Freestyle kayaking is a fun, fast and dynamic discipline of the sport of kayaking. Freestyle paddlers use white water waves and holes to perform surf and gymnastic-style manoeuvres and tricks. The sport uses short kayaks designed to surf and spin across the water surface, and release up into the air. In competitions, freestyle kayakers gain points for every different tricks they perform, with bonus points awarded if they can get their boat out of the water and up into the air. Competition runs last for 45 seconds in which competitors have to perform as many different moves as possible. Each different move scores points and the highest overall score wins.
Freestyle canoeing is the same as freestyle kayaking except the canoeist kneels in the boat and uses a single bladed paddle whereas kayakers sit in the boat and use a double bladed paddle. The C1 (canoeing) discipline uses the same boats as K1 (kayaking), however OC1 (open canoeing) have slightly larger boats and do not have a spray-deck to enclose the cockpit.
Squirt boat (kayak) is the slower, smoother and more graceful element of the sport where kayakers paddle super low volume kayaks and perform fluid and graceful moves above and below the water surface. In competitions squirt boat kayakers gain points for smooth control during their 60 sec choreographed routines. Points are awarded for each different rotation, and additional bonus points awarded for how deep and long they can keep their boat under the water in a mystery move.
Learn/Improve your Freestyle Skills
The SCA Freestyle Committee hold regular monthly freestyle sessions at Pinkston, for members and non-members to practice and improve their skills. Get support and tips from your peers or more structured coaching, depending on what you want. The sessions are flexible, friendly and you can go every month or just when it suits you! Price to attend is £5 for members, and £10 for non-members. For more information and to find the date of the next session visit the calendar or Facebook group.