This week, the top paddlers from around the world have descended on the Nantahala River to compete in the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Freestyle Kayaking World Championships. The Nantahala River is known for it’s varying levels of rapids and consistent water levels, which makes it an ideal location for this top-level competition. The Nantahala Gorge, located in Swain County, is where most of the competition and associated events will take place.

Over 500 freestyle kayakers from 45 countries will be in town this week to take part in the competition. These are not your ordinary kayakers – they will be performing cartwheels, full flips and near vertical turns as well as other specialized maneuvers to earn the top spot among their fellow competitors.

If you haven’t checked out these amazing athletes yet, you still have a few days left! The Championship competition continues through Sunday. There will also be an Artisan Festival in Bryson City Friday – Sunday, as well as other fun events for the whole family. For a complete list of events and more information, check out the event’s website.