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.

2024 North American Whitewater Open Canoe Slalom Championships

Location: Errol, NH

Date: July 9-14

Registration: ACA Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships — New England Slalom Series

2024 Open Canoe Slalom National Championships will be held from July 9 through July 14, 2024 at Northern Waters Outfitters which is beside the Androscoggin River. The put-inn and takeout are located  On this land and there are campsites and cabins available.  Just go to Northern Waters Outfitters on line to reserve here.   Of course, competitors can also camp for free on the field above Northern Waters.

Practice on the course will be held Tuesday through Thursday with the official races on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 12—14.

The Androscoggin River is a beautiful river in Maine and northern New Hampshire.  We will be using the section below the Errol Dam in the town of Errol, NH.

The slalom course will be on a natural section of river that includes class II/III rapids with numerous pools and eddies. Between twenty and twenty-five slalom gates will be hung for the week of the race.

The course will be hung at least three days prior to the race and will be available for practice from Tuesday through Thursday prior to the race starting on Friday. The anticipated flow will be around 2000 cfs.

The downriver portion of the combined event will be on held on Sunday afternoon (last event of the day).  It will start at the public put in upriver from the slalom course, and then go through the rapids and then into a flat section around an island clockwise and back upstream to the race take out, approximately 2 miles in length.

Other nearby notable rivers worth visiting include:

The Rapid River: This river is class IV, with a length of 5.4 miles.  The gradient is 64 f/m.

The Magalloway River is a river in northwestern Maine and northern New Hampshire. It flows into the Androscoggin River.

The Dead Diamond River: The Dead Diamond River is an 18.7-mile-long river in northern New Hampshire, and joins the Magalloway, Androscoggin, and Kennebec rivers. The Swift Diamond River is a wonderful tributary which joins the Dead Diamond shortly upstream of the Magalloway.

The event site is at Northern Waters Outfitters; the owner is the assistant race organizer.  There is a big field close to the adventure camp land where participants can camp. We will provide portapotties and a dumpster. The town of Errol is adjacent to the race site, just north of the White Mountains on Route 16 and contains interesting businesses, one being an extremely large outdoor supply store. There is a motel and bed and breakfasts and restaurants. The town is also very close to Umbagog Lake with many trails in the state park, and Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. There is also Mollidgewock State Park where camping is also available for a fee. Grafton Notch State Park also has many trails and interesting water features along a stream. All of this is just south of the border with Maine.

All sites are spectator-friendly (i.e, parking and trails within 50 yards of the river)

Additional amenities are nearby (less than 10 minutes to grocery, hardware, motel, restaurants etc.)


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.