Participants from across North American will congregate at the Minden Wildwater Preserve August 1 - 3, to compete in the 2008 ACA Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships. World class whitewater will test athlete's skill while spectators enjoy up close viewing of timed slalom runs down one of Ontario's most scenic wild rivers.
This championship race is held annually at different sites throughout North America. 2008 marks the third time the ACA has selected a site in Canada. Paddlers regularly come from as far away as Japan. "The Gull River is a popular site, therefore we are expecting upwards of 150 participants this year" states organizer Andrew Westwood.
Open Canoe Slalom consists of paddlers negotiating a down river route
, often dodging menacing rocks, ledges and chutes in a quest to attain the winning time from start to finish. Competitors must pass through hanging gate poles not unlike downhill ski slalom races. Victory is awarded to the fastest and most precise paddlers as penalties are assigned to those who touch any of the gates.
Competition is organized into a variety of classes based on boat type, gender and age. Expect to see solo and tandem canoes, arranged in Open, Masters and Citizen classes. Perhaps the most exciting is the significant local interest in the Junior class. Ontario boasts some of the strongest young paddlers on the continent!
Canoeists are expected to arrive up to a week in advance to paddle the Gull River and hone their skills prior to the championship race. On site camping and the close proximity of the town of Minden, with all its amenities, Food, lodging and supplies are readily available for competitors and spectators alike.