The sport's Olympic Games schedule kicked off with the Slalom at Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire, where the spoils were shared.
In the men's K1, current world champion Daniele Molmenti cemented his place in the sport, and celebrated his 28th birthday with gold.
After such a promising run-in to the Games, the Italian held his nerve - something he failed to do at Beijing 2008 - to post a quicker time in the final than the arguably more experienced Czech paddler, Vavrinec Hradilek.
In the women's K1, France's Emilie Fer saw off a challenge from Slovakian world number one Jana Dukatova, who was left outside the medals.
But in the men's C1, the medals followed the form book as the 34-year-old Frenchman Tony Estanguet won gold.
It was the third Olympic gold for France's flagbearer in the Opening Ceremony.
But that meant disappointment for Beijing 2008 champion Michal Martikan. The 33-year-old Slovakian was left rueing costly mistakes as he finished third.
There was something for the Host Nation to cheer in the men's C2 - in fact they enjoyed double success - with Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie leading home a GB one-two, as they claimed gold ahead of countrymen David Florence and Richard Hounslow to start a new era for Britain in the sport.