What is slalom?

Canoe slalom is one of the most spectacular watersports, demanding skill, stamina and courage. The aim is to run a rapid river course marked by “gates” fast, and without touching.

A “gate” is two poles, suspended over the water. Green and white gates are negotiated in a downstream direction, red and white gates upstream. The gates are placed so that you must make tricky cross-current moves and use the eddies and waves.

You have to pass through all the gates in number order, and in the right direction. If you touch a pole with anything – paddle, boat, buoyancy aid, helmet or any part of your body – a 2 second penalty is added to your time. If you miss a gate out, or go through in the wrong direction or upside down, the penalty is 50 seconds – a wipeout in serious competition! The aim is fast and clean. Each competitor takes two runs, and the best run of the two counts.

Slalom at Castle

We currently have adjustable slalom gates from a floating pontoon and also on the side of the reservoir, enough to create a decent training course. We have members who are currently ranked and regularly competing in slalom as well as several retired but experienced slalom members. We are running one off slalom training sessions at the reservoir for any members interested in trying slalom or improving their technique. You do not need to be an experienced paddler to come and have a go.
There are a selection of slalom boats available to use for members of the club.

If you would like any more information about slalom contact or visit canoeslalom


All text and images are copyright © Castle Canoe Club

Castle Canoe Club

Castle Canoe Club, The West Reservoir Centre, Green Lanes, London N4 2HA.


Website: Canoe London

Main image: Ian Kleinberg