Slalom is all about adrenalin and river skills – not about muscle power alone. It is an Olympic discipline that is competed over a ±300m long river section. Competitors take turns to race against the clock and the combined time for two runs (in seconds) is taken as the final points. Paddlers need to negotiate about 20 gates hung over the river which they need to pass through in a specified sequence and direction – either upstream or downstream. 2 penalty points are added if the paddler touches a gate and 50 penalty points are added if the paddler misses a gate. The paddler with the least points is the winner.
The different classes in which paddlers compete in South Africa are:
- K1M (male paddler sitting with double blade paddle)
- K1W (female paddler sitting with double blade paddle)
- C1M (male paddler kneeling with one-bladed paddle)
- C2M (2 male paddlers kneeling with one-bladed paddle)
- Open (plastics or any canoe/kayak you want – unofficial category)