Using a kayak paddle power-meter in the sport of whitewater slalom




Power meter, Kayaking, Slalom, Technology


The purpose of this paper was to demonstrate the use of a kayak-paddle power-meter to enhance scientific understanding, quantification of athlete assessment and training prescription in slalom kayaking. Data was collected from a continental-championship race, in addition to the author’s work, which included testing and prescribing training for elite athletes preparing for national and international competition. Results indicate that work rate varies considerably over a competition run (CV=74.4-80.5 %). Intra-athlete performance between two competition runs of one of the leading competitors differed by 1.1% or 0.94 s, while power output decreased by 9.0 % for the fastest run due to an increase in number of steering strokes (11 vs 3). Turning strokes had greater impulse (208 vs 94 N∙s), peak force (362 vs 321 N), and a lower rate of peak force development (810 vs 1925 N∙s-1). Methods to identify biomechanical/technical issues via analysis of force profiles per stroke exhibit bilateral comparisons of strength, while quantification of physical and physiological capability is determined through power output. Training zones are categorised into seven zones (Easy, Threshold, Critical Power, Speed Endurance, Speed and Strength) enabling coaches and athletes to implement specific training programmes targeting key facets of performance. The importance of testing venue is established where river technicality grade (I, II and IV) showed power output at the onset of blood lactate to be 120, 90, and 84 W, respectively. This paper thus supports the efficacy of using a paddle power-meter to enhance scientific understanding of slalom kayak racing through real-world competition analysis capability along with enabling the quantification of training prescription and monitoring based around work rate capability during sport specific testing, in conjunction with technical, physical and physiological qualities.


Download data is not yet available.


Aitken, D. A., & Neal, R. J. (1992). An on-water analysis system for quantifying stroke force characteristics during kayak events. International Journal of Sport Biomechanics, 8(2), 165-173.

Baker, J. (1998). Evaluation of biomechanic performance related factors with on-water tests. Paper presented at the International seminar on kayak-canoe coaching and science.

Baker, S. (1982). Proceedings: Society of Sports Services Conference, 3rd April 1982, at the University of Loughborough: Post-competition lactate levels in canoe slalomists. British journal of sports medicine, 16(2), 112.

Bar-Or, O. (1987). The Wingate anaerobic test an update on methodology, reliability and validity. Sports Medicine, 4(6), 381-394.

Dohoney, P., Chromiak, J. A., Lemire, D., Abadie, B. R., & Kovacs, C. (2002). Prediction of one repetition maximum (1-RM) strength from a 4-6 RM and a 7-10 RM submaximal strength test in healthy young adult males. J Exerc Physiol, 5(3), 54-59.

Draper, P., & Whyte, G. (1997). Anaerobic performance testing.

Faude, O., Kindermann, W., & Meyer, T. (2009). Lactate threshold concepts. Sports medicine, 39(6), 469-490.

Ferrari, H. G., Messias, L. H., Reis, I. G., Gobatto, C. A., Sousa, F. A., Serra, C. C., & Manchado-Gobatto, F. B. (2017). Aerobic Evaluation in Elite Slalom Kayakers Using a Tethered Canoe System: A New Proposal. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 12(7), 864-871.

Green, C. (2012). Performance analysis of canoe slalom: Performance indicators at cardiff international white water (ciww). University of Wales Institute Cardiff.

Hunter, A. (2009). Canoe slalom boat trajectory while negotiating an upstream gate. Sports Biomechanics, 8(2), 105-113.

Jones, A. M., Vanhatalo, A., Burnley, M., Morton, R. H., & Poole, D. C. (2010). Critical power: implications for determination of VO2max and exercise tolerance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(10), 1876-1890.

Macdermid P.W., & Macdermid N.J.P., M. (2018a). Bilateral Stroke Strength Test. Retrieved from:

Macdermid P.W., & Macdermid N.J.P., M. (2018b). Slalom Anaerobic Test. Retrieved from:

Macdermid, P. W., & Fink, P. W. (2017). The Validation of a Paddle Power Meter for Slalom Kayaking. Sports Medicine International Open, 1(02), E50-E57.

Messias, L., Ferrari, H., Sousa, F., dos Reis, I., Serra, C., Gobatto, C., & Manchado-Gobatto, F. (2015). All-out Test in Tethered Canoe System can Determine Anaerobic Parameters of Elite Kayakers. International journal of sports medicine, 94(10), 803-808.

Messias, L. H. D., dos Reis, I. G. M., Ferrari, H. G., & de Barros Manchado-Gobatto, F. (2014). Physiological, psychological and biomechanical parameters applied in canoe slalom training: a review. Int J Perform Anal Sport, 14(1), 24-41.

Sigmund, M., Rozsypal, R., Kudlacek, M., Kratochvil, J., & Sigmundová, D. (2016). Influence of one-year sport activities on the changes in morphological parameters and somatotypes in the current junior members of the Czech national whitewater slalom team. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 16(1), 118.

Sperlich, J., & Baker, J. (2002). Biomechanical testing in elite canoeing. Paper presented at the ISBS-Conference Proceedings Archive.

Sperlich, J., & Klauck, J. (1992). Biomechanics of canoe slalom: measuring techniques and diagnostic possibilities. Paper presented at the ISBS-Conference Proceedings Archive.

Vanhatalo, A., Jones, A. M., & Burnley, M. (2011). Application of Critical Power in Sport. International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance, 6(1), 128-136.

Zamparo, P., Tomadini, S., Didone, F., Grazzina, F., Rejc, E., & Capelli, C. (2006). Bioenergetics of a slalom kayak (K1) competition. International journal of sports medicine, 27(07), 546-552.


Statistics RUA



How to Cite

Macdermid, P. W., Gilbert, C., & Jayes, J. (2020). Using a kayak paddle power-meter in the sport of whitewater slalom. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(1), 105–118.



Performance Analysis of Sport