Sprint, or Flatwater, racing is one of the oldest Olympic sports. This is where you will find the “Fastest Male and Female Paddler on the Planet”! It is a classic test and combination of speed, explosive power, endurance and balance. The Sprint discipline utilizes two classes of boats: canoe and kayak. Each is considered its own sub-discipline.
See Sprint Canoe for Sprint History and Rules.
Kayaking requires the paddler to sit on a seat in a boat that has an almost entirely closed deck, however, there is enough of an opening for the paddler to sit in the kayak, on a seat with knees visible. The aim of a sprint competition is for paddlers to race each other in their respective lanes, over a clearly defined straight and unobstructed buoyed course, in the shortest possible time.
The Olympic Sprint Program includes singles (K1), doubles (K2) and four-person (K4) kayak events for men and women. "K" stands for Kayak.
Kayaks are a maximum of 17 feet long, approximately 11 inches wide with a minimum weight of 12kg (or 25 pounds) for single kayaks. In The closed-in area over the bow and/or stem of a canoe or kayak, intended to shed water and strengthen the gunwales. The kayak has a rudder for steering (using the feet), as opposed to the canoe – which has no rudder. In two and four person kayaks (K2 and K4), the paddler in the first seat controls the steering.
The paddler uses a double blade paddle (a blade on both ends of the straight shaft) and propels the boat forward paddling on both sides.