Kayaker back on top

Auburn teen wins Junior Men's Division of ICF Freestyle Kayaking World Championships

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 9, 2013 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI/rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.comHunter Katich rides the wave shaper on the whitewater course below the Eagle & Phenix Dam on Jan. 31. The teen is a top junior freestyle whitewater kayaker in international competition.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI

Hunter Katich, of Auburn, Ala., is a world kayaking champion again.

Katich, 17, won the Junior Men's Division at the ICF Freestyle Kayaking World Championships in North Carolina on Sunday.

Katich won the same 18-and-under title in 2012.

The competition took place at Natahala Gorge near Bryson City.

"This is really awesome," Katich said. "It feels amazing."

He said he was proud to represent the United States.

Katich led early in the competition but was fourth going into the final day.

"The key to winning was that I calmed myself down," he said.

Katich said he had gotten too excited and was not finishing his tricks.

He finished with 1,200 points, which topped the 1,006 points by Thomas Richard, who represented France.

Katich said he was pleased with the point total.

"That 1,200 would have been good enough to finish fourth in the men's division," Katich said.

He said he went into the competition with a clear mind and tried not to think of his previous success in the event.

Whitewater Columbus GA sponsored Katich. He has its logo on his boat.

Richard Bishop, president of Uptown Columbus Inc., said earlier this week that Katich has been training on the Chattahoochee River for several years, even before the dams were removed. He usually kayaks with his father.

When Uptown was preparing the whitewater course, Katich helped with the waveshaper and gave demonstrations.

Related stories:

17-year-old leads kayaking world championships, sponsored by Whitewater Columbus

Gallery: Whitewater course opens to the public

Update: USA Today article names local whitewater best man-made course in world

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