Foto: Wolfgang Hölbling (paddling without PFD is only accepted during performance or competition)

American Freestyle canoeing is the 'art and science' of quietwater paddling. It is practiced in solo and tandem canoes. The paddling technique used is similar to that found in regular canoe tripping on flat or moving water, only in Freestyle it is reduced to the pure form - and extended to the extreme.

Freestyle was developend in the end 70s / early 80s. Around the same time the first solo canoes were built - a fact that had a great influence on the history of this paddling discipline.

Boat control is central to Freestyle. The moves are performed using precision paddling technique and weight shifts in the boat. They can even be performed to music and radiate perfection, lightness and elegance. Freestyle is padding fun on the highest technical level. It is about the reduction to the essence: Water, paddle and boat - in full harmony.

In the US championships are held on an annual basis. To win, you need excellent paddling skills and also a good amount of 'showmanship'.

Freestyle moves are defined by the stroke, its position in relation to the boat, the direction of movement, the heel of the boat and the position of the paddler in the boat.

There are six basic Freestyle moves called Axle, Christie, Post, Wedge, Sideslip and Gimbal. Every move can be executed on each of the four quadrants of the canoe, i.e. forward, reverse, cross forward and cross reverse. On top of that there are numerous variants of each of those moves, in several difficulty levels.