Rules, Regulations

Rules, Regulations

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Things you need to know

  • Canoe Sprint is a race to the line on a flatwater course with international competition set over four distances: 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 meters.
  • Races are contested as individuals and teams with up to four athletes in a boat.
  • Both canoes and kayaks compete in the sprint discipline and are distinguished on the results sheet by their initial letter C and K followed by the number of competitors in the boat, the gender and then the distance. For example, K1M 200m is Kayak Men's Singles over 200 meters.   
  • In a kayak, the paddler is seated and uses a double-bladed paddle pulling the blade through the water on alternate sides to propel the boat forward.
  • In a canoe, the paddle has a single-blade and the athlete uses a striding position with one knee on the deck and the other foot forward allowing room to pull the paddle down their preferred side of the canoe.
  • In international competition races are split into nine lanes that are allocated randomly in the initial heats; subsequently lane positions are set by qualification time: five being the fastest to qualify, then six, four, three, two, seven, eight, one and nine.
  • The Olympic Games is an exception, with races comprising of eight athletes with the fastest two occupying lanes four and five after the initial preliminary shakeout.