Freestyle paddlers use white water waves and holes to perform surf and gymnastic-style manoeuvres and tricks. The sport uses short kayaks designed to surf and spin across the water surface, and release up into the air. In competitions, freestyle kayakers gain points for every different rotation they perform (vertical (cartwheels), horizontal (spins), barrel rolls (airscrews) and somersaults (loops)), with bonus points awarded if they can get their boat out of the water and up into the air. Competition runs last for 45 seconds in which competitors have to perform as many different moves as possible. Each different move scores points and the highest overall score wins.– Gb Freestyle Website
For some, Freestyle is just a personal thing or a thing to do informally, whilst messing about on the river with friends... but it can also be a lot more than that!
Nationally, competitions are open to all levels. Novices and GB Freestyle team members compete at the same events, and in various classes (K1, C1, OC1, Squirt) and categories (gender and age – junior, senior, master, and often novice, intermediate and elite).
Often different rules are used for the different experience levels e.g. fun or less rigid rules for novice categories and International freestyle rules (rules) for elite categories.
Venues vary, and competitions may be run alongside other events such as BoaterX and Extreme Slaloms.
See the PeakUK video, below, for some great historical footage showing the origins of Freestyle!