Canada’s best whitewater paddlers will be gathering at the Minden Whitewater Preserve on the Gull River from Aug. 21 to 27 to compete for national titles in canoe and kayak slalom, freestyle, down river, and kayak cross.
Eric Betteridge, co-chair for the 2023 Whitewater Nationals organizing committee, said international athletes will also be present to compete for International Canoe Federation ranking points at the Minden Open Race, which will run at the same time.
More than 100 athletes will be competing in multiple disciplines over the course of the week, keeping competition fierce as the provinces battle for points towards the Brian Greer Cup, the provincial team title.
And with International Canoe Federation ranking points also up for grabs, athletes from other nations are expected to attend, further deepening the field and adding to the excitement.
Betteridge invited the public to watch the event for free. He said it includes the thrilling new whitewater discipline of kayak cross. “Pitting four athletes head-to-head, kayak cross is a must see as it is set to make its Olympic Games debut next year in Paris,” he said.
Betteridge added, “we are excited to welcome athletes from across the country and around the world to Minden. This world class venue has been the site of many national championships, as well as the 2015 Pan Am Games, and three World Cup events. This will be a great opportunity for our younger athletes to gain valuable experience competing against national and international athletes, as it is an international ranking race.”
He added he was “beyond excited” to see Nationals in Minden after a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olympian Florence Maheu of the National Whitewater Slalom Team said she can’t wait.“It is such a great venue with a challenging whitewater course. I have many memories from Minden, either from attending team selection or Nationals, and it is always a lot of fun competing there.”
Location: Minden Whitewater Preserve, 1020 Bethel Rd, Minden.
Schedule: Aug 23: a.m. kayak cross time trial; p.m. kayak cross elimination
Aug 24: a.m. freestyle; p.m. development race
Aug 25: a.m. down river classic; p.m. down river sprint
Aug 26: slalom age group races (heats 1 and 2)
Aug 27: slalom open races (semi-finals and finals).
For updates and more information follow Whitewater Ontario on Instagram and Facebook or visit the event’s 2023 Whitewater Nationals website.