Pan American Games
Horseshoe Lake Road, Minden Hills, ON
Canoe/Kayak – Slalom
Minden Wild Water Preserve (MWW)
Bethel Road, Minden Hills, ON
Canoe/kayak – slalom is as much about athletes competing
against nature as it is about athletes competing against each
other. Navigating the spectacular Minden Wild Water Preserve,
both men and women will race downstream — and occasionally
upstream — against rapids, rocks, drops and eddies as they try
to beat the clock and their competitors.
At a venue widely regarded as one of the best whitewater
runs anywhere in the world, kayakers (piloting closed-cockpit
boats using double-bladed paddles) and canoeists (in open
boats with single-bladed paddles) negotiate gates in a race
against time, the competition, clean passes through the gates
and, of course, the churning water. This will be the debut of
canoe/kayak – slalom at the Pan Am Games, including the
C-2 event for teams of two paddlers.
For further information, see the detailed schedule beginning on page 68.
In this exciting, adrenaline-fuelled sport, athletes negotiate their way down a churning whitewater course of rapids, rocks, drops and eddies while negotiating a series of gates, in the fastest time possible. Canoe – slalom athletes use a single-bladed paddle and sit in an open boat. Kayak – slalom athletes use a double-bladed paddle and are in a seated position within a closed cockpit boat.
Canoe – slalom features both men’s and women’s canoe single events and a men’s canoe double event, while kayak – slalom features both men’s and women’s single events.
TORONTO 2015 marks the debut of canoe – slalom at a Pan American Games.
While the canoe itself has a long history dating back to an era when it was made of wood and hollowed out trees and used as a means for transportation, hunting and fishing, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the first official races were held.
Kayaking as a sport got its start in 1905 with the creation of the canvas kayak.
The first Canoe Slalom World Championships under the patronage of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) were organized in 1949 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The original canoe slalom boats consisted of folding and rigid canvas canoes. They were replaced with fibreglass-reinforced plastic boats up until 1972. After this time the slalom rules were simplified and there were dramatic changes in boat construction. In 1992, canoe slalom was introduced at the Olympic Games and there were more changes in the slalom rules such as gate penalty and the two-run system.
At the 2010 World Championships, a women’s canoe class was introduced to the sport and demonstrated the progression towards gender equity. Women now compete in two events at the Olympic and world championship level — the single kayak and single canoe.
Today’s competition kayak/canoe is sleek, nimble and made from a variety of ultra-light materials such as a carbon-Kevlar compound.
How it Works
Athletes negotiate their way down a whitewater course using a single-bladed paddle, racing through a series of 25 red and green painted poles (gates). The coloured poles specify the direction in which the paddler must pass through the gate. If they touch the gate, they receive a two-second time penalty; if they miss the gate altogether, they receive a 50-second time penalty. The combined score of time and penalties determines the finishing order.
Canoe slalom features both men’s and women’s canoe single events and a men’s canoe double event.
In this single’s event, kayakers use a double-bladed paddle and are in a seated position within the closed cockpit of the boat. The kayaker navigates 25 gates on a whitewater course in the fastest time possible. Time penalties are given for gates that are touched (two seconds) and missed (50 seconds). The combined score of time and penalties determines the finishing order.
Kayak slalom features both men’s and women’s kayak single events.
Minden Wild Water Preserve
The Minden Wild Water Preserve, an engineered course on the Gull River dating back to 1972, is considered one of the best whitewater runs in the world.
The canoe/kayak – slalom competition at Minden Wild Water Preserve will be a memorable experience for athletes and spectators alike. These Games signify the first time in multi-sport Games history that the canoe/kayak – slalom competition playing field will be on a natural whitewater course.
The property is owned by the Township of Minden Hills and Whitewater Ontario, which operates the Minden Wild Water Preserve. Located about 2.5 hours northeast of Toronto, the scenic course has hosted international races and the team trials for the Canadian Team.
For the Games, the existing slalom course will be upgraded with the installation of a new semi-permanent canoe/kayak gate system, along with other course improvements. Additionally, the existing clubhouse, the Roger Parsons Centre, will be renovated to meet the future needs of the community as a legacy of the Games.