© 2024 Hoop Health Ltd. All rights reserved.
Background image
Background jagged scribble
Background swirly scribble

Flatwater Canoeing v Slalom Canoeing for Kids

12 March 2024

Many children love water; they love being in it, and they love being on it. If this is your child, then they may love canoeing. Canoeing and kayaking are very similar, save for the boat's shape, and there are options for both.

Canoeing is an exciting option for children: it will allow them to keep fit, learn new skills and meet new people, but also, if your child can canoe, you can head out for family adventures together.

If your child loves it on the water, there are options to explore, and once they’re proficient, they can choose whether they want to remain on flatwater or think about slalom canoeing. Although they are similar in many ways, there are some stark differences. Read on to learn more to help you and your children understand the difference.

Flatwater Canoeing

Flatwater canoeing is, as the name suggests, on a body of water that is flat and without wind, waves or currents. Heading out onto the flat water is an excellent option for kids just starting on the water. They could go out with an adult or independently, which means they can understand the feelings and motion of being on the water in the vessel. If your kids have all the necessary safety equipment, they could go out with you. Alternatively, you could find a local club to enrol your child in. This way, they will receive correct instruction from the beginning and won’t pick up any habits that make the sport harder in the long run.

Flatwater canoeing is a lovely hobby, especially if your child likes being out on the water, where they can take things at a leisurely pace. However, there is a pathway for progression that will encourage your child to improve and train hard, leading to sprint competitions and a great set of skills. If your child stays with it, they could begin competing in short races of 500m up to 20km when they reach adulthood. They may even make it to the Olympics!

Slalom Canoeing

Slalom canoeing is a much different sport; despite being in a canoe for both, slalom canoeing has a much more significant element of risk and involves heading down whitewater rapids whilst passing through gates placed at various points of the course. It is fast-paced and exhilarating and not for the faint-hearted.

Unlike flatwater canoeing, slalom canoeing is not a branch of canoeing that is safe for you to try alone with your kids. You need to be a part of a club, and your kids need to learn how to approach the situation correctly; otherwise, it can be dangerous. Most canoe clubs will take children for flatwater lessons from the ages of 5-6; however, children need to be around 9 to begin slalom canoeing and must have spent time on the flat to develop the skills and strength first.

Slalom canoeing also has a defined talent pathway for your child to progress, and if your child demonstrates exceptional talent and dedication, they may have the opportunity for exciting training.

Photo by Brett Sayles

Find fun, healthy activities for kids on the Hoop app