Inside the 2023 Freestyle Worlds – Day 1 Opening Ceremony
By: Kathy Holcombe / Photography: Peter Holcombe
The 2023 Freestyle Kayak World Championships have officially commenced, and athletes from around the world are congregated on the banks of the Chatahoochie River that runs between the cities of Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama.
This urban environment provides all of the amenities of a large city, with abundant accommodations, restaurants, bars and shopping, all within walking distance of world class kayaking. Unfortunately the region is currently experiencing severe drought conditions, and training time on the feature is extremely limited. Athletes are averaging 2-5 training rides per day, leaving everyone wanting more time to practice and refine their competition rides. The feature itself is a raucous wave that can provide a perfect launchpad for huge arial tricks, or just as quickly flush paddlers through to the wave train below the feature. This unpredictability is going to make for a fierce competition where anything can happen.
The event officially began last night with the opening ceremonies in Phenix City, Alabama. Over 200 athletes from 20 countries paraded into the outdoor amphitheater and were treated to a fabulous evening of live music to kick off the festivities. The athletes had one final day of training today, and then it is go time tomorrow. The squirt athletes will take the stage tomorrow starting at 10:15 AM EDT and will be the first champions crowned tomorrow evening. You can watch the entire squirt event here.
We will be posting daily updates here, so be sure to check back all week for all the latest happenings at the 2023 Freestyle Kayak World Championships.