The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) will host the third annual Tuck Fest, a three-day festival that celebrates the active, outdoor lifestyle through competitions, exhibitions, demos, and live music April 17-19, 2015. With over 30 competitions and demos in and around the river as well as 10 live musical performances, the festival invites outdoor enthusiasts, spectators, and musicians to celebrate the active, outdoor lifestyle. Through the name, the celebration also recognizes the Tuckaseegee Ford and Trail, a historical landmark located at the USNWC. Entry into the festival is free and open to the public.
Tuck Fest will feature 4 stand-up paddleboarding competitions during the 3-day event; a 3-race whitewater series and a flatwater race. The flatwater race on Saturday will have classes for men’s and women’s in both 4-mile and 8-mile distances on the Catawba River (adjacent to the USNWC), but will not feature any board or age classes. This race will begin and finish at the USNWC Catawba River dock heading upstream towards the Mountain Island Lake dam, with the 4-mile race heading 2 miles and the 8-mile race heading 4 miles upstream around a buoy and back to the finish.
The stand-up paddleboard main event, the whitewater SUP race series, will be held throughout the festival. These whitewater races will feature top whitewater SUP athletes from around the country battling it out with local and regional paddlers on the most difficult and demanding whitewater SUP courses. The King/Queen of SUP competition features a downriver race, a SUP cross, and a giant slalom. The series will be a point based competition with each competitor getting the same number of points as their finishing position. Similar to golf, the competitor left standing after all 3 events with the lowest overall score is crowned the King/Queen.
The weekend kicks off with the down river race; a single timed run down the wilderness channel, without any gates or turns. These times will also be used to seed the SUP cross. The challenge gets more difficult on Saturday afternoon with the preliminary rounds of the SUP cross; buoys and gates are added to the wilderness channel course to create a slalom-esque SUP cross environment. Racers will battle class II-III+ rapids while navigating turns into and out of eddies with both upstream and downstream maneuvers around buoys and gates. To top it off, there is no flatwater in between the rapids, so this race is all whitewater! Racers will have a chance to rest up after the SUP cross preliminary rounds before the main event Saturday night in front of thousands of spectators that will line the competition channel for the giant slalom competition. Competitors will navigate down very continuous, extremely challenging class III-IV rapids. To add to the challenge, there will be two downstream gates and one upstream gate. This solo, timed run will be the most challenging race in whitewater SUP, and to really test the competitor’s nerves, this will all go down in front of humongous crowds.
The final race that will most likely determine the King and Queen will be on Sunday afternoon. The SUP cross finals will head back over to the wilderness channel. These heats will feature only the best of the best, and to offer the most challenging course, the gates will be changed to feature even harder moves. The SUP cross finals will epitomize whitewater competition as many of the moves will require precise execution of significant and challenging eddy turns, ferries and peel outs. Whitewater river reading skills will play a huge factor in all races, but none more so than the SUP cross finals.
Registration for Tuck Fest competitions is a one-time flat fee of $35, which allows for participation in one or all races/ competitions.
For more information about Tuck Fest, please visit tuckfest.org.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is a non-profit outdoor recreation and adventure sports facility situated on 400 acres of woodlands along the scenic Catawba River. Alongside mountain biking and running trails, a climbing center, zip-lines, flatwater kayaking, high rope courses, and a canopy tour, the facility’s most unique feature is a multiple-channel, customized whitewater river for rafting and paddling enthusiasts of all abilities. The USNWC is proud to be a U.S. Olympic Training Site that provides outdoor recreation for families, outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, casual observers and Olympic-caliber athletes.
The USNWC offers stand-up paddleboard instruction in flatwater and whitewater, with both group and private instruction that cater to any aspiring paddler’s instructional needs. In addition to instruction, lessons, and clinics for paddlers, the USNWC also offers ACA SUP instructor certification for flatwater and whitewater. The USNWC is a leader in all types of SUP instruction, and because of the unique whitewater channel system, there is no better place to learn how to SUP in whitewater. The USNWC is host to the first Level 4: Advanced Whitewater SUP Instructor Certification, and is currently the only place you can attain this high level ACA instructor certification. To learn more about USNWC SUP instruction, visit http://usnwc.org/learn/instruction-certification/.
For those who are just looking for a great and unique place to stand-up paddleboard, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is the place for all your paddling needs. Guests can rent stand-up paddleboards for use on the Catawba River/Lake Wylie, bring their own board and use the flatwater river access, or try their skills on the whitewater channels (previous experience required). To learn more about USNWC SUP programs, visit http://usnwc.org/play/.