Auburn's Katich wins world kayak championship

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

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

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

Katich finished with 1,200 points which topped the 1,006 by Thomas Richard representing 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 wave-shaper and gave demonstrations.

This story has been updated to correct Thomas Richard's name.

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