The Wave Shaper
The centerpiece of the project, the wave shaper is the man-made river feature creating the competition wave. It is depicted as a shaded rectangle in the schematic on the construction information page. The design is similar to one installed at the Green River Whitewater Park in Idaho. The resulting wave will accommodate skill levels from beginner to advanced, creating a fun and safe spot for all paddlers to enjoy.
The new feature will attract competitors, tourists and boaters of all skill levels. The first planned event for the site is the NOC Freestyle Shootout on April 20-22, 2012 with the first international event, the 2012 ICF Freestyle Kayaking World Cup Final, on September 7-9, 2012. The much anticipated 2013 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships from September 2-8, 2013 will draw competitors and tourists from around the world. Spectators will watch as the world's top freestyle kayakers come together right here in WNC's backyard.
Freestyle kayaking is one of nine paddlesports disciplines with major international competitions sanctioned by the International Canoe Federation. Unlike slalom or downriver racing, freestyle kayaking is not racing. Instead it is similar to half-pipe snowboard or skateboarding, where athletes stay in one location and perform tricks for scores from a panel of judges. The "feature" being constructed in the riverbed will create a standing wave that athletes will use to perform their tricks. To compete, athletes will stabilize themselves by surfing the wave. They gain speed necessary for impressive tricks by sliding down the wave and placing edges of their boats into the current passing underneath and beside the wave. The difference in speeds between the water pushing back upstream in the wave and the water moving downstream in the current creates the energy needed to perform impressive spins, flips and aerial maneuvers. The moves are scored for completion and style.