He posted the fastest time among the 16 paddlers (35.595 seconds) and edged Spain's Saul Craviotto Rivero by 0.002 seconds to win the heat.
"This is really my first international race this year and it was good," de Jonge said. "It's a pretty incredible feeling to race for gold but I am trying to contain that feeling. I am going to go back to the village and relax and not think about it."
Earlier in the preliminary round, de Jonge also won his heat in 35.396 seconds, which stood as an Olympic best in the new event before he was eclipsed by Great Britain's Ed McKeever with a time of 35.087.
McKeever took the top spot in the second semifinal.
McCoombs battles, fails to advance
In the men's C-1 200-metres, Canada's Jason McCoombs failed to make the final, but battled to a fourth-place finish in a tight semifinal heat.
The Dartmouth, N.S., native paddled hard and challenged Dzianis Harazha of Belarus and Naoya Sakamoto for second place behind heat winner Yuri Cheban of Ukarine.
McCoombs could not keep up and drifted across the finish line at 42.255 seconds, dropping to the B final.
Ivan Shtyl' of Russia was the fastest paddler in the semifinals with an Olympic best of 40.346.
Fournel elminated from women's final
Meanwhile, Emilie Fournel of Lachine, Que., was eliminated from the women's K-1 200-metre final.
Canada's lone representative in the women's kayak paddled to a seventh place finish in her semifinal heat at 43.030 seconds.
New Zealand's Lisa Carrington led the semifinals with an Olympic best 40.528 seconds.
All final races are schedule for Saturday.