The men's C-1 500 metres event was an open-style, individual canoeing event conducted as part of the Canoeing at the 1988 Summer Olympics program.
18 competitors were entered, but three withdrew prior to the heats. Held on September 26, the top three finishers in each heat moved on to the semifinals with the others were relegated to the repechages. Heat 2 was scheduled, but not held with all three competitors advancing to the semifinals.
Two repechages were held on September 26 with the top three finishers in each repechage advancing to the semifinals. The second repechage was scheduled, but not held with both competitors advancing to the semifinals.
Three semifinals were held on September 28 with the top three finishers of each semifinal advancing to the final.
The final took place on September 30.
Heukrodt was last at the halfway mark.