The benefit of whitewater for slalom boaters? The benefit of slalom training for whitewater boaters? As a follow up to the article Spending time paddling slalom gates can make you a better boater, we asked the pros what they think about it about the benefits of crossing disciplines.

 

What the professionals have to say:
“Slalom and Running Whitewater are so similar as far as the kayaking part goes. The best slalom paddlers aren’t looking at making the gates but getting on the right pieces of current, much like running a rapid. Paddling both helps to remind you to pay more attention to the water around you, making you a better paddler all around!”
-Emily Jackson- Freestyle World Champion

“I think that slalom complements whitewater river running by giving a more focused vision and mental image of successfully negotiating a rapid. High quality river running helps slalom athletes build confidence and efficiency on the river allowing slalom racing to be a dance rather than a battle.”
Wayne Dickert, canoe/kayak Olympic slalom athlete, instructor

“Love it!!! I would do the same slalom creates forward visuals and forward awareness.”
-Tanya Faux, World Freestyle Kayak Athlete

“You are relying on your balance and edge control without relying on your paddle… When your weight transfer and hip control work well, your paddle is only an added means of acceleration… ”
-Adam Clawson, canoe/kayak Olympic slalom athlete

“As an instructor I very much appreciate the value of repetition especially in regards to the precision required for running gates. Gate training promotes stroke technique, edge control, and timing as instinctual abilities and allows the river runner to focus on boat placement and utilizing the energy of the water. The strong foundation of the basics gained from repetitive gate workouts free the river runner from distractions surrounding decisions of stroke placement and boat leans, ultimately releasing the mind to enjoy and utilize the energy of the river.”
-Horace Holden, canoe/kayak Olympic slalom athlete, instructor

“Whitewater and Slalom are natural compliments to each other. On the whitewater side, slalom skills are effective in improving speed, balance and agility. On the slalom side, I think there is a lot of room for athletes to focus less on the gates and more on the water between them.”
-Joe Jacobi,canoe/kayak Olympic slalom athlete, instructor, Director, USCKT