This first clip, from the old British Pathé newsreel, shows a canoe and kayak racing in Ausburg, Germany from 1957. British Pathe stopped producing in 1970 but until that time covered a wide range of clips in brief segments, giving the latest of news updates to everyone who might not enough reading the newspaper. Sometimes these clips would play before movies at the cinema, and later they made it to TV.
The first event shown is apparently the Double-scull Canadian Canoe race.What exactly is the difference between canoe slalom and kayaking? I wondered the same thing, especially because the Olympic category for the sport includes both canoe and kayak sections.
In brief, the fact that an athlete battles the force of pure nature is what makes the sport so enthralling. The image of him, or her, struggling against powerful roaring waters, eddies, swirls, stoppers, etc. is a distinctive one and because of this, Canoe Slalom translates to the screen bringing spectators close to the river.
The difference is small: in the canoe the paddler uses a single bladed paddle and kneels. In a kayak the paddler sits and uses and double ended paddle. Still this leads to two very different competitions, even if some may not be able to recognize the difference.
Check out the second clip (it's in German, so be aware of that) to see a more thorough look at this 1957 competition! It's pretty cool to see just what this sport was like just a decade or so after the war ended, and before it developed into the Olympic sport it is today.