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Charles City Gears Up for WhiteWater Challenge

Charles City and the Cedar River
Charles City and the Cedar River

CHARLES CITY – Charles City Challenge WhiteWater Weekend at Riverfront Park, May 31-June 2, is expected to attract top canoe, kayak and stand up paddleboard (SUP) talent from across the United States and Canada.

The event is open to paddlers of all skill levels, with completive paddling events scheduled for June 1, beginning at 10 a.m. Weekend events include kayak rodeo, kayak boater cross, kayak “King of the Wave,” SUP cross, SUP best surf, SUP distance race, canoe down river race and canoe obstacle event.

“The Charles City WhiteWater Park is top-notch for kayak and SUP surfing. There’s so many things to like; the features are wide, the eddy service is great, it’s surfable at a range of water levels. The variety among the waves lets beginners learn to surf and aggressive play boaters do aerial tricks,” said Claire Chappell, an SUP surfer from Golden, Colo., who experienced the Cedar River whitewater course on a recent visit.

Special events for youth will be kayak time trial and kayak best trick/surf. Opportunities for open boating will also allow river enthusiasts of all skill levels to experience the course.

“Charles City is attracting paddlers of all skill levels from across the country because the park has a reputation as a premiere whitewater paddling destination in the Midwest,” said Todd Robertson, rivers programs outreach coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to fun on the river, events include a disc golf tournament, dog jog and downtown farmers market.

The Charles City WhiteWater at Riverfront Park was designed by Recreation Engineering and Planning from Boulder, Colo., who has designed approximately 80 percent of the whitewater courses built in the United States. The course encompasses 11 acres of water with three world-class whitewater features.

“Possibly my favorite part is the Dam Drop wave. That beautiful green glassy trough is ideal for surfing a board. It’s the type of place you can have long sessions and really improve on your skills,” said Chappell.
The surrounding Riverfront Park offers a handicap accessible boat launch, disc golf course, natural play area, amphitheater, storm water fountain, labyrinth, and access to the community’s more than five miles of recreational trails on 23 acres.

For more information about the Charles City Challenge WhiteWater Weekend and Charles City WhiteWater at Riverfront Park, visit or contact the Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce at 641-228-4234.

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