Kayak and canoeing on wild waters is a water sport in which competitors ride in specially designed boats for this purpose. The difference between the boats is that the canoe uses a paddle with one blade and there is also a canoe two-seater. Unlike kayaking and canoeing on calm waters, contests of so-called “wild waters” are usually held on fast rivers where there are waves, whirlpools, waterfalls and various other obstacles. There are also artificial tracks specially adapted for the slalom discipline which is one of the most popular in this type of sport.
Slalom is an Olympic discipline where competitors pass a given track consisting of 20-30 gates. The gates are composed of two vertical pillars fixed to a wire that is stretched over the track. Gates must be passed in the prescribed order, so that individual gates should pass downstream, that is, opposite to the flow of the river, and others along the river, and sometimes the gates are positioned so that the boat has to go backwards. The track is often fast, with many obstacles and narrow passes that require great experience and physical fitness to achieve good results.
One such artificial track for kayaking and canoeing on wild waters is located near the city of Skopje in the Matka Canyon, which is a great challenge for many fans of this sport from around the world. Built in the second half of the last century and officially put into operation in 1993 when it is adapted to European and world standards, the sports recreation center “Matka” hosts many domestic and international competitions every year. One of the most important competitions was the European Wildwater Kayak Championship held in July this year. A total of 176 competitors from 18 countries staged their kayaks on “Matka” track, but also on the calm waters of Vardar River, enriching Skopje’s sporting appearance. No less important is the Ilinden kayak slalom “IKAS”, which is held every year on the same track.
Naturally, recreational kayaking in the calm lake in the canyon “Matka” must be noted, which is a great attraction for nature lovers, especially tourists. It is only necessary to rent a kayak and feel the beauties of the lake, visit Vrelo cave or enjoy the beautiful view of Kozjak reserve.