Tauranga paddler Mike Dawson has comfortably progressed to the canoe slalom semi-finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The 29-year-old had a best heat time of 88.91 seconds to qualify eighth for the 15-paddler semi-finals.

Only six paddlers in the field missed the cut for the second stage at the Whitewater Stadium to be held on Wednesday.

Dawson's time was the fourth fastest in heat one and his discarded time of 90.86 was 10th best. Both runs were penalty-free.

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Italian Giovanni De Gennaro was the fastest down the course in 86.85 but Australian medal hope Lucien Delfour crashed out.

The paddler, ranked fourth by the International Canoe Federation, was 13th fastest after the first run but then botched his second run to finish last and 17th overall.