30 Enero 2024

The International Canoe Federation Canoe Freestyle Committee is seeking to establish “freestyle hubs” in countries across the world in an effort to harness the growth of the dynamic whitewater discipline. 

Canoe Freestyle, which has been an ICF-recognised discipline since 2006, is continuing to increase in popularity.

Terry Best, Chair of the ICF Canoe Freestyle Committee, believes the next stage in the discipline’s development is to create “freestyle hubs” in the different continents to ensure that they can capture the surge in interest following the hosting of World Cups and World Championships.  

The purpose of the hubs will be to provide a meeting point where freestylers can come together to train and compete.  

“What we have got at the moment is pockets of diverse communities that gather once every two years at the World Championships,” said Mr Best.  

“Whenever there is whitewater rafting downriver, there is likely to be a freestyle feature that people can practise their tricks on. 

“What then happens is you get someone who is interested in the discipline that will organise events or training.  

Uganda Osinde freestyle 2023 Columbus

“That relies on individual personalities but when they decide to move away normally that entire Canoe Freestyle community falls away with them.  

“We would like to create a more structured permanent hub so that when that one person goes there are still other people that can take over and keep that community together.” 

Mr Best said Argentina and The Netherlands were among the countries that had enjoyed a surge in growth only to disappear after being unable to maintain that interest. 

“The Netherlands had some of the best freestylers in the world 20 years ago,” said Mr Best.  

“But we didn’t have one paddler from The Netherlands at last year’s World Championships.  

“That’s because the structure that was previously there had disintegrated over the years and you see nothing coming up to replace the people that had left the top of the sport.  

“That’s what we want to prevent happening.  

“We want to create permanent freestyle hubs that continually bring more people with energy and initiative into the structure."

Columbus, USA hosted the 2023 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships from October 9 to 14 last year. 

This year will see two ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cups take place in Plattling, Germany with the first set for May 26 to 28 followed by the second from May 30 to June 1. 

Related links

Canoe Freestyle