SportsEvents Magazine

AUG 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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August 2017 46 encouraging to see an increase in surfing and other water sports opportunities for ladies and girls. "With surfing as an Olympic sport starting in 2020, one day we hope to see our Wahine Classic girls on the podium wearing gold, silver or bronze," Baggett said. Wrightsville Beach is nationally rec- ognized as "North Carolina's most nat- urally gifted watersport hub," said Leah Knepper, representative for the Wilming- ton Convention & Visitors Bureau. Other water events set in the Wrights- ville Beach/Wilmington area this fall include the O'neill/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest, also this month; the Carolina Beach Dragon Boat Regatta and Festi- val, and Pier-2-Pier Swim Wrightsville Beach, both in September; the Carolina Beach Inshore Challenge (fishing tour- nament), Pleasure Island Surf Fishing Challenge and Fat Cross Beach Bash triathlon, all in October; and the Surf to Sound SUP Challenge in November. It's hard to peg a number of partici- pants in all the water sports events held in Wrightsville Beach and the Wilming- ton area, Knepper said. "Many of the water-sports events held in the area are well-established and do not go through the CVB, so we don't have numbers on them," she said. But sports provide the fastest-grow- ing tourism market for the Wilmington CVB, Knepper said. "Thanks to good weather year-round and a setting that combines the city's historic charm, riverfront shops, caf├ęs and entertainment with three nearby is- land beaches, Wilmington has become a sought-after destination for sports events planners," she said. "There's something for every athlete and outdoor enthusiast here and plenty of vacation opportunities for competitors and spectators alike." In Central Florida, water sports are confined to lakes. Fortunately, the area has a lot of those, one of which hosted the USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint Nationals in Clermont, Fla. It is the first year for Florida to host the event and the Central Florida Sports Commission worked in partnership with the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club, Lake County, the city of Clermont and others to make it a first-class event. They installed a course specifically for the championships, which is expected to bring a $450,000 economic impact to Central Florida, with its 500 athletes and 1,000 visitors, said Jason Siegel, CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. "This is a good-size undertaking for us," Siegel said. "The folks in Lake County are very excited and have done everything they could to make this a success." Siegel said Central Florida is fortu- nate to have the five things sports events organizers always look for: t SPORT Report Like us on Facebook l State-of-the-art Aquatic Center l 11 synthetic, 2 grass tournament style lit fields l Easily accessible from I-95 l 4500 hotel rooms l Close to Washington, D.C. yet more affordable l Family-friendly historic attractions l One day's drive for 60% of U.S. population l Three international airports within metro region Washington's backyard. TourStaffordVa .com 540.658.458 0

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