Wildwater canoeing is a timed event consisting of two forms of racing, classic and sprint. Classic whitewater, the sport’s original discipline, consists of longer races ranging from three to six miles (10 to 60 minutes). Whitewater sprint consists of shorter races contested on 200-to-600-meter courses. Some athletes specialize in one of the two disciplines, but many compete in both.
There are two types of boats used in whitewater canoeing: canoes and kayaks. Men and women compete in canoe singles (C-1) and doubles (C-2), and kayak singles (K-1) events. Teams are made up of three competitors in the same class (e.g., C1, C2, and K1). Wildwater canoes and kayaks are long and narrow with a rounded hull, which makes them fast but also unstable and hard to turn. France, Germany, and the Czech Republic have dominated the sport in the most recent world championships.