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Champions & Accolades

The Home of Champions

Competitive excellence on both the national and international levels is a distinguishing characteristic of NOC. Beginning with the original 1972 Olympic slalom team, when whitewater racing first entered the Olympic scene, NOC has established itself as a leading training hub for elite whitewater athletes, including champions and pioneers. NOC’s distinctive culture, which promotes healthy, human-powered outdoor activities and a deep appreciation for nature during all hours, continues to draw world-class competitors, including Olympians and Gold Medalists. These individuals are dedicated to imparting their passion and expertise to our guests. Our commitment to ongoing enhancement results in the finest quality programs in outdoor recreation. With over four decades of expertise, every lesson taught by NOC guides and every adventure they conduct is informed by a wealth of experience.

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

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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

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

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“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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