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Slalom: Canoe & Kayak
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What is Slalom?


The Olympic Canoe Slalom (CSL) discipline is a timed event where athletes navigate a minimum of 150m and a maximum of 400m long whitewater course through rapids and a combination of 18 to 25 downstream (green) and upstream (red) gates, of which six (6) or eight (8) must be upstream gates. The athlete receives a 2-second penalty for a touched gate and a 50-seconds penalty for missed gate or incorrect navigation of the gate.


Canoe slalom is contested by two types of boats, a canoe (C) and a kayak (K). Athlete knees in a canoe and propels the boats with the single-blade paddle. In a kayak, an athlete uses the double-bladed paddle in a seated position. At an international level, male (M) and female (W) athletes currently compete in four individual events: Single Kayak (MK1 & WK1), and Single Canoe (MC1 & WC1). A couple of years ago, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) replaced the men's C2 (MC2) event by introducing Mixed Double Canoe (XC2) event to ensure slalom met the IOC's gender equity criteria.


Canoe slalom originated in Switzerland in 1933 as a summer alternative to slalom skiing. It debuted as an Olympics sport during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, and it appears continuously in the Olympic program since the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain. Earlier Canoe Slalom was also known as the "Whitewater Slalom."


In the previous Olympics, the USA Canoe Slalom team has had 1 Gold Medal (MC2), 2 Silver Medals (WK1), and 2 Bronze Medals (MC1 & WK1).


Connect & News: (This page)








  • Slalom Officials Policy - Renewal of Credentials for IJCSLs (PDF)




Slalom Paddling Clubs:

  • Nantahala Racing Club: Bryson City, NC (NRC)
  • Mach 1 Slalom Team: State College, PA (Mach1)
  • Potomac Whitewater Racing Center: Potomac, MD (PWRC)
  • Durango Whitewater: Durango, CO. (DW)
  • Team Colorado: Colorado Front Range. (TC)


In memory of First Coach of the U.S. Whitewater Team: Robert Jay Evans, July 17, 1925 - April 20, 2018 (PDF)


Reporting Abuse or Misconduct:

To report forms of misconduct or abuse, such as sexual, emotional or physical misconduct, bullying, hazing or harassment, please report via: U.S. Center for SafeSport


Donations to Support Slalom Athletes and Slalom Program:


ACA Governance:


National Office Staff: 

  • Director of High Performance & Competition: vacant
    • Slalom High Performance Manager: vacant
      • Slalom National Team Coach: Rafal Smolen (contact /  Bio)


more Event Calendar

The 40th Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race

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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