The kayak has been an Olympic sport since 1936. The events represented are the line race and the slalom. The non-Olympic disciplines are downhill and more recently: free-style and wave-skiing.
- line race: on a calm water surface, competitors in corridors must travel a given distance in order to cross first the finish line (close to rowing). The distances are 500 meters for women and 500 to 1000 meters for men. In addition, kayaks can be single-seater, two-seat or quadruple (this is referred to as K1, K2 or K4).
- Slalom: on turbulent waters, competitors must travel a distance of about 300 meters and negotiate 18 to 25 doors in a minimum of time. There are two types of doors: the green doors that cross in the direction of the current and the Red doors that cross against the current.
- Descent: on moderately turbulent whitewater, the competitor must go as fast as possible from one point to another of the river. -It is a race against the clock-it is a question of choosing its trajectory according to the currents and natural obstacles that form the rocks. There are 2 types of races: the “classic” descent lasting from 12 to 25 minutes, and the descent “Sprint” lasting from 1 to 2 minutes.
- Kayak-polo: on a calm water level, the Kayak polo is a collective sport that sees opposing 2 teams of 5 players on periods of 2 times 10 minutes. It is a spectacular sport where you have to combine boat comfort with a ball and team spirit.
- Freestyle: on whitewater, Freestyle is practiced on “spots” (waves or rollers formed by the current), we talk about “park’n’play”, and the practitioner uses the water movements and the relief to perform figures. The practitioners of this discipline often meet in the form of a “team” where they organize together numerous festivals gathering concerts, water shows as well as aerial.
The “freestylers” or “rodéomans” do not hesitate to travel several hundred kilometers in search of the perfect “spot” (the best known is Hawaii-sur-Rhône, then one can cite Charnay, Le Rabiou etc.)
- Wave-ski: on a beach with waves, the wave is to chain the most figures, like the freestyle. This discipline is a compromise between surfing and kayaking.
- Merathon: on a course at sea, the Merathon is a long distance race by sea kayak, surf-ski or canoe.
Note: the Couëron Club does not practice competition.