Sheffield City Kayak Club members are active participants in the exciting discipline that is Kayak Slalom. The art of controlling your kayak through a series of gates hanging above the water is easily achievable even at a beginners level but hard to master, and is a pleasure to watch as a spectator too.

This page should not only give the novice some idea of what Slalom is all about but also be a resource for the people involved in the sport. It will be updated over the coming months so check back for regular updates.

What is Kayak Slalom?

A very basic description of slalom is that the paddler has to negotiate a series of gates, a red gate has to be passed upstream and a green has to be passed downstream, if a gate is touched by anything (paddle, boat, body, helmet etc) then a 2 second penalty is added to your time. If a gate is missed out or taken in the wrong direction or if you are upside down at the time then a 50 second penalty is added. The penalties are then added to the time taken and the person with the fastest time wins. The slalom ethos is quick and clean.

For those who would like Bronze medalist Helen Reeves to explain Slalom then click here

Can anyone have a go?

Of Course. Beginners start in Division 4 where the water conditions are very mild so you can concentrate on building your technique and skills and get to grips with the rules of slalom, however as you pass through towards the upper divisions then water conditions get much harder to test the paddlers ability.

Do I need special equipment?

No. You don't need special boats or equipment to start competing in Slalom, in fact you can paddle your everyday river or whitewater boat if you wish, but some of the more serious competitors invest in full carbon fibre purpose built Slalom craft.

Are there different types of slalom?

Slalom Events are generally broken down into different sections - Mens K1, Womens K1, C1 & C2.

K1 is a single seater kayak where the paddler is in a seated position and uses a paddle with a blade at both ends, there is a seperate mens & womens competition.
C1 is a single person craft where the paddler kneels and uses a single bladed paddle.
C2 is where 2 paddlers kneel in their chosen boat and both paddlers use single bladed paddles.

How can I compete against paddlers with more experience?

Each slalom category is broken down into Divisions. A beginner would start in Division 4 so would be competing against paddlers of similar ability, when your skills progress you will move up the divisions. It all sounds a little complicated at first but don't worry you'll soon get the hang of it.

How do I start competing in Kayak Slalom?

If you wish to enquire further about Slalom then our club representatives will be more than happy to help you on your way, contact Kevin for further information.

Check out the slalom technique library here

See our events page for dates where our paddlers are either visiting or competing.