What is Extreme Canoe Slalom?

extreme canoe slalom

About Extreme Canoe Slalom

  • Invented: 2015
  • Highest Governing Body: International Canoe Federation (ICF)
  • Olympic Status: Approved for 2024 Summer Olympics

Extreme canoe slalom is an extremely new and actively developing category of the sport canoe slalom. In fact, it first appeared in the International Canoe Federation’s international competitions in 2015. It is an intense race, where individual athletes compete in separate canoes to get to the bottom of the course fastest.

Extreme canoe slalom courses are faster-paced and more intense than regular canoe slalom courses. The race begins with competitors sliding off a ramp two meters in the air into fast rapids. Competitors paddle down the course through inflated gates, complete a 360-degree roll, and circle around poles before reaching the end. Races are typically around one minute long.

Extreme canoe slalom requires durable canoes. Competitors compete in plastic creek boats that are heavier and stronger than the carbon boats used in slalom races.  In fact, contact is allowed in the sport, and competitors can push each other’s boats in order to slow others down.


What is extreme canoe slalom?

Extreme canoe slalom is a race where athletes compete to canoe to the bottom of a course in the fastest possible time. In the version of the sport that will appear in the Olympics, four athletes will exit off at a ramp simultaneously, then race to the bottom of the course through various obstacles. Athletes have to steer through gates and try to knock other people’s boats out of the way in order to stay in the lead.

Will extreme canoe slalom be in the Olympics?

On April 16th, 2021, Team USA announced that extreme canoe slalom would be a new Olympic event at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Spectators will be able to watch the race live and run down the course to cheer on the Olympic athletes. After the sport debuted in 2015, it gained high television ratings, leading it to be considered and eventually accepted into the 2024 Olympics. Canoe slalom will also be in the Olympics.

What equipment do I need to safely go extreme canoe slaloming?

In order to go extreme canoe slaloming, you need a heavy, strong canoe that can withstand the rapids and intense race, including bumping other canoes. Furthermore, all competitors are required to wear a helmet and lifejacket for safety in case of injury or a fall out of the canoe. In fact, there is an official equipment list on the International Canoe Federation website that details the approved safety equipment and its manufacturers for professional athletes.