Freestyle

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['Canoe Freestyle' (International Canoe Federation terminology) refers to both canoe, kayak and squirt boat freestyle].

Paddle tricksters perform acrobatics, aerials, spins, flips, blunts and turns. Classes include single kayak (K1), single canoe (C1), single open canoe (OC-1; a modified Canadian canoe) and 'squirt boats' are longer than other freestyle boat-types, they sit low below the waterline giving the impression that they are sinkable.

Boat designs have been constantly evolving becoming lighter and shorter with increased manoeuvrability; the sport's popularity grew rapidly as the technology improved in the 90's.

'Playboating' or 'rodeo', as freestyle is also known, is one of the fastest growing recreational canoe disciplines in terms of it popularity. It takes place on static 'holes', river waves or eddie lines. There are currently about 30 moves one can do, more and more are always being invented.

Ramp and 'Big Air' competitions onto rivers, canals and lakes would also fall under the freestyle remit. See also extreme freestyle - paddlers attempt tricks over waterfall lips or in (tight) grade 5 rapids.

Freestyle is not an Olympic sport but it featured as a highly-successful demonstration event in front of 12,000 people at the London 2012 Games at Lee Valley.

Paddlers can compete in national championships, open international events, river and mountain games and, every odd 2 years, at  the ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships. The first official ICF World Championship was held in 2007 on the Ottawa River in Canada, independent World Championships dated back to 2001.

The World Cup Series takes place every even year usually comprising of 3 legs at different locations.

Tricks performed in an alloted time slot are judged in 3 categories: entry moves, basic moves and bonuses for that little something extra.

 

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