SLALOM In this sport we go outside of Santiago, to live an unforgettable moment.

In canoe slalom, competitors travel, on a canoe or kayak, through a whitewater channel, while passing some forced passage gates, which are upstream or downstream, in the fastest time possible. Meanwhile, spectators will watch a dynamic race against the clock, involving the mastery of various skills, which does not allow for error in this passionate competition.

In the picture there is an aerial shot of a blue canoe.

History of this sport

Since the beginning of mankind, canoes have been an important tool for human life. In the middle of the 19th century they were used for the first time for the sport, in a sprint race in a calm water channel of Great Britain. The first canoe slalom competition was in 1993 in Switzerland, where it emerged as an alternative to Ski slalom.

Thus, the European country hosted the first world championship in 1949. These were organized every two years, but since 2002 they have been held annually with the exception of the year in which the Summer Olympic Games are held.

Canoe Slalom made its Olympic debut at the 1972 Munich Games as an exhibition sport. 20 years later they would see each other officially in Barcelona 1992, and since that date it is a fixed discipline in the Olympic program.

Unlike the Olympics, canoe slalom came years before to the Pan American Games, specifically since Indianapolis 1987.

Among the countries that stand out in this sport are the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

How do you compete?

In this sport, the competition route is about 250 meters long and has 18 to 254 gates as a maximum, six or eight of them being lifts (ascent).

The downstream gates are green, while the lift gates are red. Competitors must pass between them without touching them. If the boat, the paddle or the athlete's body touches the doorpost, it will be penalized with two additional seconds to the athlete's time. If the athlete misses a door, 50 seconds will be added. The total time of the athlete's performance will be composed of the time in which the route is completed plus the times for sanctions.

Some courses have fast currents and facing them requires great energy, while others may have slower currents that involve more skill and maneuvers for the athlete. For this reason, athletes can compete in kayak or canoe.

In the kayak, the competitor is sitting, using a two-bladed paddle, which alternately paddles from side to side. In canoe, the athlete uses a single blade paddle, and sits on his bent knees, while stroking on his left or right side.


In canoe slalom there are levels to categorize the difficulty of navigating in the waters, do you know which ones and how many there are?

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Information for the community

Chile is characterized by its aquatic landscapes. Our country is limited by the Pacific Ocean, and has great lakes and rivers, the last known worldwide for being one of the best for adventure sports. If you want to join canoe slalom we recommend you visit the page of the Chilean Canoeing Federation, where you will find all the affiliated clubs and their contacts.

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