The Canoe Slalom events always attract a large crowd from across the country and provide a fantastic atmosphere to watch the highly competitive action unfold. Come along and see for yourself the best of the best in UK watersports unleash their inner warrior and advance around the course at amazing speeds.
Canoe slalom is one of the most spectacular watersports, demanding skill, stamina and courage. The aim is to run a rapid river course marked by “gates” fast, and without touching.
A “gate” is two poles, suspended over the water. Green and white gates are negotiated in a downstream direction, red and white gates upstream. The gates are placed so that you must make tricky cross-current moves and use the eddies and waves.
You have to pass through all the gates in number order, and in the right direction. If you touch a pole with anything – paddle, boat, buoyancy aid, helmet or any part of your body – a 2 second penalty is added to your time. If you miss a gate out, or go through in the wrong direction or upside down, the penalty is 50 seconds – a wipeout in serious competition! The aim is fast and clean. Each competitor takes two runs, and the best run of the two counts.
This is a sport in which Britain excels. Richard Fox was 5 times K1M World Champion. Lynn Simpson was K1W World Champion in 1995. Paul Ratcliffe held the K1M World Cup and won the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Campbell Walsh won the K1M silver medal and Helen Reeves the K1W bronze at Athens in 2004. David Florence won the C1M silver medal in Beijing in 2008. At London 2012, Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott took the C2 gold medal, only a fraction of a second ahead of David Florence and Richard Hounslow, who won silver. David Florence was C1M World Champion in 2013 and 2015. Florence and Hounslow won the C2 silver medal again at Rio in 2016, and Joe Clarke is the reigning Olympic Champion in K1M.