Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills

General aims

  • The Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Award aims to enable participants to
    • To prepare the candidate for sprint and marathon racing competition and prepare for high performance racing on flat water or rivers where there are obstacles.
    • Controlling the speed of the boat whilst paddling over a race distance.
    • Foster further participation in sprint and marathon competitions.




  • Candidates must hold a minimum of Level 2 Skills Award.
  • Candidates must have competed in a minimum of 3 sprint or marathon races.




  • The assessment should be taken in a single racing boat which has sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat in a capsize
  • BOAT – Single K1/C1 Racing boat
  • PADDLES – for canoe: Flat paddle / for kayak: Wing paddle.




·         Sprint 50m from a standing start, increasing speed throughout

  • Demonstrate positive balance and trim over 100m
  • Demonstrate balance by various exercises
  • Paddle 1000m in a straight line, turn and paddle back
  • Demonstrate the ability to wash-hang
  • Turning, demonstrate the ability to turn 180 degrees using the rudder
  • Demonstrate ability to start a simple race of 4 boats



  • Capsize and swim to the bank with all equipment
  • Assist a swimmer to the bank
  • Assist in retrieving a swimmer’s boat



Demonstrate a basic level of the following physiological principles as they affect novice competitors[1]

  • Components of fitness
  • Principles of Training
  • Energy Systems
  • Warm-up / Cool Down
  • Injury prevention and recovery
  • Nutrition and the use of complementary performance enhancing supplements for paddlesport
  • Strength Training and Conditioning


  • All techniques, skills and rescues must be demonstrated to an assessor’s satisfaction in order to achieve this award.
  • No part of an assessment can be taken in a swimming pool. All assessment criteria must be demonstrated outdoors on water of Grade 1 difficulty.
  • Generally, required assessment rescues will be kept until the end of an assessment.

Assessment Guidelines

  • It is recommended that a Level 3 Flat-water Racing Skills Award is assessed by a coach other than the coach who normally trains the candidate leading to assessment
  • The Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Award can only be assessed by a currently registered Canoeing Ireland Level 2 Flatwater Coach.
  • The assessment will be carried out with a maximum of four candidates to one assessor.
  • Generally guidelines will be given, should a candidate fail an assessment, as to the areas that they need to improve on.

Notes for Level 3 Flatwater Racing Skills Awards


Safety Rules of Canoeing

  1. You must be able to swim.
  2. You must always wear a buoyancy aid.
  3. You must always ensure that there is adequate kayak buoyancy.
  4. You must never canoe alone.


Entry and Exit

Can be carried out with or without the use of paddles, depending on what is most appropriate to the situation.

If a spray deck is used it must be fitted

Balance Exercises

The following are examples of exercises to demonstrate balance and should be carried out without capsizing

  • Paddle with the feet in the water.
  • Throw the paddle in front of the kayak: kayak and paddle with the hands to the paddle, continue paddling and repeat at least three times.
  • Paddle with the paddle upside down.
  • Paddle with the hands – forward, backwards and sideways.
  • Paddle with straight arms.
  • Paddle with closed eyes.


  • The turn should demonstrate good use of the rudder.
  • The turn should be completed without breaking the normal forward stroke in a turn with a radius of about 20m.


Starter Duties

  • Identify the best place for the starter to be positioned and have a good mark to decide on false starts.
  • Line up 4 paddlers at the start of a race.
  • Take responsibility for decisions about false starts.
  • Able to give right orders to start the race as indicated by the assessor.


  • The candidate should maintain paddling rhythm
  • The candidate should maintain the appropriate distance from the other boat
  • Wash-hanging should take place on both sides of the boat

[1] Novice Competitor A paddler who is at a minimum Level 2 performance standard and is beginning to participate in competition.