee decided to make a commitment not to let this happen again. What can we do?

We want to plan and prepare for a participation level of as many as 200 boaters in the wild water race. GCA Southeasterns Race Master John Pinyerd is taking the lead role in this, and is working with the NRC and NOC to plan and coordinate the events. He will need a few more GCA members this year to help with registration, starting, timing and safety, etc., in order to provide for the larger participation that this year will most likely bring.

 

Another thing that is needed if we want to make a decent showing in the Challenge competition is a small team of people to help with GCA’s participation in the slalom part of the event ALL 3 SATURDAYS. The way the slalom is set up, each club is responsible for providing a team of volunteers to count runs and to time and judge their team members’ runs in the slalom races. Without this team, a club is not allowed to participate. And of course the next thing that’s needed is GCA members to participate as competitors — lots of them — the more, the better.

Folks, this is a real low key event as far as not being complicated is concerned. It’s a forgiving course, and all competitors need do is complete as many runs as they can in each race, and to make all the gates in order – touches don’t count. If you can be available to help out on any or all of the dates, either with the GCA team helping with the slalom races or on the last weekend helping with the Southeastern U. S. Wildwater Championships, contact either John Pinyerd, 770-977-7603, jpinyerd@cs.com, or Roger Nott, 770-536-6923, ocapaddler@charter.net. The Saturday dates for the competition are June 18 (first slalom), July 16 (second slalom) and the big finale on August 13, 2011 (wild water race and third slalom). For more information on the event, go to

 

Most importantly, if you can be available to enter the competition on behalf of your club, the GCA, please do so. You can enter any type of boat. There is no cost involved to enter, and advanced registration is not required. How easy can it be? Just show up, fill out the forms and race! The slaloms are held in the afternoon so you have time for a run on the river and can still practice and take part in the races. The people who entered last year had a ball, and some of them have even started racing in other events as a result of the experience.

 

Another great way to support the GCA at the races is spectating and cheering for the participants. For the slalom races, you can see the entire course from almost anywhere on the banks or the bridges. It’s quite exciting to watch. And for the wild water races, the most exciting place to watch the racers come by is at the Falls. You not only get to see the racers trying to pick a smooth line through the most challenging water on the river, you can watch them from there to the finish line just downstream. Cheer your favorite participants on to victory at the finish line!

 

We will be updating you on the events and plans via the next newsletter, the GCA email list and the web site. Thanks in advance for any help you can lend, and for participating on behalf of your club. Please, let’s not be asking ourselves again next year, “Where was the GCA?”

Allen Hedden

From “The Eddy Line”, May, 2011