Posted by: Ashley | October 30, 2008

Open Canoes Return to Wausau in 2009

Today Wausau Whitewater learned that we will host the American Canoe Association Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships in 2009. The three day event will be scheduled for July 31 through August 2 at Wausau Whitewater Park.

Since we hosted this event in 2003 and 2007, we were concerned that the committee might vote for somewhere else in North American. In 2008, they were in Minden, Ontario and in 2006, they were at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. As the committee voted though, Wausau was selected! In 2003 and 2007, we were privileged to have several Japanese competitors join those from throughout the United States and Canada.

Open Canoes are very different from the decked kayaks and canoes that propagate a normal slalom event. The boats are bigger and become more challenging to maneuver through the slalom gate system.


Another challenge of the Open Canoe event is that compared to the four classes of an ICF slalom event, or the seven classes of a typical national-level slalom event, the OC event has 38 classes last I checked. Participants have two classes as part of their registration fee for the three day event. In addition, individuals can select up to 5 more classes at $10 per class. In 2007, many people added on 2 more classes and a few did 5 additional classes. Classes include a variety of boat lengths and styles as well as C1 and C2 options. C2 options can include 2 men, 2 women, or C2 Mixed which means 1 man and 1 woman in the boat.


Open Canoe Nationals typically includes a downriver event which covers a longer course and circles back to the finish line. The tradition attracts both new participants as well as those who feel that downriver is needed to make the event compete. Wausau Whitewater’s course which is on the Wisconsin River feeds into Lake Wausau so it is easy to combine the swiftwater of the whitewater course with the flatwater at the bottom of the course and allows the participants to circle back without fighting strong current.


Registration information is in the development stage and will be posted at as soon as it is ready. The rest of the season schedule will be formed shortly. Other events for 2009 will include Wausau Whitewater Weekend and Midwest Freestyle Championships. There will be multiple opportunities for training, several cooperative projects, and at least 9 days of recreational releases.


I suppose we have to wait for the snow to melt though before paddling can begin again. But this means the 2009 season is only about 7 or 8 months away.


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