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Wildwater Canoeing

Wildwater Canoeing (also called whitewater racing or downriver racing) is a kayaking and canoeing sport in which kayaks or canoes are used to negotiate a natural stretch of river including rapids as fast as possible. There is also the related sport of Extreme Racing which involves paddling a sturdier kayak down a section of higher-class whitewater.

Wildwater canoeing is different from whitewater slalom racing conducted on shorter man-made courses in which competitors also have to negotiate through gates, and canoe freestyle or playboating in which the athletes perform various moves in a fixed place in the rapids called the playspot.

Wildwater canoeing races are typically held on Class II - IV whitewater. Competitors usually compete in both sprint (over 500-750m) and classic races (over 6–10 km).

There are competitions for males and females, in single kayaks and canoes, as well as tandem canoes.

Another whitewater canoeing event is boater-cross (boaterX), with kayakers racing head-to-head (like in canoe extreme slalom) along natural rapids usually with no gates to negotiate.

wildwater kayaking wildwater kayaking

There are specific boats designed for wildwater canoing or extreme racing. The boats have a rounded hull profile, making them fast but relatively unstable and hard to turn.

The modern wildwater boats are constructed from kevlar, carbon fiber, and glass-reinforced plastic which are lighter and stronger than previous boat designs.

Competitors are required to wear a helmet, a flotation device, wet shoes and have flotation bags for their boats.

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