Fun- its enjoyable and satisfying to be able do the course, its social chatting
and making friends with people from other clubs. And its another excuse to go paddling!
Challenge - every course is different and working out how to do them and being able
to do it right is a challenge - so you are pitting your wits against the course designer
as much as other competitors.
Skills - it will definitely improve your paddling skills, but also your ability to
read white water.
Fitness - ok you don't have to be super fit to race, but racing and practicing will
make you fitter.
Look Cool - pull off tricky moves with ease
Where can I try it? We run Division 2, 3 & 4 events at the Club during the year and
provide slalom coaching sessions. Anyone who has mastered the basics of paddling
(i.e. going forward and turning) can give it a go - it not unusually for children
as young as 8 to race.
In addition to our own Division 4 (beginners) event in June there are many other
division 4 events within easy reach of the Club including at Oughtibridge (Sheffield),
Bingley, Marple (Stockport), and West Tanfield (near Ripon). These are spread through
the season which runs from March to October. These are usually 'Double' events so
there is a race on Saturday and a separate race on Sunday.
Non Paddlers can also get involved as judges and officials at events - you soon pick
up the rules and it gives you something to do while family and friends are racing.
See the events list for upcoming slaloms within easy reach of the Club
At races there are several classes:
K1M - Men’s Kayak
K1W - Women’s Kayak
C1M - Canadian Singles Men’s - kneeling up with a single blade paddle (at the moment
men and women race against each other)
C1W - Canadian Singles Women’s - as for men, but from 2009 women have a separate
C2 - Canadian Doubles - two people in the boat, both kneeling up with a single blade
paddle (these can be both men, both women or one of each).
Most people start off in a kayak, but have a go at C1 or C2 when they get more confident.
What do I need? When you are starting out you can use any boat, but once you start
to progress you will probably want to start using a slalom boat. The club has some
of the these that you can borrow. Eventually if you compete regularly you will probably
want to get your own slalom boat, lightweight paddle etc.
At division 4 juniors can race on the Club’s BCU membership, adults need to either
be a BCU member or pay a small fee for taster membership. This covers your insurance
for the race. If you get promoted to division 3 you need to get your own BCU membership.
How do I progress? At division 4 races 1 in 5 people get promoted. So if there are
five people racing in a class (i.e. K1M) the winner gets promoted, but if there are
20 people racing the first four people get promoted. If you do get promoted, you
then race in division 3, here you get your own bib number (start number) for the
season, and your position in each race is converted to points. Your end of season
ranking is based on your best three results (best four points scores) of the season
in division 3, or if you do really well and get enough points you will be promoted
to division 2. There are 5 divisions - 4, 3, 2, 1, and Premier. (note: C1W and C2
are slightly different with only 3 divisions)
And if you get good, the Club has large shinney trophies presented to the highest
ranking male and female paddler each year!
What's Involved? You have to race down the river, negotiating a series of gates
as you go. The are two types of gates - Down stream gate (green & white) which you
have to go through heading downstream and Up stream gates (red & white) which you
have to paddle through heading upstream.
If you hit a gate (with your body, paddle or boat) you get a 2 second penalty. However
you can also get a 50 second penalty by either completely missing out a gate, going
through a gate in the wrong direction, or if you don't get part of your boat and
all your head through the gate. Penalties are added to your time, so the aim is to
'fast & clean'. At a race you get two runs on the course, with your best result counting.
As a beginners you start racing in Division 4, racing on easy water with lots of
opportunity to practice before you race. As you improve and gain promotion to a higher
division, the water and the courses get harder.