WW Open Canoe Slalom - ACA

Recognized Disciplines

WW Open Canoe Slalom

Whitewater open canoes used for slalom racing are derived from traditional open Canadian or Native American canoe designs, which feature bow and stern ends which are pointed and sit higher than the middle of the hull. Whitewater open canoes (WWOC) are also categorized by their symmetrical side-to-side profile, and they are propelled with single bladed paddles by a paddler that kneels for maximum stability and control. A slalom course is set for the competition using vertical poles for gates and the paddler attempts to negotiate the course in numerical order without touching any poles or missing any gates in the fastest time possible. There are time penalties for touching or missing gates. The course is usually 200 to 300 yards in length. Slalom racing encourages paddlers to learn to control their boat on tight and technical rivers.

There are two categories of canoes used in WWOC Slalom competitions: Recreational and Racing. The recreational classes are intended to include canoes sold for general recreational use. In general, ABS, polyethylene, aluminum, and wood/canvas canoes will qualify for inclusion in this category. Fiberglass/Kevlar/composite and wood-strip canoes will generally be included in the racing classes but the final determining factor is a weight per length ratio. Lighter boats can only be entered in Racing class. A recreational weight boat can be entered in either class but will be at a disadvantage against lighter race boats. Limited spray decks are allowed and floatation is required for both the boat and paddler.

Slalom is contested on class II-III whitewater with occasional class IV features and moves. See the WWOC Slalom competition rules for complete details and boat specifications.

2023 North American Whitewater Open Canoe Slalom Championships

Location: Whitewater Park, in downtown Wausau, WI

Date: June 23-25 (practice water open on June 20-22)

Registration and More Information


Open boat Nationals will return to Wausau Whitewater Park for 2023.

Racers and Spectators have long praised the park and course in Wausau as one of the best venues for OC Nationals, with a course that elite racers will find challenging while entry level racers will find accessible. Viewing and access points abound along the entire length of the course, for paddlers and spectators, and an easy, paved walking path parallels the course within yards, from top to bottom.

Camping is available at the venue, with an easy carry to the course, along with additional sites and a wide variety of lodging choices available within minutes of the park. Wausau is a medium sized city with many choices for dining, entertainment, and shopping as well. The course utilizes a diversion channel on the Wisconsin River and is dam controlled, so water levels are consistently controlled within a few CFS. The water, in June, is typically warm enough for paddling with shorts and a splash top, though paddlers should bring some warmer gear to account for the possibility of cool weather.

We are looking forward to a fun, challenging, sociable and memorable event, and we hope you will come and join us.

Whitewater Open Canoe Slalom Committee

The purpose of the Whitewater Open Canoe Slalom Committee is to encourage, sanction, and sponsor amateur competition in whitewater open canoe at local, regional, national, and international levels. The WWOC Slalom Committee is governed by the Operating Procedures set forth by the Competition Council of the ACA.

The WWOC Slalom Committee promotes and regulates Whitewater Open Canoe Slalom Racing by producing quality competitions to increase skills and awareness of both paddlers and spectators, encourages new competitors and new canoeists in general, and provides safe and fair racing conditions and quality recreational experiences for all involved.

The annual ACA Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships are sanctioned by the WWOC Slalom Committee of the American Canoe Association.

Visit the WWOC Slalom website for details of the WWOC Slalom rules for competition, age classes for solo and tandem competitors, results of past competitions, and announcements of upcoming events.