C2 – Canadian Doubles

C2 is the focus of today’s post. C2 is spectacular to watch as these big boats with two paddlers squeeze their way through narrow slalom gates on big whitewater. So far this week we have examined K1M, K1W and C1 respectively.  Today is C2 (pronounced see-two), meaning for the Olympics two male athletes kneeling in a two man closed cockpit canoe each with a single bladed paddle. Again let’s look at the equipment, pros and cons and some top paddlers past and present to look out for.

A peek inside Baillie & Stott’s C2 (photo courtesy of Michael Barnett)

The C2 combines great paddle reach, pivot turns combined with impressive forward power. Like the C1, the C2 paddlers kneels on pre-formed padded foam blocks inside the cockpit, sitting back on their heels supported by the foam block with straps across the knees to secure themselves. The International Canoe Federation again has specifications for the C2, which must be 410cm long, 75cm wide and weigh not less than 15kg. It is important for the C2 crew to spend considerable time in their boat on whitewater so they have good communication and coordination between them. This is essential to successfully roll a C2!

One C2 paddler will paddle on the left and one on the right and the two cockpits are not always directly in line but can be slightly offset towards the left or right of the boat. Two Great Britain C2 crews have gained selection for the London Olympics; David Florence & Richard Hounslow and Tim Baillie & Etienne Stott. David kneels in the front paddling on the right as he does in his C1 with Richard kneeling in the back paddling on the left. Tim similarly paddles in the front on the right with Etienne paddling in the back on the left. The front man in the C2 can also paddle on the cross bow meaning at that moment both paddlers have their paddler in the water on the same side. Watch out to see if a C2 crew ever switch their hands simultaneously. This is relatively rare but a few paddlers have experimented with it.

Triple Olympian & World Champion Peter & Pavol Hochschorner from Slovakia at the Cardiff World Cup race (photo courtesy of Michael Barnett)

International C2 at World’s and Olympics has been dominated by a select group of nations; France, Switzerland, Germany, USA, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia (& former Czechoslovakia). Pavol and Peter Hochschorner from Bratislava in Slovakia have already become legendary within C2. They are the only athletes to have won four consecutive World Championship titles. They have won the World Cup series 10 times since 1999 and the European Championships 6 times.  If they were to win gold at London2012 they would make history again as the only athletes to win four successive gold medals at the Olympic Games. I encourage you to read the article in the 2012 Planet Canoe on the ICF website.

The GB World Championship individual C2 medallists are:

David Florence & Richard Hounslow (Bronze 2010 Tacen)

GB Team C2 medallists are:

Eric Jamieson, Robin Williams, Michael Smith, Andrew Smith, Robert Joce & Robert Owen (Bronze 1983 Meran), Tim Baillie, Etienne Stott, David Florence, Richard Hounslow, Dan Goddard & Colin Radmore (Bronze 2009 La Seu d’Urgell) and David Florence, Richard Hounslow, Tim Baillie, Etienne Stott, Rhys Davies & Matthew Lister (Bronze 2011 Bratislava)

There has never yet been a GB Olympic C2 medal, although Smith & Bowman came fourth in Sydney in 2000, missing out on a medal by less than half a second.

I have departed from the review of the previous classes to include reference to the European Canoe Slalom Championships. Why? Because this year, Great Britain has achieved something for the very first time in the history of the sport, a gold medal in C2, with a Team C2 Gold in Augsburg at the European Championships.

David Florence & Richard Hounslow – Cardiff World Cup C2 gold medallists focussed on the gate at GB Selection (photo courtesy of Michael Barnett)

Well done to David, Richard, Tim, Etienne and Adam Burgess and Greg Pitt for achieving this GB first. It followed a C2 Team silver in Nottingham in 2009 and a C2 Team bronze in Bratislava the following year, with Tim, Etienne, David, Richard, Dan Goddard and Colin Radmore. GB C2 is reaching new heights. Added to this David & Richard then won the first ever individual C2 Gold at a World Cup race with their win last month in Cardiff. Impeccable timing guys!

We currently have two C2 boats ranked in the ICF World Ranking top 10. Amazing! I hope you have tickets for August 2nd at Lee Valley.

Tim Baillie & Etienne Stott ICF World Ranked No. 6 C2 crew at Cardiff World Cup (photo courtesy of Michael Barnett)

Tomorrow’s post will describe the terms used in canoe slalom and techniques used.

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