The object of slalom racing competition is to negotiate a rapid river course, defined by gates, without fault, in the shortest possible time.

In a kayak the competitor paddles in the sitting position with the legs forward using a double bladed paddle. In a canoe, closed canoe or open canoe, the competitor paddles in the kneeling position using a single bladed paddle.

Kayaks as well as single and double closed canoes are considered closed boats and use slightly different rules than their open boat counter parts.

Competitors are timed for each run on the course. Gate penalty seconds, if any, are added to the running time to determine a final score for each run. The competitors are divided into two groups, Session A and Session B. While Session A group races, the Session B group mans the Gate Judging Stations, Start, Finish, and Scoring. When the session is completed the groups are reversed so that everyone gets to compete. First runs are on Saturday afternoon and second runs are scheduled to start 9:00 AM Sunday morning. Radios are used between Start and Finish to time the competitors and to report running times to Scoring. Radios are also used between the Gate Judging Stations A through E and Scoring. Score Strips are posted on the Score Board near the travel trailer as soon as each competitor completes the course.

Rules common to both types of boats include:

  • Fifty penalty seconds for failing to correctly negotiate a gate.
  • Green gates are negotiated in the downstream direction
  • Red gates are negotiated in the upstream direction.
  • The better score of the two runs used to determine the final ranking.

Secondly classes are broken down by age as follows:

  • Open class is open at all, (but usually are 19 to 39).
  • Masters class is open paddlers 40 years and older.
  • Junior class is open to paddlers from 15 to 18 years.
  • Cadet class is open to 14 years and younger.

Rules unique to open boats:

  • Ten penalty seconds for touching a gate that is successfully negotiated.

Rules unique to closed boats:

  • Two penalty seconds for touching a gate that is successfully negotiated.

Classes are broken down first by boat type as follows:

  • K-1 for Kayaks
  • C-1 for single Closed Canoes
  • C-2 for tandem Closed Canoes
  • OC-1 for single Open Canoes
  • OC-2 for tandem Open Canoes

Secondly classes are broken down by age as follows:

  • Open class is open at all, (but usually are 19 to 39).
  • Masters class is open paddlers 40 years and older.
  • Junior class is open to paddlers from 15 to 18 years.
  • Cadet class for Closed Boats is open to paddlers 14 years or younger.
  • The OC-2 Youth/Sr class the Youth paddler must be 16 years or younger.
  • The OC-2 Youth/Sr class the Senior paddlers 25 years or older.

Thirdly classes are broken down by gender.

  • Men and Women!

In most cases it fairly obvious which paddlers have a great deal of experience and/or are doing well. It’s a good thing to go fast, go through all the gates in order and not touch any of the gates. Try this: count the number of paddle strokes it takes a competitor, once the boat is turned upstream for one of the red gates, to paddle up through the gate and turn to continue downstream again. Less than three or four strokes is very good!

If you have any questions, ask anyone with a numbered bib on. The press may may always contact one of the race officials at Race HQ. We hope you enjoy watching a slalom race in the near future. Have a very nice day.