The best of the best in the U.S. are coming to Wetumpka later this year. We're talking about kayaking on the Coosa River. This October some of the best paddlers in the nation will compete for a chance to advance to the World Championships in Europe.
When you think about competitive sports for teens and young adults kayaking might not first come to mind, but its popularity is growing. "I've lived in Wetumpka most of my life and I never knew it was out here, to see it in my backyard is great, it's growing quite a bit," said Andy Hobson. He's competing in the amateur competition and after only one year in the water he's paddling like a pro. When we asked him how he wants to do, Hobson said, "to win the juniors of course, everyone wants to win!" He's confident but you have to be if you want to win it all.
The competition will bring in pros and their families from all over the country. The exposure and the economic impact could be huge for Wetumpka. "Its a big deal because you have the best paddlers in North America, they'll be coming in here gunning for this, they wouldn't pick a situation if it wasn't good enough to earn a national championship," said Lonnie Cardin from Southern Trials. And he can't wait to see the pros in action. "It makes us proud of our river, it's in our backyard and we usually look at it and go, they do tricks we can't do in our home river, so we all start working on new tricks."
So why the Coosa in Wetumpka? "It's a good powerful spot and you have to be precise in your skills, or you'll wash off the wave," Cardin said. You can see it for yourself. The Coosa River Whitewater Festival is October 7-9 in Wetumpka.