JS Indicative Water Gradings for Slalom Courses

These gradings are more about comparisons than about absolutes: thus ‘if you can paddle on xxx you can also paddle on xxx’.

Some of these courses would need to be printed as a grade-range, leaving coaches/paddlers/parents to find out what water-levels are like at the time of the race.

Even courses that are usually easy can become dangerous in exceptional high water conditions. If in doubt, seek advice or stay off the water.

Grade Definitions

A: Pool or otherwise completely flat water, without enough current to affect the boat.

B: Slightly moving water, giving some eddy-lines, but not enough to worry paddlers; and with at the most one small drop which paddlers simply have to run down.

C: Faster current, sharper eddy-lines, some drops that can be intimidating, possible to set crosses on small waves, often rocky.

D: ‘Real’ slalom water. Beginners will need some practise to handle this, and some bravery simply to paddle down it.

E: The most difficult courses in the UK.


A Aberfeldy when low
Darlington Dolphin Centre
Howsham Weir below the chute
Frome Market Yard
North Walls
Tees (start pool)
B Aberfeldy when high
Bala Mill below the Falls
Langham Farm (low)
Llandysul when low
Matlock when low
Middleton-in-Teesdale when low
Mile End Mill when low
Nene below the drop
Orton Mere
Shepperton at low levels
Seaton Park
Wagon Lane
Yalding Weir
C Abbey Rapids when low
Howsham 2/3
Langham Farm (high)
Lee Valley Legacy Course
Llandysul when high
Matlock when high
Middleton-in-Teesdale when high
Mile End Mill when high
Nene WW course
Sowerby Bridge
West Tanfield
D Abbey Rapids when high
Bala Mill: the Falls
Grandtully when medium/low
The Graveyard, the Tryweryn
Holme Pierrepont avoiding the features
Serpent’s Tail when quite low
Shepperton at medium/high levels
Tees Barrage
The Ski-Slope, Tryweryn on 9 cumecs
E: Cardiff Bay
Grandtully when high
Holme Pierrepont using the features
Lee Valley Olympic Course
Serpent’s Tail when high
The Ski-Slope, Tryweryn on 12 cumecs