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S-Turn Giant Slalom
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S-Turn Giant Slalom

When: Saturday, May 19, 2018
Where: Great Falls Park
9200 Old Dominion Drive
McLean, Virginia 
United States
Contact: Chuck Thornton

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We’re bringing back the S-Turn Giant Slalom!

As early as 1969, the icons of Potomac River slalom hosted races from Horseshoe and ODeck, through S-Turn, to Rocky Island. Names such as Ron Lugbill, Bill Kirby, Davey Hearn, Bill Hearn, Joe Jacobi, Phil Coleman, Claudia Kerckhoff-Van Wijk, Jim Stuart, Eric Jackson, and Jamie McEwan would set up gnarly courses with gates above boils and whirlpools, and race down this natural, free-flowing river. As Jim Stuart recently posted on Facebook, “Slalom in the USA needs this level of passion!”

So let’s do it! On Saturday, May 19, 2018, we plan to bring the S-Turn Giant Slalom back to life. The course will be designed to welcome intermediate paddlers, as well as challenge elite slalom racers. We anticipate Olympic and World Cup athletes in featherweight composite boats competing alongside intermediate paddlers in plastic creek boats and on SUP boards. We encourage everyone who has the skills to navigate S-Turn and Mather Gorge to participate!

What is the S-Turn Giant Slalom?

A giant slalom race from the Fisherman’s Eddy area, with both down and up gates, through the ODeck, Portage, and S-Turn rapids, finishing at Rocky Island. Racers will be penalized for touching or missing a gate.

Start practicing your big-water ferries and pivot turns!

S-Turn Giant Slalom Registration is Live!
Are you stoked?!

The course is mapped out, the weather is fantastic, the river is flowing at a fun level.


Fee: $15

Date: Saturday, May 19

7:00AM Registration Desk Opens & Sign Waivers
8:00AM Pre-Race Briefing
10:00AM Race Start
2:00PM Picnic & Awards Ceremony

Great Falls National Park
Address:9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102


Registration closes at NOON on FRIDAY, MAY 18. We are unable to accept race-day registrations in the national park.

We encourage all participants to join the American Canoe Association (ACA), our partner and our insurance provider for this event. Sign uphere, and note your ACA member number when registering.

All racers, staff, and volunteers will be required to sign an ACA waiver on-site at the event. Parents will be required to sign for minors.
Potomac Potluck & S-Turn Awards Ceremony
Picnic with us after the races

Date: Saturday, May 19
Time: 2:00pm (or immediately following conclusion of the S-Turn Giant Slalom races)
Location: Great Falls National Park,9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102

Meet us in the large, grassy area near Overlook 3 for a casual picnic. Share food, drink, and fellowship with your family and friends, and then we will hold theS-Turn Giant Slalom awards ceremonyonce the officials have calculated the final results.

Note: please bring your own food and drink; we will not be officially coordinating a potluck list. Thank you.
S-Turn Volunteers Needed
If you're not racing, come on out and help us run the event!

Thank you for stepping up to help create and manage this incredible event, which celebrates the Potomac River and the community of paddlers who call it home.It takes the efforts and unique skills of so many!
We will do our best to match you with the right opportunity to help based on the preferences you indicate, and encourage you to make a commitment now as some volunteer positions fill quickly.

Please registerHERE
Attainment Race on May 20
All S-Turn slalom racers are invited to come out the following day and paddle up-river!

No pre-registration required


Date: Sunday, May 20
Time: 10:00am
Location: Anglers Beach
across from Old Anglers Inn, 10801 MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854
(38.9818873, -77.2262411)

We will gather in the lower parking lot to sign waivers and hand out race bibs.

Start Line: Anglers Beach
Finish Line: A TBD Location In Mather Gorge, Level-Dependent (e.g., Wet Bottom; Rocky Island; S-Turn)
Family & Introduction to PaddlingDay
A Potomac River Celebration Featured Event

Mark your calendars & tell your friends!

Sunday, May 20

Riley’s Lock
13025 Riley’s Lock Rd
Poolesville, MD 20837

No experience necessary.
We supply the equipment, you supply the energy.
Plan to get wet and have a blast!




In partnership with
Canoe Cruisers Association
Team River Runner DC
New Foundation Partner!

Campaign Pay It Forward will provide medical support during the S-Turn Giant Slalom and Great Falls Race.

Campaign Pay It Forward provides medical certification instruction through hands-on learning scenarios. Using top-of-the-line demonstration equipment, our instruction both provides gear to students as well as employs real-world application exercises in order to ensure that our students get the most out of their training—including being prepared for real-life situations. Campaign Pay It Forward believes that regardless of an individual’s financial situation, everyone should be equipped with the knowledge of how to save a life.

Check out theirwebsiteand Facebookpage
2018 Calendar of Events
Potomac River Celebration

May 19, Saturday, 10:00am :S-Turn Giant Slalom Race
May 19, Saturday, 2:00pm :Potomac Potluck
May 20, Sunday, 10:00am :Attainment Race
May 20, Sunday, 2:00pm :Family Day & Introduction to Paddling,partnering withCalleva, theCanoe Cruisers Association, &Team River Runner DC
Great Falls Race & Potomac River Festival

August 25, Saturday, 10:00am :Great Falls Race
August 25, Saturday, 2:00pm :Potomac Festival
August 26, Sunday, 10:00am :Little Falls Race
August 26, Sunday : [TBA]SUP Event
Paddle-the-Potomac Race Series

February 24, Saturday, 10:00am :Attainment Race
May 27, Sunday, 10:00am :Attainment Race
July 21, Saturday, 10:00am :Little Falls Race
August 26, Sunday, 10:00am :Little Falls Race
Remember to join our Facebook events.
All events are listed
Join the Team!

If you would like to be a part of the Great Falls Foundation, to work with us on event planning, fundraising, media relations, and other new initiatives, pleasesend us an email.


If you would like to volunteer to support one of our events this season, pleasesend us an email.
The Great Falls Foundation is a 501c3, non-profit charitable organization dedicated to promoting an active and outdoor lifestyle by collaborating with land and water resource managers, producing adventure sporting events and competitions, and fostering the safe recreational use of our natural resources.

more Event Calendar

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Paracanoeing World Conference

10/6/2018 » 10/7/2018
2018 Canoe Slalom Nationals

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling; stewardship support to help protect paddling environments; and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration and recreation.

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