With statistics showing that female participation rates are now at the highest they have been since 2002 – a 56 per cent increase – the next step for the sport is to encourage more families on to the water, especially since participation in canoeing is currently highest among students, workers and parents.
The ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, which are taking place on the Olympic course at Lee Valley White Water Centre, will have much more of a family feel this year – with a dedicated expo area featuring the best of the Great British Summertime – including food and drinks stands, a bouncy castle, climbing wall and even a Pimms tent for thirsty parents.
Howard Blackman, head of participation at British Canoeing, said: “Canoeing has experienced a surge in popularity since London 2012, but we want to make sure that people know that canoeing is an inclusive sport which is the perfect hobby for families.
“Disciplines like slalom are also great to watch – and with an Olympic level course on our doorstep, it’s the perfect chance to sample something different this summer.
“We’ve got plenty to keep families of all shapes and sizes entertained – whether you’re looking to try your hand at canoeing or simply want to see the world’s best canoeists battling it out down a thrilling white water course.
“Why not pack a picnic and enjoy the best of the Great British Summertime whilst also sampling some of the most exciting sport the UK has to offer?”
Sports fans will also be treated to displays from a host of British talent, including 2012 Olympic Champion Etienne Stott with new partner Mark Proctor and Olympic Silver Medallists David Florence and Richard Hounslow.
There will also be a number of future stars taking to the water, including U23 World Champion Adam Burgess and two-time World Silver medallist Mallory Franklin.
Canoe slalom is often described as canoeing’s most challenging discipline, as competitors tackle white water rapids which test the athletes speed, agility and precision. Paddlers must navigate a sequence of gates in number order, set up over rapids, waves, eddies and currents along a 300m stretch of water.
Tickets start from as little as £10/£5 for Adults/Under-16s, with discounts available for families and members of British Canoeing. Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk/London2015
For more information about the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships 2015, please visit: www.canoelondon2015.com