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Champions & Accolades

The Home of Champions

Competitive excellence on the national and international stage is a hallmark of NOC. Starting with the original 1972 Olympic slalom team (when whitewater was introduced into the Olympics for the first time), NOC has been, and continues to be, one of the nation’s premier training sites for elite whitewater athletes, champions and explorers. NOC’s unique culture, promoting healthy, human-powered outdoor recreation and a love of the outdoors both on and off the clock, continues to attract world-class athletes, Olympians and Gold Medalists, and individuals committed to sharing their passion and skills with our guests. Our focus on continual improvement translates to the highest-caliber programs in outdoor recreation. Over four decades of experience goes into every lesson NOC guides teach and every adventure they lead.

Key Accomplishments


  • 23 Olympians representing NOC in every Olympics since 1972
  • 2 Olympic Gold Medalists: Joe Jacobi and Scott Strasbaugh in 1992
  • 14 World Championships
  • 31 World Medalists
  • 103 National Champions
  • International Whitewater Hall-of-Famer, Payson Kennedy
  • 50+ Master Guides
  • Site of the 2013 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships


2024 Best Raft Guide Company
— Best of the Blue Ridge

Traveler’s Choice, 2022 & 2023
— Tripadvisor
NOC Traveler’s Choice

USA Today's to 10

Top 10 Best Adventure Travel Company, 2021, 2022, & 2023
— USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards
10Best Reader’s Choice Awards

Men's Journal logo
“Old Hills, New Thrills. Western North Carolina’s Nantahala runs 350 days a year.”
— Men’s Journal
5 American Road Trips That Will Restore Your Sense of Wonder

Chicago tribune logo
“The place to go if you’d like to become a professional rafting guide.”
— Chicago Tribune
Spice up Spring Break with a Learning Vacation

Outside Magazine logo
Best of Travel Outside, 2015
— Outside Magazine
The 30 Most Incredible Trips to Take in 2015

Outdoor Industry Association logo
Winner of the 2012 Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Inspiration Award.
2012 OIA Inspiration Awards

National Geographic adventure logo
“One of the Best Outfitters on Earth.”
— National Geographic Adventure

Good morning america abc logo
“#1 Vacation with a Splash!”
— Good Morning America
Top 10 Trips With a Splash

Dating advice logo
“Enjoy a Premier Adventure Resort in North Carolina”
— DatingAdvice.com
NOC – Where Couples Enjoy a Premier Experience

The New York Times logo
“Nation’s Premier Paddling School.”
— New York Times
Tucking Forward, Chilling Out and Waiting for ‘the Hands of God’

The Wall Street journal logo
“One of the country’s top paddling schools.”
— The Wall Street Journal
Kayaking Goes Over the Edge

Outside Magazine logo
“Best Place to Learn.”
— Outside Magazine
Zero to Hero

National geographic logo
“The heart and soul of the South’s whitewater scene.”
— National Geographic
Learn Paddling at Nantahala Outdoor Center, North Carolina
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