Phenix City White Water post to become training academy

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - The Phenix City side of the White Water Express is going to open primarily as a training academy for all of the water activities offered along the Chattahoochee River. It's a plan White Water Express says will give each location its own identity.

"If anybody's been to our Columbus location, they know that it's really geared towards a certain outdoor lifestyle," said Katie Bishop, Marketing Director for the Chattahoochee branch of White Water Express. "It's a lifestyle store. The other store, we are planning on turning it into a training academy."

These are the goals for the locations of the White Water Express here in the Chattahoochee Valley. This would use the already opened Columbus side primarily for tours and the Phenix City post to train water enthusiasts on the sports.

Bishop tells us they will teach "kayak lessons, fishing lessons, we hope to start some fly fishing going on. We're also going to start river surfing, which I'm sure some people have seen in the news."

Kelli Roberts, Director of Tourism for the Phenix City-Russell County Convention and Visitors Bureau quizzes "Who ever thought that people in the Chattahooche would be able to go paddleboarding?"

Roberts says the training academy will go hand-in-hand with the atmosphere they aim to create for visitors.

"Hoping with it being a family-friendly thing, like I said, people being able to bring their family and learn together that you'll have people come in and maybe do two days of paddle boarding training. So, I hope that will be a really positive impact," Roberts tells News Leader 9.

And with the training academy so close to the new Mecca of Phenix City, Roberts says it puts the store conveniently close to new Marriott hotel.

"There's tons of other stuff to do in the area, but I'm sure that paddleboarding training is a little tiring. So, we love that people can stay just so close to the river and the outpost," Roberts adds.

Katie Bishop with White Water Express tells us the current staff will be split between the two locations and additional positions may be added. Though Riverfest is the official kick off for the rafting season on the Columbus side, the Phenix City location is being stocked with inventory and is expected to open this weekend.

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