Abel Hastings, 36, of Durham, N.C., will represent the United States at this year’s World Canoe/Kayak Championship. The race is being held in Crestuma, Portugal on September 19. The race will be 18.7 miles long, and more than 250 elite-level paddlers from all over the world will compete. Hastings will race in the single-man kayak division.

Hastings finishing time and place at the 2009 U.S.A Canoe/Kayak Marathon Team Trials this past weekend in Gainesville , Georgia —a 1996 Olympics venue—earned him one of two spots on the U.S. team. “I feel honored to represent the U.S. in Portugal and thankful for the support of the paddling community and access to ideal places to paddle here in the Triangle area,” said Hastings.

Hastings trains year-round at Lake Crabtree County Park in Wake County and Jordan Lake in Durham County . He can be seen paddling in the rain, sleet and snow. This year alone, he estimates that he has logged 650 hours in the boat and has paddled more than 4,500 miles.

Hastings has been racing kayaks for 21 years. He started out racing whitewater slalom kayaks and gravitated toward long-distance, marathon kayak racing in 1999. Since then, he has represented the U.S. five times in international competition as a member of the U.S. Marathon Canoe/Kayak Team. In 2007, he finished 25th at the World Championships in Gyor, Hungary. He has raced in 13 countries and competed in two Olympic Trials for whitewater slalom.